Three months after graduation, so many Indonesian students go back home to Indonesia because they are not able to find a job in the United States. Many Indonesian students come to the United States in hopes of securing full-time jobs after graduation, but often don’t know how to do so. So many difficulties we must face as international students: most companies are unwilling to sponsor H1B (work permit) visas, language barriers may hinder us from excelling in job interviews, and the dreaded H1B lottery system. It might ease the struggles and anxiety of Indonesian students if a successful Indonesian professional could guide these students.
By pairing Indonesian students with professionals in the United States through a mentorship program, the Garuda Bisa team and I hope that more Indonesian students will be able to successfully acquire jobs in the United States. Garuda Bisa is a non-profit organization that facilitates mentorship between Indonesian students and professionals in the United States. Garuda Bisa is based in Austin, Texas and is managed by students at The University of Texas at Austin and Austin Community College.
The mentorship program occurs every semester, and this semester the mentorship program lasts for six weeks and the upcoming program will start from October 12 to November 20. The six-week program encompasses several activities including a mock interview, resume checking, exchange of industry knowledge, simulation with mentor on how to approach a recruiter, and guidance on how to build a social media profile. It is not mandatory for mentors and mentees to do all these activities, and it depends on what both parties want to get out of the program. For instance, if the mentee is busy recruiting and needs help with mock interviews and resumes, then the entire six weeks could just consist of the mentor checking the mentee’s resume and doing mock interviews. Another example could be for instance the mentee has accepted a job offer; the mentee can still join Garuda Bisa to network with Indonesian professionals by learning how to build a social media profile or discussing the news and articles about various industries. However, the program does require at least two personal interactions through videoconference, phone call, or a face-to-face meeting because we feel that such personal interactions are crucial to an effective mentorship.
The team and I pair mentors and mentees based on similar majors, career interests, previous educational institutions, and hobbies. We want to involve mentors in the mentee application process, so we send out the applications and resumes of three Indonesian students to each mentor. After this, the mentors select which applicant is their first, second, and third choice. We try our best to give mentors their first and second choice. We also try our best to recruit mentors from career backgrounds or majors that are similar to our mentee applicant pool. If we are unable to find a suitable mentee for the mentor or vice versa, then Garuda Bisa will defer the mentor or mentee’s application to the following semester of the program. In addition, we give applicants the option to have more than one mentor, however first-time applicants only get one mentor. If returning mentee participates in the program again and would like more than one mentor, then we would try to accommodate his/her request. The reason for this is that we’ve had cases in the past wherein the mentee does not reply to his/her mentor and we want to mitigate the risk of this happening.
An important aspect of the program is the chance to have a mock interview with an Indonesian professional who can give an honest advice about how to improve interviewing skills. Additionally, the program also provides the opportunity to have resumes checked by an industry professional. Our professional mentors come from small firms to Fortune 500 companies and some even have experiences in interviewing students for full-time jobs and internships. The companies our mentors come from include Deloitte, Dell, Ernst and Young, Intuitive Surgical, Samsung, and many more! We also have mentors that work in educational institutions and non-profit organizations.
Garuda Bisa launched its mentorship program for the first time in the Spring semester of 2015 and the program was a great success! Many of our mentors and mentees communicated with each other more than the required two personal interactions. I also participated in Garuda Bisa’s mentorship program and had two mentors from the program. One of my mentors works at A.T. Kearney; we met twice to do case interviews and discuss career goals. My other mentor works at a ConocoPhillips. I had weekly phone calls with my second mentor wherein we would discuss about my future career goals and the ins and outs of the oil industry. I have also heard many wonderful stories from other mentees, from getting on-point career advice to getting job referrals from their mentors. . I strongly feel that when both mentor and mentee are Indonesian, there is this strong bond that makes mentors want to help their Indonesian mentees.
Garuda Bisa aims to become a leading professional network for Indonesian students in the United States. We have mentees from eleven universities and mentors from ten states and counting! It has been a pleasure for us to facilitate the networking opportunities between the Indonesian students and successful Indonesian professionals. We hope that other Indonesian students across the United States get to apply and experience the program.
Details to apply to the program are as follows:
If you’re an Indonesian student in the United States, follow these four simple steps:
1. Go to: GarudaBisa.com/ForStudents.html
2. Click “Apply Now”
3. Fill and submit the application
4. Send your resume to email@example.com by September 18, 2015
If you’re an Indonesian professional in the United States or you know an Indonesian professional who would be willing to help out, the process to apply as a mentor is as follows:
1. Go to: GarudaBisa.com/ForProfessionals.html
2. Click “Apply Now”
3. Fill and submit the application by September 27, 2015
For more information please visit our website at: www.garudabisa.com or facebook page, www.facebook.com\garudabisaidn. You can also emails us at firstname.lastname@example.org or even contact me at my number, 512-201-0763.