What Does It Mean To Be An International Student?

By Leila Ataeva; Skokie, Illinois

If you get a chance to study abroad, what will you do? Most perspective students will reply: “I can’t believe it, I could be an international student in a country I only dreamed about. Let’s do it!”

Abroad education is always attractive to students. There are new people, a new culture, new foods, and a new life as well. But at the same time there are new challenges for students to face in a new country. That’s why it’s very important for schools to support international students and make them feel more comfortable as they adapt to their new life in the United States. Computer Systems Institute always create some activities for them. The most recent event was on Halloween. We had a promotion where the main idea was taking a picture with any pumpkin, posting to any social media with #HALLOWEENCSI and getting a treat at school. During the International Education Week (November 13-17, 2017) we are going to have some events which help students have fun by sharing traditional foods, stories and the proud heritage of their home country. Below you can find a schedule for each event we are having next week. Don’t hesitate to join us!

Show Your Country Pride!
November 13, 14, and 19
Show your country pride by dressing in traditional clothes from your country, your country’s sports team or country flag.

Share Your Culture through Food
November 15, 16, and 18
Student Potluck – Bring and share traditional foods from your country to share with your classmates.

Where Are You From?
November 13 – 19
Stop at the Front Desk or Student Affairs to get a sticker to mark your home country on our campus world map.

While we are preparing for events, I got a chance to catch some students and ask them one question: “As an international student what are you most thankful about international education?” These are their words:

“Being a student overseas, or international education in general, opens so many doors and grants us so many opportunities (such as learning a new language, etc.), that perhaps everyone should explore study abroad programs and maybe even get enrolled into one. In a nutshell, I’m thankful for the many opportunities that international education provides us with”. – Diana Shayakhmetova, Kazakhstan

“I’m thankful for exposure and various opportunities”. – Cornelius Oluwaseun, Amondi, Nigeria

“As an international student, I really appreciate the level and quality of the education I receive. The diverse classrooms gives an opportunity to interact and learn different culture. International students gets an equal opportunity to attain American level of education, regardless of their country of origin. American education is widely accepted in most of the countries. As an international student, I also get a chance to work in the field of study and to apply the class room education and build a career.
Adding an international level of experience to my resume will also help me when I go back to my home country. Applying the business concept that I learn practically and the classroom education will escalate my career. It also helps to build an international network, for future endeavor/business”.
– Jaymin Patel, India

“Studying in the United States has been an extraordinary opportunity to improve my English and to learn more about the world and find a different points of view”. – Guilherme Andrade Lage, Brazil.

“I’m most thankful as a CSI International students for the opportunity to live and continue studying abroad. It has given me privilege of broadening my horizons and continue to explore life in another continent”. – Osatohanmwen Evbu Atohengbe, Nigeria.

Doing something you’ve never done before is always difficult. But when you have friends (new international friends) new things are going to be more fun and interesting. Keep learning and doing what you like to do and soon you’ll succeed. Happy International Education Week!

Chasing the American Dream

By Leila Ataeva; Skokie, Illinois
Chasing the American Dream

Every person who comes to America is obsessed with a dream, the American Dream. International students are not exceptions.

The expression “American Dream” was created by James Truslow Adams (1878-1949), a U.S. writer and popular historian. In his book The Epic of America, he explained the American Dream as “that dream of land which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement”. In other words, you have the freedom to pursue success in a way meaningful to you.

Every day I see a lot of international students, but few days ago one in particular caught my attention. I stopped and ask him one question: “Hi! How are you doing today?” I was shocked with his answer which inspired me to write this blog. His name is Dharmik, and here’s what happened next.

Leila: Hi, Dharmik! How are you doing today?

Dharmik: I’m doing great. Thank you. How about you?

Leila: I’m pretty well. Working on my next blog. By the way, maybe you can tell me about 5 things you do every day.

Dharmik: Eat, sleep, work on projects, learn something new, and practice for marathons.

Leila: Stop, you said marathons? What kind of marathon?

Dharmik: Yes. I’m a professional marathoner. I have completed more than 15 in 2 years, and also I’m planning to finish Ironman next year.

Leila: I’m impressed about your physical training. Look at these muscles (I actually touched his muscles and we started laughing). Ok, back to reality. How did you come to Computer Systems Institute?

Dharmik: I heard from one of my friends who’s studying at the CSI’s downtown campus.

Leila: Great, we are happy to see students who joined us through recommendations. Which program do you take, and do you think program you take at CSI will help you in your future?

Dharmik: I have heard that CSI offers business programs for international students. I was studying at Roosevelt University but due to the bad financial condition, I had to transfer to CSI because it’s affordable. I have chosen Small Business Administrator because I’m also thinking about creating my own company which will provide services for websites and applications development. So this course will help me out to grow my company and in the better way.

Leila: Then you chose the right way and school for that. I’ve heard a story that one of our students met Mark Zuckerberg. I bet it was you.

Dharmik: Actually, meeting Mark was my dream. It happened in April, 2016, when I was in India, and I was studying Computer Engineering, I got an opportunity to become a Head of an international technical festival known as PROJECTIONS. Along with being a computer engineering student, organizers gave me responsibility to develop an application for that festival. I did a little bit of research and learned a new coding language known as PHONEGAP. After that, I uploaded my application on Play Store. On that basis I applied for their annual event known as FACEBOOK DEVELOPER’S CONFERENCE – F8, and I got selected for that and also interacted with Mark as well.

Leila: That is really a cool experience for international student who grew up in India and came to America to realize his dream. I’m taking off my hat. What are your plans?

Dharmik: I really want to complete my graduation here in America and want to get a job in Google. This is my biggest dream.

Leila: Well, you are already here. Your first step has done. Keep doing that. Hope, you’ll get useful knowledge from school. One last question: If you got a chance to speak with all international students in America, what advice would you give them?

Dharmik: Being an international student here, I know it is hard, but all I want to suggest you is stay focused on your dreams. Never get down on yourself, no matter what happens.

In the end, I would like to share with you the main idea I had after my conversation with Dharmik. It really doesn’t matter where you’re from, who your parents are, or how much money you have. What matters is that you have a dream and what you do to make it real. Hopefully, this article will inspire most of you and, who knows, maybe your American Dream is about to come true.

Don’t stop until you are proud!

Is an ESL Program Necessary for International Students?

Today, there are many different career training and educational programs for international students to pursue here in the United States. One of the more common misconceptions foreign students can have is believing in the need to enroll in an ESL program of study prior to starting any of their relevant coursework.

However, this is not always the best course for some foreign students. In cases where you already can speak, read, and write English, there is often no need to complete an ESL program before starting your studies. Rather, you can skip ahead and begin your education and development of the professional and customer relations skills you need for your future career.
ESL Program Necessary for International Students

Furthermore, outside of the classroom, you are exposed to a wide range of English from television programs and movies to music. You could even volunteer your time in a setting where you can practice interacting with others and speaking English.

Many of the career training and skills building programs you complete will provide diverse classroom learning environments, allowing you plenty of opportunities to practice and improve your English skills. Not to mention, many of the programs like these will also include an internship so you can put your skills to work in a real work environment!

If you are already comfortable with the English language, then you are ready to start your career training without having to complete an ESL program. For more information about our business, marketing, and professional skills building programs, contact Computer Systems Institute at 1-888-652-2494 and speak with one of our representatives today!

Writing an Eye Catchy Cover Letter

By Snezana Stojilkovic; Chicago, Illinois
Eye Catching Cover Letter
Writing a good cover letter might be a scare thought for the majority of you. You have so many unanswered questions: How long it should be, what information should be included, do you have to repeat the contact information (since you already have it on your resume), who you are supposed to address in it, how deep personally you need to go, and so on. Although there is no magic formula, and you can get creative, there are some things that you should keep in your mind when deciding how to approach this task. It can be enjoyable!

Each cover letter is unique

That’s why you should stick with the golden rule: Don’t send the same letter to different locations, those experienced eyes would notice that you were flirting with other companies, and your letter might end up in a trash bin.

Do your homework, when you see a job opening, the first thing you need to do is to Google it. Find out as much as possible. How big is the company (size matters), who is responsible for hiring (again, in small companies it’s more likely that the owner will get to read your letter, in bigger there is a professional help from HR – human resource – Department), how much they pay for different positions comparing with other companies from the same industry, any benefits that go with the job, any problems that employees have, what is overall company’s culture; anything can help!

When I said that size matters I meant that with bigger companies it’s likely that you might have to go through a phone call screening process, and if you do a good job you can actually have a real interview. And, probably, that will be just the first round. So, you should know that before you sit in front of your computer.

I mentioned in one of the previous articles that a good start point can be the website www.glassdoor.com, where you can find valuable information, not only for the job and company, but also for interviews, and what you can expect from one if you ever get there.

Red flag, sometimes employees are “forced” to write positive comments, so be aware

Look for another source if everything seems so perfect! I found numerous of places that advertised high weekly income, up to $1500, and it turned out that these are door-to-door jobs, where you knock on thousands of doors to try to sell some product, and it is usually commission only, which means that you are paid based on your performance. If you don’t sell anything that day, after 10 hours of knocking and talking and walking you go home with exactly $0.

Another place where you can search is LinkedIn, and although I am not the biggest fan of it – Yelp. Sometimes, reading reviews from customers/clients you get a pretty good idea how someone runs the business. You can easily decide if you want to be a part of it, or not.

For example, you want to work as a nail technician. But the reviews you found online about that saloon’s practice is disturbing, they don’t respect schedule because they accept walk-ins, and that creates chaos, it is not clean enough, the selection of nail polish colors is limited, the material they use is cheap and not of good quality. Would you spend any time writing an amazing cover letter for that kind of place?

Your cover letter shouldn’t be more than one page long. And that’s my dear with all your information (first and last name, address, email and phone number), date and information about the company you are applying for, and closing paragraph. I suggest that you leave the number from your address, both building and apartment for security purpose. 

I understand that many of you really like to write and you have so much to tell, (just like me, and I hope you are still reading) but hey, think about timing, people are busy.

They don’t want to read a book. It’s a Twitter era

The first paragraph is pretty standard: You will have to introduce yourself, explain what position you are applying for, how you heard for it, and how your qualification applies for the job. That’s catchy part. If it’s well written, the person who reads it will read it all.

The second and third paragraph is the place to brag about your experience and achievements. I already wrote about this, tell your story! Don’t use clichéd sentences, rather explain what exactly you know to do in details. 

The language is very important here. I don’t like rigid language, but it is necessary to use it when applying for the position like administration, banks, and schools. But I do believe that you can be creative if that is essential for a job. Think of designers, marketing positions, fashion, etc. 

In the closing paragraph, you should thank the person that you are addressing for the time and consideration of you as a candidate. Invite him/her to contact you to set up an interview. This is a very short paragraph. The last part is your signature.   

So, let’s sum up:

Don’t write too much: be concise!
Be detailed when asking a question: What are you good at?
Don’t mention salary, unless asked for salary requirements or salary history
Proofread your letter. Twice. Some people are extremely sensitive when it comes to the grammar.

At the very end, there is one more option available for you to explore. If you are really terrified of doing everything I wrote about, you can pay for professional help and hire someone who will do that for you. The person who is responsible for writing your resume and cover letter would call you, and try to find as much as possible about your background, your employment history, education, references, past projects you have done, etc. The more you tell – the better outcome will be!

I don’t really support this kind of writing since I believe that anyone is capable of writing a decent resume and cover letter. You know yourself best, that’s your advantage. Use it.

The last piece of advice is: If you ever decide to use “free cover letter making” there is a chance that after you are done with writing you will have to pay a small price for it if you want to save it. Once you do it, be aware that if you don’t cancel, the company will keep charging you a monthly fee, which is usually around $15! Be aware.

And good luck with job hunting!

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Do The Research If You Care About Your Career
Why is the Cover Letter So Important?

Downtown Colleges vs. Suburban Colleges vs. Rural Colleges

There are many different college options here in the United States to choose from when you are looking to study abroad. There are three generalized categories used to classify a school:

  • Downtown (Urban)

Urban colleges offer the most diversity out of the three because they are located in large cities. You have easy access to public transportation, as well as a wide array of entertainment options when you are not studying. Plus, these colleges tend to have a greater selection of internships related to your program of study, such as internships after you complete your marketing courses.Business Management Courses

  • Suburban

Suburban colleges provide a blended learning environment somewhere between downtown and rural colleges. Student populations are still somewhat diverse but can be closer knit because there are often fewer students. Campus locations tend to be near bigger cities, so you still have access to everything in the urban center but without living in the city.

  • Rural

Rural colleges are considered those schools located far away from big cities in the countryside. These are often much smaller and much more intimate. These schools will offer a slice of American rural culture that it not seen in the cities. These campuses also tend to provide a tightly knit group of friends that will grow with you through your student years.

Depending on what you’re looking for in your American student experience, you can choose to be a city-goer or an American countryside dweller. No experience is better than the other; it all depends on what aspects of the American world you are drawn to. Luckily, we have campuses located in all three categories! To learn more about our programs of study or to arrange a tour of one of our campuses, please feel free to call Computer Systems Institute at 1-888-652-2494 today!

The Value of Diversity at International Schools

When you attend an international school here in the United States to study business management courses or other subjects, there is much value gained by participating in foreign exchange learning opportunities. You are exposed to a unique and diverse school environment, which can enrich your learning experiences. Other benefits you can gain include:

  • Cultural Diversity – Not only do you get to learn more about American culture, but you also get to share your own culture with your classmates and new friends. This will help you develop an appreciation for a multicultural environment as well as aid you in your future career.
  • Social Aspects – You get to discover new social aspects of interacting with other people from participating in special events held at your school or getting together with your new friends and having them show you around your new surroundings.

Diversity at International Schools
  • Life Long Friends – You can develop new friendships that will last a lifetime, long after you graduate and return home, as you continue to share experiences with each other.
  • Networking Opportunities – Your new friendships also open up future networking opportunities to help further your career, as long you as remain in contact with these people. The companies they are working for may be looking for bilingual staff or getting ready to open a new office in your country.

As you can see, there can be much value by attending an international school that offers diversity in its student populations. To learn more about diverse school and programs of study, please feel free to contact Computer Systems Institute at 1-888-652-2494 today!

Do The Research If You Care About Your Career

By Snezana Stojilkovic; Chicago, Illinois
Career Research
A couple of years ago, I was looking for a job in Marketing, and I found one promising. It was a billboard company, looking for someone who will be a go-getter, creative, but also responsible for running the errands. The owner seemed little angry in his ad, complaining how he received 3000 resumes and letters and they were all the same. Then he made a list of what one should do if wanted an interview. Basically, asking to be different, original. Honestly, at first I was shocked by the angry tone of the ad, but on the other hand, I was kind of challenged. In my mind it was like, hm, this is very interesting. Let me see if I can do what he wants.

I Googled it. Their website wasn’t really helpful, the information they provided were insufficient. I found the history of that firm, location, and the next day I called and introduced myself as a potential client just to get more information about what they were doing, more importantly how they were doing and the current prices. I checked the Facebook page, but since I found out who the owner was, I checked his personal page too and learned that he had a dog that is often in the office.

Then, I made a picture of a billboard with my picture on it, with a beautiful landscape behind me with big letters: Congratulations, you found the perfect candidate! And I sent it. No resume, no letter. Someone would say it was a stupid move, but I would say it was a bold move.  In that case that was my cover letter.
I got the email the next day. He was interested in setting a meeting in his office. Lovely. I wrote an actual letter, just in case. When I got there I saw his big dog. I called him by his name and played with him for a while, and I could tell you that the owner was surprised. He looked at me and said: “I see that you did your homework.” I smiled. “I am a journalist. I do my homework.”

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Snezana Stojilkovic: From New Immigrant to First Job: Resume is Your Story, Learn How to Tell It

The Benefits of Americans Attending School with International Students

As more and more international students seek to enroll in specialized training programs, business management courses, and other career-enhancing skills development opportunities in U.S. schools, it also creates opportunities for American students. Students who attend school in a mixed, multicultural environment tend to be better prepared for their future careers, thanks to several benefits this type of setting provides.
Americans Attending School with International Students

  • Better Understanding of Different Cultures – American students are exposed to a wide array of cultures and are not only able to share their culture with foreign students, but also those of the foreign students.
  • Improved Communication and Language Skills – While interacting with foreign students, U.S. students are more likely to learn a foreign language and improve their communication skills, while helping foreign students improve their English skills and understanding.
  • Increased Work Abroad Opportunities – U.S. students will find, once they start their careers, they have better opportunities for working abroad.
  • Better Appreciation for Multicultural Arts – Those willing to break down the barriers between cultures tend to develop an interest in foreign arts, literature, and films.
  • Improved Critical Thinking – Both foreign students and American students that interact with each other at school are more proficient at critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Lifelong Friendships – The bonds created at school between foreign and American students last a lifetime.

To learn more about the multicultural opportunities and career training programs available at our campuses, contact Computer Systems Institute at 1-888-652-2494 today!

Practical Skills You Need to Crush the Competition in the American Job Market

The job markets in the United States are somewhat different from what you may expect in your home country. Most Americans realize today there is little differentiation between most brands and the quality of their products or services. The key distinction comes down to the type of customer service the business offers.

If the business has impeccable customer service or specific things about their customer service, like rewards programs or other marketing incentives, these do matter greatly. In fact, businesses that provide outstanding customer service experiences are crushing their competition in the American job market.
Customer Service Communication Skills Training

It does not matter how much business training you have unless you also have had proper customer service skills training. Various service orientation skills are going to carry more weight in the coming years, as automation and robotics continue to expand, such as:

  • Listening
  • Communicating
  • Being able to empathize with a customer
  • Being able to ask probing questions
  • Politeness
  • A general sense of concern

These skills are vital, as robots and computers cannot read a person’s mind or understand what they are feeling. Human interactions are still going to be an essential part of day-to-day operations in job markets, so having the right practical skills can make the difference between being offered a job and not.

For additional information about customer service and practical skills training programs, please feel free to contact Computer Systems Institute at 1-888-652-2494 today!

Why is the Cover Letter So Important?

By Snezana Stojilkovic; Chicago, Illinois
Cover Letter ImportanceAlthough many employers don’t ask for a cover letter when they advertise a job opening, it is very important that you understand why you should write one, or at least make sure that your email contains an explanation why they should hire you, and not some of the other 10 or more candidates.

Imagine you were the business owner, and you want your company to grow. You started from the scratch, worked 60 hours a week, no day off, had one assistant at first, then another one, and slowly you got to the point you have 10 or more employees. Now, you can’t handle the volume of business so you have to hire someone to help you out. But, of course, you don’t want just anyone, right? That person should be perfect. That should be someone who would be a part of your team, qualified, or at least ready to learn. You are going to explain in detail what qualifications and background your candidate has to have, what job responsibilities he will have, and what benefits come with the job.

The job position has been posted on different websites for a couple of days and your inbox started to filling out with applications and resumes. What do you do?

I assume that you would give it a fair shot and open each email you had received. That is the very first test your candidates must pass: if the email is poorly written, there is no way that you are going to waste your time and read the rest.

For example:

Hi, I wanted to apply for job. I am a good worker. I can start ASAP. Call me any time.

No, you definitely are not going to hire the person that wrote this. Forget about it. The email needs to look and sound professional. For example:

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am interested in applying for a ……….. position that you advertised on ………..You can find my resume and cover letter attached.
If interested, please, give me a call at your earliest convenience. My phone number is ———–.


So, you read all resumes, and maybe you already saw something interesting, but do you actually know anything about the people that wrote those resumes, besides where they worked before and for how long? No, right? Cool, you know that Jennifer graduated from DePaul, had 4 jobs so far, all same position. Was she any good at them? Did she like those jobs, or she couldn’t find anything else at the time?

Would you like to have a feeling that you know these people, who they are, what motivate them, what kind of workplace they prefer, what they are good at, what hobbies do they have, etc.? I bet you do.

Just like any other boss-employer. That’s why cover letters are essential for landing a job interview. That’s where you as a candidate can show who you are, what can you give even without experience! Tell your story, again. Bigger this time.

Now that in this case you were an actual employer, and you had the chance to hire someone, or at least to call for a meeting in person, I am asking you: would you choose a candidate with just a resume and no clue whatsoever about his personality, or someone who decided to spend extra time to find out more about your company (don’t forget how hard you had to work for that and how much the company means to you) and to show you a piece of his personality? Can you imagine that person as a part of your team already?

Just recently I was browsing a Craigslist when I found this ad: Open Call This Week

I would say that this ad was a little too much for me, but it really shows you how important the cover letter is. Sometimes, the employer will tell you what he expects to see in a cover letter, just like in this example, sometimes you have to figure that out on your own.

One more thing, your writing style can tell a lot about you, positive or negative. Is it funny, sterile, boring, interesting, concise, relevant, etc.? Don’t get upset, different positions requires different styles, one letter can be a masterpiece for one boss, but for another it could be a nightmare, and you could end up on a blacklist 🙂 Jokes aside, you can adjust your style, as long as you know who you are writing for.

So, even if you don’t see that cover letter is required, you should write one. You will increase your chances for getting a phone call, and believe me, if you do it right you will be well prepared for it. How to write a cover letter that will buy you a ticket to the show is something we will learn next time. Stay tuned.

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Snezana Stojilkovic: From New Immigrant to First Job: Resume is Your Story, Learn How to Tell It