The American University in Cairo (AUC) is a global community that does not only enable its students to have a great academic opportunity, but also provides them with various facilities that would prepare for the career-based world. The Career Center is one of the chances AUC students can use to enhance their skills in different ways, as it offers five chances to build career experience: internships, volunteer opportunities, challenges, competitions, career opportunities for seniors and work study programs.
The Insider AUC interviewed Ms. Soha Hassan, the experiential learning manager at the Career Center on the work study programs. According to Ms. Hassan, 350 work study programs are offered per spring or fall semester. These work study programs are offered from freshmen year to help students adapt to handling responsibility, being punctual, and respecting orders. Ms. Hassan added on to explain that, “work study programs offers students work experience on a smaller scale; similar to real life work. It provides them with intellectual skills and, at the same time, students can make extra money.”
Moreover, Ms. Hassan added that work study programs can enable students to make worthy connections with the office staff. She explained that this can benefit them both in their learning and in their lives. Students, as confirmed by Ms. Hassan, can work a total of 120 hours per semester. Some students aim to work in more than one work study program simultaneously. In this case, they should coordinate with the departments. However, they will be financially compensated as if they are working in only one work study program, clarified Ms. Hassan.
Ms. Hassan encourages students to apply early for this program, but explains that applying online isn’t sufficient and doesn’t guarantee acceptance. Nevertheless, Ms. Hassan advises students to seek the departments they desire to work with because showing interest will give them a higher chance of being accepted over other candidates.
Furthermore, several students were interviewed to get their perspective and the majority expressed satisfaction for applying for work study programs. Nadya Mourad, a junior majoring in Business, expressed how pleased she was to work with the Buzz Newsletter as a photographer. “I really enjoyed the experience, and I even had backstage access to star quest that was held in spring 2017,” said Mourad. She added on to say thatshe was glad that Buzz Newsletter gave her more money than she expected. Currently, Mourad loves working in the Alumni Office because her manager encourages her to do her best. Reinstating what Ms. Hassan previously shared, Mourad commented on how this experience enabled her to make good relations that would benefit her in the future.
Another junior student who is majoring in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), Madonna Soliman, worked for the Donors department as a graphic designer and in the administration. Soliman said that this work study program had not only enhanced her theoretical skills, but also her practical ones. Soliman added that most of the projects they worked on were similar to real-life projects that the staff members at AUC work on. “I used to get all the information about the AUC donors and put them under one serial number for each donor, similar to each student ID number,” commented Soliman. She also stated that the opportunities in work study programs are better than what the clubs have to offer. “I acquired new skills in addition to a good salary considering the fact that I am still a student,” stated Soliman.
Passant Salama, a senior majoring in Communication and Media Arts, participated in an interesting yet challenging work study experience which was working in the library in the archives section. That being said, Salama expressed her excitement and enthusiasm to work along with her studies. For instance, she had the task of interviewing people about their political views. Salama share that, “it was nice experience to feel like a professional interviewer, but it is hard to go on doing it.” Salama also worked in the archives, specifically the architecture section, and expressed her enjoyment working in this section by saying, “I felt like I was doing something important, especially because many people came from The American University in Beirut just to watch the architecture section. So, I enjoyed it.”
Work study programs are an opportunity that not all students have the privilege to experience. However, AUC students have this privilege. Not all of them apply for such a chance fearing it could mess up their academic life. However, it has the opposite effect. It enhances it with the practical experience they gain. According to Ms. Hassan, for every student who wishes to apply for a work study program with the experience of an internship, the Career Center is launching a new work study program come fall 2018. This new program will include employers that coordinate with AUC. Students can work along their studies part time in a larger scale work place to have the authentic experience of a work environment.