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University of Southern California scales support for international students university-wide

interstride logo by Interstride
May 26, 2023
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Addie Cheng

Associate Director of International Student Career Engagement

13,000+
International students
27%
International students
2019
year started using Interstride

The Challenge

The University of Southern California (USC) has one of the largest international student populations of any university in the U.S. At a school of its size, each campus operates rather independently, which comes with additional complexities of supporting international students.

International students face the constant challenge of finding employers willing to sponsor H-1B and finding resources to help with their career success. “One thing I’ve been trying to make easier for international students is finding consistent information everywhere,” said Addie Cheng, the Associate Director of International Engagement in the USC Career Center.

The USC career center realized there was a better way to support international students, to make it “easier for international students to find the information that they need, and to be able to do it on their own. So they don’t always have to come to someone and say, how do I find this resource?” For a school of USC’s size, that level of individualized support is simply not scalable.

Why Interstride

“We have a lot of international students, and we want to make sure they feel supported with specific resources catered to their needs.”

– Addie Cheng

 

The main reason for implementing Interstride is to find employers that are willing to sponsor international students. Beyond a job search portal, USC found Interstride’s wealth of resources to be incredibly valuable for both students and staff.

“It answers a lot of the common questions that international students have when they come in for advising. How do I find H-1B sponsoring employers? How do I job search? What about CPT and OPT? What is cap-exempt? All of that stuff is on there,” Cheng explained. “I love all the webinars Interstride has and the different resources.”

Students can access these resources on demand, and universities can trust them. “Interstride does a really great job and I can always rely on that content. It’s trustworthy.”

At the end of the day, Cheng shared, “We have a lot of international students, and we want to make sure they feel supported with specific resources catered to their needs.”

The Impact

Interstride ensures “that students feel supported with 24/7 scalable resources beyond advising appointments or office hours with me or other campus colleagues.”

– Addie Cheng

 

Interstride has allowed Cheng and the career center team to increase and scale their support for international students. By providing vetted resources for students, Interstride has opened up space on Cheng’s plate. She explained, “It does open up my time a little bit more because I do a lot beyond just advising. I lead programming, events, mentorship initiatives, and employer outreach. For oneoff appointments where they just wanna know, where do I start? I can email them about Interstride first and then use the appointment time for more personalized advising.”

Due to the sheer size of USC’s international community, it would be impossible for Cheng to meet with all 12,000 international students on a singular basis. However, “it [Interstride] does ensure that students feel supported with 24/7 scalable resources beyond advising appointments or office hours with me or other campus colleagues.”

Feedback from students has been positive. A graduate student said, “It is simple and easy to navigate.” With thousands of students using the platform, a community has been built around this resource. Cheng shared, “Interstride is probably the number one resource that I refer them to for figuring out a strategy to find an H-1B sponsoring employer, job searching, [and] finding all that information in one place.”

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