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Friday, December 8, 2023

An Unknown Future

May 25, 2023
Nick Humphries

The Stressful Experiences of Senior International Students

Nick Humphries

As graduation nears for the senior class, many students have found jobs and are making changes to prepare them for a bright future. Other seniors can take a gap year before beginning work or pursuing post-graduate degrees. However, not all seniors have found a job or have concrete post-graduation plans in place and feel stressed. International students have additional complexity to their post-graduation life, which can be scary. The Collegian interviewed two international students who are graduating this spring but have an unknown future. 

Harold Sanchez is a senior engineering student from Colombia who needs to find a job. His expiring student visa requires him to find a job within three months, or he will need to change his visa to a tourist visa and will not be able to apply for a job in the U.S. Sanchez prefers to work in aerospace, but his need to find a job is forcing him to seek one in any industry, so long as it reflects his engineering background. 

Photo from Harold Sanchez.

Sanchez wants to work in the U.S. simply because there is more opportunity through more companies than in Colombia. Additionally, many companies in Colombia won’t accommodate Sanchez’s requests take Sabbath off. 

This situation is made harder without Sanchez’s family. “You feel down sometimes because you need those relationships and friendships.” Sanchez insisted that while he was initially stressed, he feels comfortable in his position and confident he can find a job. “God didn’t bring me over here just to hang around and waste my time. I know he’s going to help me find a job.” [1] 

Ivy Lu is a Chinese international business student with a health science minor. She has a temporary job for the summer as an intern chaplain at AdventHealth. Like Sanchez, Lu plans on working in the U.S. instead of China for her career, but her international student status adds another layer of stress and complexity to her job search. Ultimately, she hopes that her internship will lead to a job. 

Lu prefers to plan ahead and admits she sometimes worries excessively. In the past, she has planned several years in advance, but realizes that her plans can change easily. “Life often doesn’t go as expected. I need to tell myself there’s only so much I can stress about.” [2] 

The distance placed between Lu and her family is also hard, but she is happy to have found people who treat her as family. “In a way, I do not have a home community in America, but I was able to expand the Ivy community. I am so grateful to so many people along the way who were supportive and poured their whole heart out to help me.” [3] 

Finishing college is a joyous but stressful endeavor because it forces students to find a new life path. Although Sanchez and Lu are from opposite sides of the world, their experience is a common link between international students. 



  1. Interview with Harold Sanchez, 5/18/2023. 
  2. Interview with Ivy Wu, 5/18/2023. 
  3. Ibid. 



  1. Photo from Harold Sanchez. 
  2. Photo from Ivy Lu. 
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