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International Virginia Tech student shares challenges in U.S. job search

‘I started to have a community here’

One international Hokie is experiencing challenges amid post-grad life during a pandemic.

BLACKBURG, Va – With Virginia Tech winter commencement Friday, most graduates are already well into their post-grad job search, but one international student is facing more challenges than others.

Jon Labatut left his home in France to study engineering at Virginia Tech in hopes of expanding his horizons.

“I started to have a community here, I have a girlfriend, have some friends, I have...a group of people that is kind of hard to leave,” Labatut said.

He wanted to stay in the United States after getting his degree establishing a life here, but after talking with other French engineers, he soon realized there would be a long list of challenges.

“They told me that...companies are...freezing everything for now because they’re waiting to develop and they’re waiting to start large programs, and in the meantime, they can’t hire people,” Labatut said.

While Labatut could apply for an Optical Practical Training or OPT which would allow him to stay in the u-s, there just aren’t open jobs in his field.

He’s happy he got the chance to experience the United States and hopes to return in the future.

“It’s pretty hard to leave now...Personally I think building relationships in the U.S. is long process you takes time to get close to people and it takes time to create this group, and leaving now that it’s done is hard. You put so much effort into it,” Labatut said.

Virginia Tech’s online commencement starts Friday at 6:15 p.m.

About the Author:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.