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How can an international student get an internship in USA? Are companies interested in this?

I know that it is very hard to get a working visa, but, for example, you can volunteer easily. Can I reach to companies and workers to ask for a non-paid internship for summer, for example? Or is it illegal? Because I am interested more in experience rather than wage.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Marwa’s Answer

Hello, Maria First of all you have to Understand Visa Regulations to ensure that you are eligible to work in the U.S. as an international student. Most international students typically hold an F-1 visa, which allows for optional practical training (OPT) during or after completing their academic program. You may Utilize University Career Services many universities in the U.S. have dedicated career services that assist students in finding internships and jobs. Schedule appointments with career advisors, attend workshops and utilize the resources provided by your university. Build a Strong Resume and Cover Letter. Attend career fairs, networking events, and workshops both on and off campus. Networking is crucial in the U.S. job market, and it can help you establish connections with professionals in your field. You have to prepare for Interviews. Practice common interview questions, and be ready to discuss your experiences, skills, and why you are interested in the specific internship. Research the company beforehand to demonstrate your knowledge and interest. Then Apply to Internship Programs some organizations offer structured internship programs for international students to be Proactive. Make sure you understand the legal requirements related to work authorization, such as Optional Practical Training (OPT) regulations. Stay updated on any changes to immigration policies that may affect your ability to work as an international student. I hope you understand and best of luck for your future.
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Karin’s Answer

Hi Maria,

The visa type that you need depends if you are (or will be at the time of application) a student in the US or if you are a student in Russia coming to the US only for the internship (you find links to ESTA below).

If you are studying in Russia, you need a J1 visa since internships are considered work.

If you are a student in the US, you need an F1 visa which allows Extracurricular training (CPT) while you are a student and (OPT) Optional Practical Training after graduation.

I hope this helps! Good luck!

KP

Karin recommends the following next steps:

https://usa-esta.net/en/the-j1-visa-for-internship-in-the-united-states/
https://usa-esta.net/en/what-are-the-fifferences-between-the-j1-andf1-visa/
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Maria,

Here's a guide on how an international student can land an internship in the USA:

International students aiming for internships in the USA might face hurdles due to visa rules and work permit stipulations. However, there are several routes they can explore to secure internships:

1. University Career Services: Many American universities have dedicated career services departments that help students, including international ones, in securing internships and job placements. They often have ties with firms that are open to hiring international students.

2. Networking: Building a robust network can open doors to internship opportunities. International students can attend career fairs, networking events, and workshops to meet professionals in their chosen fields.

3. Online Job Boards and Internship Platforms: Websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Internships.com are tailored for students seeking internships and often list opportunities open to international students.

4. Direct Contact: International students can directly approach companies they wish to intern with. A well-drafted email expressing interest in an unpaid internship for experience can sometimes yield positive results.

5. Volunteering: Volunteering for a cause or organization can provide valuable experience without needing work authorization. It can also help build a resume and network.

6. Cultural Exchange Programs: Programs like the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program permit international students to take part in internships or training programs in the USA for a limited period.

Are firms interested in offering internships to international students?

Many American companies are keen on hiring international students for internships as they bring diverse viewpoints, skills, and experiences. However, firms may have specific policies or constraints regarding hiring international interns due to visa and work permit rules.

It's crucial for international students to research firms that have a track record of hiring international interns or have programs specifically designed for international applicants. A strong application, highlighting relevant skills and experiences, and effectively communicating the value you can bring to the firm can boost your chances of securing an internship.

In conclusion, while securing internships in the USA can be challenging for international students due to visa constraints, there are several strategies they can use to find worthwhile internship opportunities and gain practical experience in their chosen field.

Top 3 Authoritative Sources Used:

1. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): USCIS provides official information on visa rules and work permit requirements for international students seeking employment opportunities in the USA.

2. National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE): NACE provides resources and guidelines for students on finding internships and navigating the job market, including tips for international students.

3. EducationUSA: EducationUSA, a U.S. Department of State network, provides information on studying in the USA, including guidance on internships and work opportunities for international students.

These sources were used to ensure accurate and current information on securing internships as an international student in the USA.

Stay blessed!
James Constantine.
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Ike’s Answer

Finding an internship in the USA as an international student can be a rewarding experience, but it also requires careful planning, preparation, and research. Here are some steps and tips that can help you find an internship in the USA:

Understand the visa regulations: The first step is to make sure that you are eligible and authorized to work in the USA as an international student. Depending on your visa type and status, you may need to apply for a work permit or authorization, such as Optional Practical Training (OPT), Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F-1 visa holders, or Academic Training (AT) for J-1 visa holders. You can consult with your designated school official (DSO) or responsible officer (RO) to learn more about the visa regulations and requirements for internships in the USA.
Utilize your university resources: The second step is to take advantage of the resources and services that your university offers to help you find an internship in the USA. Many universities have career centers or advisors that can assist you with your internship search, application, and placement. They can also provide you with workshops, webinars, databases, and networks that can help you explore and connect with internship opportunities in the USA. You can also join or attend events and activities organized by your university or student organizations that are related to your field of interest or potential employers.
Build your resume and cover letter: The third step is to create and update your resume and cover letter to showcase your skills, qualifications, and achievements that are relevant and attractive for the internship that you are applying for. You should tailor your resume and cover letter to each specific internship position and employer, and use keywords and phrases that match the job description. You should also highlight your international background and experience, and how they can add value and diversity to the organization. You can use online tools or templates to help you write and format your resume and cover letter, or seek feedback and advice from your career center or mentors3.
Search and apply for internships: The fourth step is to look for and apply for internships that match your interests, goals, and qualifications. You can use various sources and methods to find internships in the USA, such as online platforms, databases, or directories, such as Indeed.com4, GoAbroad.com, or Internships.com; referrals or recommendations from your professors, peers, or alumni; or direct contact or outreach to potential employers or organizations. You should apply to as many internships as possible, and follow the application instructions and deadlines carefully. You should also prepare and submit all the required materials and documents, such as your transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, or portfolio.
Prepare for interviews: The fifth step is to get ready for the interview process and to demonstrate your knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for the internship. You should research the organization, the position, and the interviewer beforehand, and prepare relevant questions and answers. You should also practice your communication and presentation skills, and be ready to handle different types of interviews, such as phone, video, or in-person interviews. You should dress professionally, arrive on time, and be confident and courteous. You should also follow up with the interviewer after the interview, and thank them for their time and consideration.
These are some of the steps and tips that can help you find an internship in the USA as an international student. You can also find more information and resources on websites like StudyUSA.com, NAFSA.org, or InternationalStudent.com. I hope this helps you find your dream internship in the USA.
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Shea’s Answer

This is a great question and something very interesting to me as someone who leads an international mobility program at a very large organization. There are great responses to this question already, so I would add just one point. It is great that you are considering that an internship may be low or minimally paid, and I would also suggest that the employer will also be faced with numerous costs: immigration, flights, potentially housing, etc. I would suggest also making it clear that you would be willing to cover the cost of your flight, if that is an option for you.

I wish you the best!
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