Interstride Podcast Interviews Wesleyan Faculty Dr. Sharon Castonguay on Supporting International Students

It’s no secret that our international students face a unique set of challenges when it comes to beginning their career preparation strategies. Fortunately, Wesleyan has resources in place that are geared towards supporting students as they navigate these, at times, complex hurdles. It turns out learning more about these resources can benefit all of us!  

This week, I was pleased to learn about Dr. Sharon Castonguay’s recent podcast with Interstride, a portal that serves international students and that is an important one of those resources. Among other things, Interstride regularly posts live webinars and podcasts, like Dr. Castonguay’s, on all sorts of regional and discipline-specific topics relevant to international students.  Sharon’s podcast is called Liberal Arts for International Students and Career Development for Uncertain Times and is available under Interstride’s Resource tab via Spotify and Apple Podcasts.  In it, Sharon discusses the importance of supporting our international students’ career needs which differ from domestic students in a variety of ways.  Following graduation, international students are able to stay and work in the United States under extended practical training visas, but these are temporary, so they need to plan ahead towards their long-term goals.  Sharon urges international students to begin their relationship with Gordon Career Center staff early, as information is not always readily accessible.  She encourages students to embrace the dynamism of their pathways, to learn about different industries and employers that may be less well known; to network, identify funding sources, and to gain agency early on in the process.  Sharon also discussed her Coursera program which invites participants to take a deep dive into themselves, and to explore one’s identities and cultural influences. With increased self-awareness, preconceived mindsets can generate possibilities rather than limitations.  

Interstride is a wonderful interactive portal that supports international and internationally-minded students and alumni in their admissions, job search, community building, and immigration journeys.  We are fortunate to have access to it here at Wesleyan and I’m happy to take this opportunity to highlight both Sharon’s podcast as well as the Interstride platform and all it has to offer.  Interstride was originally created by a former international student, so from its roots, it is shaped by and adapted to the unique needs of students coming from different backgrounds who are navigating their individual career preparation journeys. Four main tabs summarize the primary function of the platform: 

  • Jobs: search for US and international opportunities
  • Network: network with international peers and alumni at your institution 
  • Learn: Resources to succeed during your international education
  • Tools: Career assessment and productivity tools

A few highlights include the regular live webinars covering things like “Work and live in Canada through Express Entry” and even topics relevant to employers, like “Green Cards – Sponsoring Employees for Permanent Residence”. Also, the U.S. Visa Insights tab ranks U.S. employers’ past sponsorship record of hiring international candidates!   Finally, the “Country Insights Tab” is relevant to all students interested in international jobs and serves as a guide to traveling and working internationally.  There’s a lot there, and it takes some focused attention to access the depth of information provided. Fortunately, Interstride posts “how to” tutorials every step of the way to help you maximize its wealth of resources.

Curious? Log in yourself with your Wesleyan credentials and learn more!

Written by Anita Deeg-Carlin, Associate Director of Intercultural Learning at the Fries Center for Global Studies,