If you are interested in studying in the USA you are already planning for a global career. Many international students study in the US to get experience working in US companies. When you study as an international student you have the opportunity to participate in internships. Internships for international students are a strong foundation for an international career.

As you explore your list of universities in the USA for international students, pay attention to how those schools prepare you for a career. Start by creating a list of questions to ask your university admissions representatives about career help for international students. Below are four questions to help you learn how American universities help international students achieve their career goals.

An introduction to career services

Most US campuses have a career services office. In the US career services is not a placement service. Career services staff do not introduce you to contacts or guarantee you a job. Instead career services offers professional training to help you secure internships and full time jobs. Career services facilitates opportunities to connect you with employers. Some employers visit campus for presentations, interviews, and career fairs. Career services teaches you how to interact with employers. Also, they will help you understand American business culture. Think of your career services office as a professional training department. Their work helps you improve your professionalism. They will help you learn the global business skills you need to secure an US internship.

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Question 1: “How does career services help international students in their internship search?”

Every school has resources to help you succeed in your internship search. From workshops to individual career coaching, your target school will offer internship and job search support. However,  these resources differ between schools. Some schools have a career coach dedicated to international students. Other schools have a list of companies that have hired international students in the past. Ask the question above to ensure you know what your school offers international students.

Question 2: “What are examples of internships international students have completed in this program?”

This question is a follow up to the first question. Also, it prepares you for an internship search. Knowing which internships are common for your study program helps you start your internship search early. The earlier you start your internship search, the more likely you will get the internship you want. Ask if the career services office can provide a list of companies that international students have interned in.

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Question 3: “Are there international student alumni that I can connect with before I arrive on campus?” 

Before you study in the US, connect with former international students from a university you want to attend. These graduates are known as alumni. Talking to alumni is a good way to learn about their experience looking for a internship in the US. Ask your admissions representative if you they can connect you to a recent international student graduate. When you talk to the graduate, ask about their internship and job search experience. Then ask international student alumni for advice. Ask to stay connected. This is good practice for your future job search as you will be expected to engage with international alumni as part of your US or international job search.

Question 4: “Where do international students work after graduation?”

Getting a work visa to stay long-term in the US after graduation is difficult for international students. Most international students return home after their studies because they can’t find companies that sponsor international students. However, some international students are successful. Learn which programs have good outcomes for international students based on your career goals. If a university representative doesn’t have this information ask to speak with career services. Additionally, some programs like MBA programs produce employment outcome reports. Sometimes are often available on the career services website. If you can’t find one, ask your admissions representative for an employment outcome report.

Career Resources for International Students Who Study in the US

The internship search for international students in the US is very competitive.

Get ahead of your competition with this online course: an Introduction to the US Internship Search. This course is designed for future international students. If you’ve been accepted into a US university, learn everything you can about the internship process before you arrive. The course is taught by a former Yale School of Management MBA career advisor. You’ll learn:

  • How to write American resumes
  • What US employers want from job seekers
  • Timelines for recruiting
  • Vocabulary for the search
  • Cultural challenges
  • How to find companies that sponsor H1B
  • Most common ways students get hired in the US

Start learning before you arrive on campus. 
How to get a US internship
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