For Jobs, Some Stay, Some Go

Staying in Berkeley means more freshman-infested frat parties and moving back home means a 10:00 p.m. curfew. What now?

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Senior Anna Callahan is one student amongst the five percent of new graduates who will work abroad after graduation. Callahan, a sociology major, will be working with the PeaceCorps in Africa for two years starting this September. Callahan says that although many of her friends are choosing to stay in the Bay Area after graduation, she hopes that her decision will lead to many new experiences.

"I think I'll grow a lot more from a foreign experience than I would from having a comfortable Bay Area job," she said through email. "Most of my friends are staying really local and working at the same kind of companies our parents work for. They all have expressed a lot of interest in my plans because they are so different from their own."

According to a 2007 Career Center survey, 62 percent of graduating seniors chose to stay in the Bay Area after graduation, while eight percent relocated to other areas of Northern California, eight percent moved to the Los Angeles are, and six percent moved to other areas of Southern California. About 11 percent of graduating seniors relocated to other states and five percent moved abroad.

Data for the class of 2008 is not yet available because seniors are still

being surveyed on their plans, but Marianne Callum, special projects coordinator for the center, said officials do not expect the final results to vary in any significant way from those of 2007.

Suzanne Helbig, marketing coordinator for the center, said many students choose to stay in the Bay Area because it is easier to find a job with the local connections they formed while attending UC Berkeley.

"Over the course of their college careers, students develop networks and have internships with companies in the Bay Area," she said. "According to our statistics, those are two of the most important factors that lead to getting a job. A lot of (students) have just fallen in love with the Bay Area and don't want to leave. We have a diverse group of employers; there are lots of opportunities here."

However, there are also many reasons why students want to leave the Bay Area in search of work.

Senior Diana Osuna said she has better connections at home near San Diego that may help her get a substitute teaching job while she is earning her certification.

"I know people in the school districts, so that will help," she said. "Most of my friends are going back home. The ones that are staying are staying because they have an internship or a job already. Also it's really expensive to live here; it's cheaper to live wherever you're from."

For Callahan, leaving the Bay Area to work for the PeaceCorps may be the only chance she has to do something of that nature.

"The more I think about it, the more I really want to do it," she said. "I feel that if I have any opportunity in my life to do something crazy- like living in a thatched-roof hut and eating little else but rice- now is that time. I'm super healthy and I have no obligations to my own family or children to hold me back."

Helbig said no matter where students end up after graduation, a degree from UC Berkeley will give them an advantage.

"I think a degree from Berkeley and a good experience while you're in college can take you anywhere," she said.


Contact Amy Brooks at [email protected]

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