Fordham IT Hosts Student Interns from Ateneo de Manila University

HDR Fordham IT Interns

John Carlo Serdanco, Meiren Park, and Erika F. Cerenzo

This summer, Meiren Park, an undergraduate at Fordham University and a communications intern for Fordham IT, interviewed two undergraduate students visiting from Ateneo de Manila University, in the Philippines.

What year are you in? Your school, program of study? What about your career plans?
Carlo: We are incoming seniors. I study computer science at Ateneo de Manila University. After school, I might want to own part of a business. I’m also thinking of going into teaching computer science

Erika: I am currently a senior at Ateneo de Manila University. I study computer science, but my specialization is in interactive multimedia, so I develop applications and games. I was planning on doing further studies, like a master’s degree, but I figured I could go out and take a job first for a couple of years. If I get motivated to study again, I’ll go back for a master’s.

What’s a regular day like at Fordham IT?
Carlo: If I’ve been given work, I’ll start working on it, or study it. If I’m done, I’ll contact the person who’s teaching me for more work. My supervisor is Alex Demoleas.

Erika: Every day is different for me. Charles Sanson is my supervisor, and I get to work with different people in his team, such as Bobby Espiritu. Everyone here is nice and accommodating, so I learn new stuff every day. Thankfully, I don’t do the same thing, it would be boring.

What are some challenges you’ve encountered while working here?
Carlo: When I first arrived at Fordham IT, I was scared because I’m a foreigner. Here at work some of things the IT staff is teaching me are new. I’m not usually a web service programmer, but I’ve been introduced to developing web services. It uses a different language, but it’s based on the computer language I already know. So I learned pretty quickly. Even so, it was an intense first week.

Erika: I’m a computer science student, but as I’ve told you, my specialization is in interactive multimedia. I’m working in the department for Internet services. I don’t have any background in enterprise or in business systems and intelligence. That poses a challenge for me, but the trick is to have an open mind. I adapt and learn. The team does not overwhelm me with new stuff every day. Fordham IT staff have been really helpful.

How will working at Fordham IT help you at school and your future career?
Carlo: At my university we usually use the same program language. I learned C++ and use the most up-to-date versions. I never thought that once we’re in the job world, everyone would use a different version. That’s the case here. But I have to adapt, so it’s more like an experience of the challenges I might encounter in a real job setting. It’s not always going to be a walk in the park. Sometimes you have to cross some mountains.

Erika: Being an intern with Fordham IT is a good opportunity to learn stuff about my major and what I can do when I graduate. I will definitely use the things I’ve learned working at Fordham IT in the job world. Coming to Fordham and to New York City has been a big experience for me. I’ve never been away from my family that long. This experience teaches me to be independent and do stuff on my own. Being here alone has changed me for the better.

What strengths are you bringing to Fordham IT?
Carlo: I love problem solving. That’s a strength I bring to Fordham IT. Also, I have time management skills. And, I’m really quick to learn something new, especially if it interests me and helps me accomplish my goals.

Erika: First and foremost, my background in computer science aligns with the work I’m doing here. I also like engaging in discussions and dialogues with people. It’s also a strength that I come from a different culture and place. I learn from Fordham IT staff, and I hope–I hope–they learn from me, too. They learn about my culture, and I learn about their culture. We exchange ideas. Another strength is that I’m open to what others say.

What advice would you give to international students coming to the US for the first time to work for Fordham IT?
: It’s a culture shock if it’s your first time here. So I guess it’s “don’t let the shock get to you,” especially if you’ve been sheltered. If you’re not interested in getting into a new space or area, you won’t know what to do. Don’t let how they do things here in America scare you. That’s a start. If you’re working and you have problems, ask your supervisor for help. Good communication is key.

Erika: Expect to be surprised every day. You can be let down or overwhelmed by the culture shock. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. The culture is surprising sometimes, but if you’re open, it makes it easier to settle in. As I mentioned before, I like exchanging ideas with people. Openness is the best thing you can have. Be prepared for anything. Fortunately, Fordham IT staff are nice, so it’s easy to communicate with them.

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