What does a student worker at MiraCosta College look like?

As an international student at MiraCosta College, you can work up to 19.5 hours/week. First of all, you have to be a full time student taking at least 12 units in the semester. Thus, even if you work at multiple departments, the total hours you can work in a week have to add up to no more than 19.5 hours. Besides submission of application in the departments and the hire package in Career Center, approval from International Office is required. I want to introduce my job as a Blogger/Student Outreach so that everyone who reads this blog would have an idea what it looks like to be a student worker at MiraCosta College.

Amandine From France (left) and Nhi from Vietnam work as Student Outreach
  • Duties: Publish at least two blogs in a month
  • Hours/week: At least one hour in international office to blog, sometimes more for additional event, which is pretty flexible
  • Additional activities:
    • Conduct interviews prior to the Coffee Chat Series
    • Help on some international events related to MiraCosta College and its English Language Institute
  • Experiences gained:
    • Being more active on campus
    • Increase writing skills
    • Being more creative
    • Have chance to work with MiraCosta leaders, such as faculty and staff
    • Know more people and gain relationships
    • Gain information

Following are the interviews conducted for the Coffee Chat Series:


For more information of working on campus, check out Mari’s blog


Get an international experience!

You’ve always dreamed about doing an internship in the U.S.A and have an international experience? Well, your dream might become true!

The Institute of International Education for Global Experience and Training (GET) is giving a new opportunity to student all around the world to participate to an internship is the U.S.A!

For who?

If you are an undergraduate or a graduate student, recent college graduate or a young professionals and you want to get international experience and contribute to research in fields such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, improve your English and spend some time in the U.S.A..

What I am going to do?

Depending on the field you are interested in, the opportunities are going to be different but unique. It is going to be an unforgettable learning experience.  The opportunities include hands-on research, laboratory time, mentorship, industry-focused lectures, and site visits to companies and organizations relevant or influential to a specific field and a lot more!
Opportunities are full time, requiring 30-40 hours of work per week, and can range from six weeks to six months in durationBesides the research and the opportunities related to your field of study/interest, you and the other participants will go to museum exhibit, field trip to the U.S landmarks, recreational activities, theater, musical productions, national holiday events… 

How cool! You get to meet new people and to be immersed in the American culture!

You want to learn more about this opportunity? READ MORE about it HERE

What I Learned From My Internship


 What I Learned From My Internship

Over the summer of 2015 I took an internship class at MiraCosta.

The class allowed me to work for a start-up golf company and learn everything about making sales over the phone.

I worked 25 hours a week, but as international student you are allowed to work up to 40 hours a week when school is not in session (over the summer break). During the semester, international students at MiraCosta are allowed to work up to 19.5 hours a week. This allows you to explore a company hands on for up to 19.5 hours a week when school is in session.

5 Benefits I Gained From My Internship

1. Hands on Work Experience:

I explored a career in sales and applied skills I’ve learned in the classroom. For example, my inside sales internship put my written and oral communication skills to work.

2. Tweaked My Resume:

In today’s competitive job market it is important to set yourself apart from others. Employers are seeking candidates with relevant work experience, such as applicants who have completed an internship. My internship experience shows that I’ve made an effort in exploring careers related to my major and gained skills in marketing a product.

3. Gain a Permanent Position:

Many employers see interns as possible full-time employees after they finish their internship. After I completed my internship, I got an offer for a permanent position with the company that I can apply for when I am approved for Optional Practical Training.

4. Decide on a Career:

The insights you gain through an internship help you pick a career. Don’t like the company you’re interning for? Or maybe the career is not the right fit? Well, it’s much easier for you to make changes to your career plan if you make these experiences early on your career path through internships. I personally discovered that I would prefer not to work in inside sales.

5. Network:

Meet people that work in your field and gain insights on how they landed a job. Although my internship is over, I’m still in touch with the people I worked with. That’s because I see them as resources – they might provide me with the right contacts later on and help me get a job.


summer animated GIF

OPT Process

Hi everyone,

This is my last post before I walk to the graduation ceremony, and it’s breaking my heart to say goodbye to MiraCosta. Before I go I want to talk a little bit about Optional Practical Training (OPT). Since I am graduating today, I’m allowed to work in the country on my field of study (psychology) for a year before I transfer to a four-year university. I already sent my documents to USCIS and now I’m waiting for my OPT card in the mail so I can start looking for work. During this process, I reached out to a MiraCosta alumni, Javier, who went through the OPT process and now is a student at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM). I asked him a couple questions about how did the pick CSUSM and his OPT process. Here’s what he had to share with us:

Why did you choose CSUSM?

I chose CSUSM because it is the closest university from where I currently live, Oceanside. Since I’m staying with some family members, the proximity of the campus helps me reduce some of the room/board and transportation costs.

During the application process for CSUSM, what did you find to be the most challenging?

The application process was fairly easy. I just followed the instructions that the admissions recruiter at San Marcos sent me and once I get the application started on CSUMentor, the steps were straightforward. What took the longest time, in my case, was requesting the transcripts from an university I had previously attended in my country, Nicaragua.

Can you describe how did you feel once you received your acceptance letter for CSUSM?

I felt relieved and eager that I had been accepted there to continue studying in the U.S. In my case, I was first notified of my acceptance through email and the following week, I received the letter with some orientation information.

How did you like MiraCosta and how difficult/easy it was for you to leave MiraCosta?

I enjoyed my time at MiraCosta. Not only did I grow academically, but personally as well. I made great connections, many friends, I was part of some of the clubs (Honors Program, Soccer Club) and every of these activities was a learning experience for me. At first, I thought that transitioning to a 4-year university was going to be more overwhelming, but since San Marcos is a small campus, the adaptation was not really difficult. I felt sad to leave MiraCosta since I studied there for three years, but at the same time, I felt eager and determined to keep advancing my education at a 4-year university.

During the OPT process, what did you find to be the most challenging part? Was it easy to find a job?

OPT was not really challenging. With the guidance of the International office at MiraCosta, I was able to follow the instructions exactly so I did not leave out any important steps. Since I had previously enrolled at a Co-Op internship class prior to graduating, finding a job was easy since that same company offered me a position as soon as my OPT started.

Tell me about the job you did on OPT?  What did you learn from the experience?

In the 2 companies I worked at during my OPT, I was a junior web developer responsible for maintaining the companies’ website and mobile applications. The Computer Science classes I took at MiraCosta were an excellent foundation for me to keep learning other technologies. During my OPT, not only did I improve the programming skills I had developed at MiraCosta, but I also learned many others. However, what I took away from such experiences were not just related to my major; I learned and developed some workplace competencies such as professionalism, work ethics, team-work, time-management skills, etc..

How do classes at CSUSM compare to MiraCosta classes?

Most of the classrooms at CSU San Marcos are small, comfortable, and with a capacity of no more than 45 students. Similar to MiraCosta, when classes are not big, students have a greater chance of communicating with their instructors and receive individual feedback from them. Also, most of them are smart classrooms (with technological equipments: computers, projectors, audio system, etc..) just like some classrooms at MiraCosta. As far as the classes go, instructors are always welcoming and willing to walk that extra mile with students so they can succeed in the class. CSU San Marcos also has a educational portal called CougarCourses (similar to MiraCosta’s Blackboard) where professors post their lectures, notes, homework assignments, and tests so students have all that information available.

Based on your experience, what would have you done differently that could have made your OPT / CSUSM application smoother?

I’m not really sure. With the help from the International office, the OPT application was easy. The trick is following the instructions carefully and apply to OPT early, even before a few weeks before the deadline. Same with CSU San Marcos: following the steps at CSU Mentor and communicating with the university admissions counselor helped my application tremendously.

What is your advice for someone who’s graduating from MiraCosta and applying for OPT?

When applying to OPT, my best advice would be planning ahead. OPT is an amazing opportunity to gain experience in your field of study and improving your resume, and the application should be taken seriously. Always gather the necessary documents early and do not leave things for the last minute. Communicate with the International office; they’ll be happy to help with you with your application. Also, when looking for a job, apply to as many companies as you can so your options of having interviews increase. OPT says that if the student has 90 days unemployed since the first day till the last day of OPT, his/her authorization to work will be cancelled. So, applying to different companies may help the student to get a job early.

So, this is it guys. I hope Javier can give you more insight about life after MiraCosta and what to expect. I’m going to experience that myself in a couple hours from now, and hopefully one day I can come back as a guest and share my experiences with you all.

Now, time to head home and get ready for graduation!



Another student’s perspective

Hi everyone, I’ve been sharing my experiences with you for a while, and before I pass the blogging task to someone else – yes, I’m graduating this semester and I will no longer blog =/ – I would like to share someone else’s perspectives about MiraCosta and life in the U.S.

I reached out to Jessica, a Canadian student here at MiraCosta to tell us a little bit about her experiences. Here’s what we talked about.

Why did you choose to come to the U.S.?

I am from Canada and I chose to come to the US for two reasons; but they all started with my love of California. The first reason was that there would be no snow during the winter months if I were to study in California, and the second reason was that it would help with my major. My major is in Television Production and I wanted to go where the industry was!

Why did you choose MiraCosta College?

Because of the ease of their website and friendly looking environment in the pictures. I noticed that MiraCosta was a more affordable option for international students compared to other schools and the pictures on their website looked beautiful and very inviting. I had also emailed with the international office before deciding if studying here was really something I wanted to do, and they were very helpful with all of my questions I asked. I asked a lot of questions!

How long have you been in the U.S.?

I have been in the U.S. for two years now and it has gone by very fast!

What do you miss the most about your home country?

I miss certain foods the most. While Canada has many of the same foods that the U.S. does, I was surprised to learn that many food items were not available here.

How do you stay in touch with your family and friends in your home country?

Skype is a wonderful thing! I’ve been able to talk to my parents and siblings every day since I’ve been here all because of a skype account. For other family members and friends I’ve been able to keep in contact with them through Facebook and other forms of social media. 

What do you like the most about studying in the U.S.?

I love the diversity and the different people that I’ve met. I have been able to meet people who have similar beliefs and values as me, and I have been able to meet people with completely different views on the world. It makes what you are learning and what you are doing so much more interesting when you are introduced to other perspectives.

What are your future education and career goals? 

Well, this Fall 2015 I will be transferring to California State University Northridge to complete my BA in Television production, so my goal right now is to graduate! After I graduate from there I hope to have a career as a film and television editor and maybe make movie trailers.  

Outside your school experience, tell me about your life in California?  What do you like to do?  How do you spend your time outside of studying? 

Life in California has been amazing! I have enjoyed not dealing with the snow for 7 months out of the year like I would normally deal with in Canada. When I’m not studying I like to go to the movies with friends, or I’ll just go to the beach and sit on the sand staring at the ocean. I’m also a big reader, so chances are if I’m not studying I’ll usually just be sitting outside reading a book!

How has your experience in the U.S. helped you learn more about yourself? Can you provide an example?

This experience has made me learn a lot about myself. I have learned that I can actually do things on my own and that I am capable of being independent. I have also learned to really enjoy going places by myself. When I first moved here it took me a while to make friends so I would go out and explore different places by myself. I also don’t drive and don’t have a car so taking the bus to these new places was something I had to learn how to become comfortable with.

Jessica was really kind to let me publish her interview. Shout out to her for that!

I still have one more post before I say goodbye, and for that I will let you guys into the world of OPT! Stay tuned!



Graduation… now, what?

We have four more weeks to the end of Spring 2015 semester, and with that Commencement arrives! On May 22, 2015 MiraCosta will hold the Commencement Ceremony for students graduating this Spring.

For a lot of international students graduating from MiraCosta means transferring to a 4-year University (you can understand the difference about Community Colleges and University on my previous post), but for others it means receiving OPT (Optional Practical Training). What does OPT mean?

OPT is a 12-month employment authorization for F-1 students to gain work experience in the field of study they chose, and you remain under F-1 visa during OPT. More information about OPT can be found at the OPT session under the IIP website.

I myself am applying for OPT and I’m currently searching for jobs. It’s not an easy task, and to help us with that I’m going interview a MiraCosta alumni to give us his advice about the best path to take. I’ll post it soon! Stay tuned!


Working on campus

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since I last posted, but end of the semester, holidays, and the beginning of a new semester took its toll on me. 🙂 Nevertheless, I want to talk to you guys about employment on campus. What? You didn’t know it was possible? Oh yes, it is!!

To be a student worker on campus you must qualify.  In your first semester, you must provide a successful midterm report to the International Office in order to request on-campus employment. If you have already completed your first semester, just stop by at the International Office and request a letter to show you are ready to work as an international student.  You bring the letter to the Career Center to learn which campus departements are hiring.

Student workers are allowed to work no more than 19hrs / week during school session, and no more than 40hrs/week on school breaks. You must maintain your F-1 status and a valid I-20.

I started working on-campus during my second semester, and [un]fortunately this will be my last one since I’m graduating in May. The International Office was searching for bloggers, and I had an interview with the director and woot woot!! I got the job! 🙂 Since then I have had the chance to interact with faculty and staff, and my networking started to develop. I ended up applying for a second job on campus, still at the International Office, as a student worker helping with administrative processes and helping international students with documentation, walking them to where their classes are, and so on. Working on campus has given me a great insight on how school is behind all the books and classes. I’ve had a chance to see how all the processes work from the moment a student apply to the moment he/she arrives on campus for their orientation day, and I have to tell you it is an amazing feeling to help them step by step during the process. It’s rewarding!

I truly recommend on-campus employment to all my friends, and to all of you perspective students as well! It’s a great opportunity to learn work ethics in the United States, an even greater opportunity for networking (trust me, this is extremely important for your career), and it’s also a good way to make that extra money.

I hope I shed some light in this process. If you’re more interested, or if you would like to ask me some questions, feel free to drop me a line!