Viviana Ruge Discusses Her Experience Studying in Shanghai, China

When faced with a foreign place one might run in the opposite direction – a world of unknown is nothing less than intimidating. It takes someone brave to conquer a place of unfamiliarity, especially when the circumstances seem less desirable to someone peering in at a distance. Viviana Ruge unveiled her ability to be fearless when she decided to depart the United States and pursue the opportunity to study abroad in Shanghai, China. Viviana faced several challenges, but she did nothing less than persevere and create a positive, life changing experience for herself.

As a traveling young woman, Viviana had visited places like Columbia, Mexico and the Dominican Republic during family vacations prior to her study abroad experience. She has been exposed to several different cultures, but wanted to expand her horizons and knowledge of the world even further – she craved a study abroad experience that screamed originality. With that said, it is apparent why Viviana would choose Shanghai, China – It wasn’t the typical study abroad experience.

Although she would be attending Fukudan University which would teach her in English, it was a culture shock to Viviana when she realized that all signs and forms of campus guidance were written in Chinese characters. She knew she was going to face obstacles throughout her time in Shanghai – this was only the first. Viviana was not going to allow any hindrances to drag her down. Instead, she fought through and quickly found solutions – she further learned how to adapt and make this process easier on herself. She used her resources such as newly met friends and her Introduction to Chinese course to promote her survival.

Viviana quickly learned that Chinese was a language based on tones – yet another obstacle. When she thought she was saying something correctly she quickly learned her tone was a little off based on the confused reaction of the locals. She did not give up, though. Even after returning, Viviana, who is fluent in both English and Spanish, can still speak some Chinese, although she realizes learning the language requires time in order to keep up with it.

Although many would be skeptical, actually afraid, of a study abroad experience in China, Viviana embraced this opportunity. Her growth professionally, and personally, is evident through the stories she’s taken with her from Shanghai, her beaming confidence, and the way her eyes light up when she recalls fond memories, such as watching the sunrise from the Great Wall, and speaks about the possibility of returning. Viviana is a true role model for the Nichols community. Her story of bravery proves what can be accomplished when one doesn’t allow the fear of the unknown limit them.

Career Fair 2013: The Opportunities Observed

Nichols provides their students with tools to achieve success during and beyond their time enrolled as undergrads. Through Nichols’ Professional Development Seminar curriculum, students learn how to present themselves confidently to employers while highlighting their strengths. Nichols requires real life implementation of these skills that are then utilized at the annual Career & Internship Fair. The event is organized by the Office of Career Service. Of course the Career Fair is attended by many companies year after year, because they have had terrific results from previous Nichols hires. After the career fair eight companies scheduled on campus interviews, where 53 Nichols students will get a chance to further demonstrate their aptitude.

This year’s career fair, held on February 20th, featured 70 companies and organizations, and welcomed 353 Nichols undergrads with opportunity for employment and internship experience. General consensus among students suggests that the career fair was extremely beneficial even when opportunities focused on their specific majors were limited. Below is Jason Dekow, an alumni interviewing candidates for Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

“The fair was great – a good way to practice how to approach and employer. It also provided a quality networking opportunity that we all need in order to get a job when we leave school. It was also nice to see all the businesses that value the Nichols College education and students.” – Pat Hoey, Class of 2015

“At the career fair I was spotted by the recruiter from Old Navy Company because I was wearing a leopard print belt. Because Old Navy is a trendy, fashion forward company he told me he was trying to spot students who looked trendy and had their own personal style. We began talking about the internship positions they have available for the summer, one of which I became very interested in. I now plan on applying for an Old Navy internship within the next few weeks. Before attending the career fair Old Navy would not have been a company I would have even considered doing an internship for. .” –Jillian Stadig, Class of 2014
“Walking into the fair was very overwhelming at first, with all of the tables and filled room of students and companies, figuring out where to even begin was a challenge. I skimmed the rows of tables until I found Enterprise.Once I reached the table I stood to the side and waited as other students gathered information from the representatives. All three of the representatives were Nichols Alumni. I think being able to see people who you once had class with take on a position at the Career Fair is very personal. This lets students know that it is very possible to obtain a Career from an Internship, it makes the fair that much more important and reminds students to take it seriously. ” – Kendra McAuliffe, Class of 2014

Before I went to the career fair I was actually extremely nervous about talking to potential employers. I made sure that I had ten updated copies of my resume, and a nice size stack of business cards. I headed to the career fair with a group of my friends. However, I made sure to break away from the group of people that I was with in order to make a better impression on potential employers. Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce: This internship is located in Whitinsville Massachusetts. They are looking for multiple interns, and the internship is unpaid. However, it is a wonderful experience that will fully engulf you in the world of events. The intern will be working to plan events that bring businesses together to learn how to better plan events.” Abby Gould, Class of 2014

“One of the biggest things that I took away from the Career fair was when I was talking to Christina Graham (2012 Graduate) from Enterprise Rent a Car. I asked her what her biggest piece of advice would be for someone graduating and going into the real world and she said that you really have to strive to do your absolute best, and not to settle.” William O’Brien, Class of 2013.

Patrick MacDonald (C/O 2014): Student & U.S. Army Specialist

February Student Spotlight: Patrick MacDonald

Age: 21
Hometown: Bellingham, Ma
Major: Criminal Justice Management
Class: 2014

Patrick MacDonald is a member of the junior class at Nichols College, along with being a part of the United States Army Reserves. Despite being heavily involved with the Army, MacDonald finds time to be involved on campus. He holds one of the most important and time consuming campus positions, a Resident Assistant, a member of the Criminal Justice Club, a sprinter on the track team and  a participant at a local affiliate Crossfit.  When asked the most difficult part of managing all his activities, MacDonald notes the difference between military life and college life. He stated, “The military is very strict and you’re always on a schedule. In college, you have more freedom and you are responsible for waking yourself up for class in the morning.”

Like many other students, MacDonald fell in love with the small school and tight knit community that Nichols has to offer. He said that at other schools he would have just been a number in a class but at Nichols he has a name. Another reason Pat chose Nichols was because he got the opportunity to meet and speak with Professor Kimberly Charbonneau at “Accepted Students Day.” Charbonneau has been the biggest help to Pat over the past few years at Nichols and has set him on the right track for his career.  Her ability to obtain internships for her students is crucial in this.

MacDonald began to envision joining the military in his junior year of high school and then decided to commit during his senior year. He saw this as an opportunity to advance his career and get him started in the right direction. It has given him experience in the work field since his goal is to one day be a Massachusetts State Police Officer. Through the military, where he is in the military police, Pat earns “promotion points” toward his career. During this journey over the past couple of years, his parents have been his biggest support system. They have always supported what he does and his dad encouraged him to choose this route since he is in the Marines as well as being a police officer.


Upon graduating from Nichols in the spring of 2014, MacDonald hopes to continue his education to earn his Master’s degree in Criminal Justice. He plans on taking the State Police exam that is coming up this April. Once he takes the exam and graduates from school, his goal is to be accepted into one of the police academies in Massachusetts.

Produced by the Bison for the Nichols College Community