By Sumeye Dalkilinc
Massachusetts promises the best in the world in terms of education, but it is also an important address for international professional employees with its good institutions and companies in other industries.
Especially after studying a bachelor’s degree in her own country, many foreigners who want to gain professional work experience in the USA first pierce here through master or doctorate, then step into professional business life with government’s Optional Practical Training program (OPT).
Between 2004 and 2016, nearly 1.5 million foreign graduates of U.S. colleges and universities obtained authorization to remain and work in the U.S. through the federal government’s OPT, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Students from Turkey made up 19,500 of all OPT participants between 2004 and 2016.
Under the OPT, foreign students who stay to work in the United States can search for a job anywhere in the country. As a result, foreign student graduates in the OPT program can move from the metro area of their school and pursue work elsewhere. Overall, large metro areas retained many of the students who attended schools in the area. These same large metros were also top relocation destinations for many foreign graduates from other metros.
The New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area had the largest cumulative population of OPT participants (218,400). That was followed by the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim (103,600) and Boston-Cambridge-Newton metro areas (73,000).
Tuba Kaplan is one of these people who graduated with the honors of Johnson & Wales University, one of the best cooking schools in the world.
After graduating from school, Kaplan started her professional career in the USA with OPT. However, she did not want to work in any restaurant after school. Kaplan wanted to make a start in the best place where she could introduce Turkish cuisine to the world.
“Ana went to Gaziantep, Turkey years ago, and felt in love with Turkish flavor,” says Kaplan. “After a while, she has opened her restaurant, Oleana, in Boston, dominated by the Turkish interpretation.”
The school that she graduated is in Rhode Island. That state also has so many great restaurants. However, combining Turkish tastes with American and French interpretation, Oleana was the perfect place for Kaplan.
“It was my willing that the natives taste Turkish food, but I did not want to do this in a Turkish restaurant. Ana is a native and falls in love with Turkish food. So, the restaurant Oleana was exactly where I wanted to work,” says Kaplan. “Boston provides me the best place to work, that is why I am here.”
Gizem Karsli Uzunbas is also one of the employees who prefer Massachusetts for professional life.
She, who works as a research scientist on cancer studies at the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a biomedical and genomic research center, preferred Boston to live because she found all she was looking for in this institution.
Uzunbas comes from an academic background and has never worked in industry before. However, while looking for a job after post-doctoral employment, she also applied to industrial companies to gain more different experiences. But she couldn’t decide which one to choose between.
“But the Broad Institute is in an intermediate position. It has a good academic structure and collaborates with industrial organizations,” says she.
For example, Uzunbas is currently developing drugs for a specific cancer patient community with a pharmaceutical company within the institute. “This is very important for me. Because this is an institute where I can experience all kinds of steps that can take this from the academic field and turn it into a product,” says Uzunbas and adds: “Naturally, the goal in my life and Broad’s intermediate position were very effective on my decision.”
The well-trained human resource in the state was another factor that attracted Uzunbas in moving to Boston. “Many people who have done very enlightening studies in many developments in our field in recent years are working here,” she says. “This allows you to ask the people who have worked on this job, the questions you will be asking on the smallest issue. This also provides collaboration and the opportunity to work with other people. Having features that I cannot find elsewhere was very effective in my selection of this place.”
The speed was another factor that increased the motivation of Uzunbas. “We have the opportunity to do many things faster in America,” says she, the doctor moved to the United States from Turkey in 2009 and the United States, especially in Boston noted that the promised speed in the field of research.
“If we could reach a laboratory material here in one-two days, we could reach it there in one-two months. These are important things. Working it in such an environment speeds you two times,” says Uzunbas.
She also states that America is a good country to see and appreciate the work done. “In other words, it is a country that deserves a rightful person. So as long as you do your job, Harvard and MIT are accessible. And there are many successful Turks here,” says she.
Kaan Yuksel who is a senior software engineer at Broad Institute is one of those who chose Boston for living because it has many advantages.
Yuksel came to the USA after graduating from the Middle East Technical University (METU) which is one of Turkey’s top universities to study at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). Yuksel chose Massachusetts to move because one of WPI’s professors graduated from METU at that school and offered a scholarship to Yuksel.
However, over time, he realized the advantages of the state. “I don’t know if there is a better place here academically.” He said and added: “I have been working in the biotech field for the last 6 years. Around Kendal Square, it is normal to talk to people with a Ph.D. degree because everyone has a Ph.D. degree. These were things that used to surprise us, but not anymore. I work for the Broad Institute and it’s a great place as a science. ”
According to Yuksel, Massachusetts is also a nice place to live outside of job opportunities. Moreover, it is given real value to people in Massachusetts and this positively affects foreigners who want to live here.
“It is a wonderful thing when you see a person who smiles at you when you take a walk. Or seeing a person who holds the door and open it for you. Maybe you will not see again that person in your life,” says Yuksel.
Yuksel adds that Boston is a liberal place and this brings an important advantage. “They don’t look at your title or where you came from. These are important things. So the professionalism here is very advanced and it will be good for the future to experience it,” says Yuksel.