How to Get an Internship in USA for International Students?

5 minute read
How to get an Internship in USA for International Students

Excellence in education and the best employment opportunities attract international students to choose the USA over other countries in the world as their study-abroad destination. For an international student, an internship in the United States of America is the biggest advantage of studying. Indeed the cumbersome process from finding to applying and then getting selected is annoying, but in the end, the whole activity is worth it. Students’ first internship is the foundation for their resume and future career experience.  Compared to graduates with relevant exposure to internships have better chances to get into jobs than those without internship experience. So, if you are looking to know about internships in the USA for international students then keep reading this article.

Internship in USA

As per the estimation of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), graduates with internship experience are 18-20% more likely to get a working opportunity in the USA as compared to those who don’t have internship experience. For the USA, a student study visa outlines the required terms and conditions for both employment and internship. It is most important to know what your study visa allows and what it doesn’t regarding applying for the internship. It should be noted that each student study visa has its own specific prescribed rules related to internship conditions. An internship in the USA is a great step which helps to kickstart one career in the land of opportunities.

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How to Get an Internship in the USA?

Getting an internship opportunity in the USA entirely depends on the type of US study visa that the student is holding. 

F-1 Visa Students 

Students with an F-1 visa are eligible for internships. It allows international candidates to apply for the internship program with the assistance of the university.  Even in the USA, in some courses or programs internship is mandatory. It is part of the student’s curriculum in the form of Curricular Practical Training (CPT). The F-1 visa limits student working hours to a maximum of 20 hours per week to work on campus. Only after approval from the university student can work off campus, in the case of the CPT program, student internship must relate to the degree program and the applicant must have successfully completed the first year at the university. To avail of the internship student should obtain an updated I-20 form to begin an internship in America. After completion of their degree program student in the USA can apply for Optical Practical Training (OPT) which allows them to work full-time in the USA for up to 12 months after approval from US Citizen and Immigration Services. For the STEM courses, the duration of OPT increases up to additional 2 years.

J-1 Visa Students

J-1 visa holders students visit the USA for work or study-based student exchange programs. It is approved by the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Unlike F-1 visa holders, J-1 visa holders cannot apply for Optical Practical Training (OPT). J-1 visa holders can apply for Academic Training (AT) in their related field after graduation for up to 18 months. For the role of internship majority of the businesses demands either to enrol in a college or university or have graduated in the last 12 months. 

Additional Supporting Factors

Getting an internship opportunity is really a challenging task for both F-1 and J-1 visa holders students. To make it confirm or increase the possibilities of internship offers, students also need to work on the following things simultaneously.

Career Action Plan

The Career Action Plan of the students contains a list of their professional goals with detailed steps to achieve those goals. Student career action plans help them to identify their strength,  weakness, work experiences professional interest or choices. With the career action plan, students need to prepare a detailed list of all the steps to follow during the internship search. Timely preparation and effective execution of the plans help students to schedule their time better to maintain a balance with studies alongside internship search activity.

US Resume

A good career action plan guide students to figure out his/her positive and negative trait which can be used while drafting the US resume. Students must be surprised what is the meaning of  ‘US’ resume. The majority of the universities in the USA provide support to the students through resources and workshops to help them a unique resume that is different from other countries. In the US resume, students are not required to add their photograph and marital status. Most US resumes are complete in one page only.

Cover Letter 

For an internship in the USA a cover letter act as an important document which is submitted along with the student’s resume. The cover letter usually includes a brief overview of the applicant’s work history, skills, interest area and any special talent. The cover letter should be aligned with the profile student applying so it is expected for the student to mention their qualifications and personal qualities outlined with the roles and responsibilities. An applicant should mention below points while drafting the cover letter:

  • A clear introduction
  • Mention skills and qualifications
  • Address to the hiring manager 
  • List employer details 
  • Add an effective conclusion

Based on the above information, it is concluded that getting an internship in the USA is very important for the career growth of international students. But at the same time, it is not an easy task to achieve. It totally depends upon the study visa student is holding and some other additional factors also play an important role like a career action plan, resume and cover letter. It is advised to the applicant that they should be well prepared on time before applying for the internship. 

If you want to get into your dream course in a high-ranked global university, you’ll need more than just good grades; you’ll also need flawless application because the competition is fierce. You may enlist the assistance of Leverage Edu specialists to assist you with the application process so you can realise your goals. Call us immediately at 1800 57 2000 for a free 30-minute counselling session.

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