All posts by Allison Souza, Class of 2013

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.

Hold the Autographs: Nichols College Rock Star, Saleha Ashfaq

Beginning college, Saleha Ashfaq had yet balance a job and school concurrently. While some would assume this was a result of poor work ethic or motivation, Saleha wasted no time proving that this couldn’t be farther from the truth – she quickly became a rock star among Nichols College students.

Throughout her college experience, Saleha has shown her worth as an employee. Every semester, this full-time college student has been occupied not only with her school work, but three simultaneous jobs. Her success is a catalyst of her will power, perseverance, motivation to learn, and her incredible ability to keep her hectic schedule organized.

Currently, Saleha is completing her second semester of her junior year at Nichols. She has already completed four internships while also employed as a Nichols’ teaching assistant and with Nichols’ Department of Career Services. Saleha gained more than one of her internships through the college’s Road to Success database. She has also attained other internships via student-professor networking and recommendations.

Saleha’s internship journey began when she interned with Hometown Bank of Oxford, Massachusetts at the end of her freshman year. From the internship description, she was aware they were looking for sophomores and juniors, but she sent her resume and cover letter regardless. She then followed up with Hometown Bank and secured an interview that offered her the position on the spot. Saleha has also interned with the Worcester County Memorial Park in their accounting department, with the Dudley District Court in the clerk’s office and as a tax preparer for AARP. Through these positions, Saleha, who is multilingual, has worked diligently to improve her communication skills, has conquered experiences that have made her fearful, has set herself apart from her peers, and has determined what she’s most interested in.

It is no surprise that Saleha is well respected among her peers, professors and co-workers. When Lori Smith, assistant director of career services, is asked about Saleha she responds resounding appreciation. Lori states that, “Her motivation and dedication are what really make her stand out. She is willing to take on any task and needs little direction. We provide her with the big picture of what we want and she does an amazing job.” Lori also commented that Saleha has incredible time management skills considering all she is involved in. She also remarked that Saleha is always looking for her next opportunity, continuously has a plan brewing in her mind and strives to gain as much professional experience as possible.

Saleha is the epitome of a Nichols College rock star, already succeeding in the business world. She demonstrates the power of working to achieve one’s dreams. Saleha has gone above and beyond what is expected of a college student and has proven her worth, not only as a student, but as an employee as well. It is without question that Saleha, combined with her resilient dedication and motivation, will achieve much success beyond the world of Nichols. She illustrates that hard work certainly does pay off.