Bound for Belgium

Computer science major lands professional internship through international nonprofit

| Author: Gary H. Piatek

Fueled by a passion for travel, Dorien Smith, a Central Michigan University junior from Sterling Heights, Michigan, majoring in computer science and minoring in mathematics, was investigating possible study abroad possibilities for summer semester.

“CMU makes it pretty easy to study abroad,” he said. “It does a great job of trying to push students to go beyond the regular coursework.

“I studied abroad the summer of 2017 in Japan, I really liked going somewhere completely different from what I was used to. I wanted to have another internship this summer, and I wanted to go somewhere abroad at least one more time before I graduate.”

After meeting with a study abroad advisor, Smith learned about the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience Association. IAESTE is a nonprofit association that brings together more than 4,000 students, 3,000 employers and 1,000 academic institutions for professional internships abroad, social and intercultural programs, and international networking in more than 80 countries.

With only 50-75 internships available worldwide each year, the competition is intense.

“They told me it was pretty rigorous, and I was like, all right, I’ll try it,” Smith said.

He sent in his resume and was invited to come in for an interview. “Then suddenly I was told I had been nominated for a position.”

Smith was placed with Inmanta, a technology and solutions provider in the telecommunications industry, based in Belgium.

“They have this virtual lab system that they use to test products before they push them out to the customers, so I’ll be doing some work on their virtual lab environment, basically software engineering on where they do their simulations and tests,” Smith said.

“When I worked on campus, we had a rudimentary version of that through our active directory. It’s pretty much just like a virtual computer inside of a network. Conceptually, it’s all the same, so I’m going to be programming on that.

“My goal is job experience and to make the connections to allow me to do something like this indefinitely.”

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