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Recruiting Intelligence

The International Student POV...Intead Staffers Reflect on OPT

tianyu isabel blog


Tianyu Shen is a business analyst from China. Isabel Aucca is a digital campaign manager from Peru. These two members of the Intead team, both on STEM OPT programs through Northeastern University and Hult International Business School respectively, have amazing stories as international students, travelers, explorers, and knowledge workers here in the US.

Many of you already know Tianyu and Isabel through the conferences they attend for Intead and the work they do with our network. If you haven’t had that pleasure, be sure to introduce yourself to them at an upcoming industry conference (AIEA, NAFSA, AIRC, ICEF, etc.) These two super talents bring their skills to our work in their respective fields (market research, business and data analytics, digital campaigns development and optimization, and competitor analyses) along with incredibly valuable international perspectives.

Their comments below will quickly give you a sense of what it is like to be in their shoes and understand a bit more about what drives them. And since so many of you work to create fulfilling experiences for international students, we thought we’d use this platform to share words that will surely resonate with you and your team.

Opportunities to Meet In Person 

The Intead team is gearing up for some amazing presentations and we hope you can join us. 

  • AIRC Spring Symposium in Niagara, Canada, April 30, 2024
  • ICEF North America in Niagara, Canada, May 1-3, 202
  • NAFSA 2024 Annual Conference and Expo in New Orleans, May 28-31, 2024

Let us know if you’ll share a cup of coffee and a conversation about all things global and digital (info@intead.com) 

As you read the perspective below, consider what it is that drove their decisions to study and work outside of their home countries. Note the courageous decisions they made and the personality traits that are likely common to many of the international students you are seeking. It is these kinds of personal reflections that inform larger marketing strategies and help us create truly engaging content to attract future international students to our institutions.

Tianyu, who grew up in China, attended an English language institute in Boston before earning his undergrad degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and then his master’s at Northeastern University. As excellent as this background is, it does not provide andy indication of the genuinely joyful, energetic, and thoughtful person he is.

What he has to say about where he is now: “It’s human nature. When you receive something and people support you, you want to give back. For me, I feel so grateful for all of the education I received. It’s life-changing. And I’m grateful for all the people who helped me out along the way. Now, working at Intead I can help others who are standing where I once stood. I’m so thankful.”

The feeling is absolutely mutual.

Isabel, an undeniable dynamo from Peru who speaks three languages (Spanish, Portuguese, and English), earned her undergrad from the Universidad del Pacifico in Lima and her master’s from Hult International Business School in Massachusetts.

“Arriving at a place like Intead, it’s the purpose they have, it’s the type of company where you can be hands-on in every project – all of varying client scopes – and so many different ways to engage with the work. On one project I wear a digital hat, another I’m focused on research, and on others I get to be really creative about the overall marketing plan. That sets personalities like me up for success."

Isabel absolutely does her part to set us (and that means you) up for success, as well.

Following our recent #AIRC2023 full-day digital marketing workshop in December, both Isabel and Tianyu independently posted to LinkedIn about their experience helping others learn their craft during the workshop. This post brings their reflections to you.

Read on…


Isabel: Propelled by Key Moments


Being a professional in a country that's not yours while speaking a different language is a wild ride—some days, it got me questioning my life choices and wondering how committed I am to chasing my dreams.  But then, there are those tiny reassurances. You know, the ones that tell you the path feels right, like you are getting somewhere since you left home. Grabbing onto those moments is key.

Since I jumped on board with Intead, feeling of "Yep, this is it!" hasn't left. Learning about the higher ed industry, surrounded by a crazy talented team, has been a journey. We balance professionalism that blows your mind with a friendship vibe and an intrapreneurial marketing spirit that makes every project pop. This is my why!

I couldn't be happier and more grateful for my experience teaching a Global Digital Marketing Workshop next to this great Intead team. I didn't only get that great feeling of "This is what I came for," but I also probably learned more than what I dished out.

Tianyu: A Story of Gratitude


Eight years ago, as an 18-year-old Chinese international student, I stepped into the unknown world of studying abroad. Confronted with a new culture and language, I remember feeling overwhelmed and homesick.

Today, I want to extend gratitude to my younger self for making that life-altering decision. That bold step led to achievements and experiences I could never have envisioned at 18:

  • Successfully participating as a presenter for our digital marketing workshop at #AIRC2023, surrounded by an exceptional team. I'm immensely thankful for each member's contribution including Andrew Chen (陈航), Emily Kirsch, Ph.D., Sandhya Balasubramanian.
  • Embracing innovation by experiencing autonomous cars in Phoenix, AZ alongside David Di Maria, Ed.D., Vanessa Andrade, and John Sunnygard.
  • Engaging in thought-provoking discussions and exchanging nuanced insights on global education trends with higher education experts from across the globe.

I'm proud to be part of the Intead team, a perfect blend of talent and dedication collaborating with visionaries from so many organizations and institutions.

Embarking on an international education journey has been transformative. It's more than just an academic pursuit; it's a journey of personal and professional growth. I am where I am today because of that decision I made eight years ago.

Thank you, 18-year-old self, for the courage and effort. Here's to continued learning and growth in the field of international education!

Intead has employed many international students on OPT and CPT since we started nearly 15 years ago. Between our international students performing practical training programs to our global team, we have folks representing more than 20 nations from the Netherlands to Nigeria, Argentina to Vietnam, and China to Great Britain.

It’s our global community that helps us understand the world and connect to the human beings we are so very interested in meeting and supporting.Intead Plus Info »

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