Employment for International Students
F-1 students may not work off-campus during the first academic year, but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions. There are various programs available for F-1 students to seek off-campus employment, after the first academic year. F-1 students may engage in three types of off-campus employment, after they have been studying for one academic year. These three types of employment are:
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-completion)
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT)
(Source uscis.gov )
Tips for International Students Seeking Internships:
Define your Internship:
Now that you know that you are ready for an internship, seek assistance from the Career Center/your Academic Advisor to discuss resources to find the right internship for you. Keep in mind that if you are seeking an internship under CPT, you are eligible to get paid. You have to make sure that the internship you are seeking is related to your major and you can enroll in it for academic credit. You can get an unpaid internship for which CPT is not required. Also, try to figure out which internship would be logistically feasible for you. Your International Students Advisor will help you navigate the technicalities of USCUS guidelines. Please follow up with your ISC to make sure you are fulfilling all the technicalities to be in F1 status.
Gather application material:
As an international student, you may not have had a chance to gather employment related experience to build a solid resume. Hence, planning ahead and getting involved in student activities is very important to enhance communication skills and understand American work culture. Gather together a work portfolio, writing samples etc.
Plan, Practice and Execute:
Target a geographical area where you will be seeking an internship. Find out from college resources who might be working in the company you are targeting. There is nothing better than having a mentor when you start your internship. Practice interviewing skills and presentation skills. Follow proper etiquette and follow up with the people you come in contact with. Punctuality and flexibility will go far.