How to Find a U.S. Internship if you are a Foreign Student

Fri, Aug 6, 2010

Internship Information

Each year, foreign students come into the U.S. to work and study. Maybe you are already studying in the U.S. and are looking to intern at an American company.  Perhaps you live overseas and want to experience an internship in the U.S.  Either way, there are plenty of resources to help you break into the internship market.

Exchange Programs & Work Visas

1.  To intern in the U.S., you’ll need an H-1B Non-Immigrant work visa. Employers petition on your behalf.

2.  Check out the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

  • This site offers numerous resources for students looking to study in America.  One program, the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program, offers scholarships to undergrads to spend a semester or a year at U.S. colleges, complete with internship and community service opportunities.

Finding a Placement

1. Your university is the best resource for internships in the U.S.  Talk to a career counselor about placement opportunities.

  • It’s also a good idea to reach out to students from your university who already interned in the U.S. They can give you valuable information for your search.

2.  The website CollegeGrad reveals which companies are projected to hire the most interns. Of course, each company has its own policy for hiring foreign-born interns, but this is a good place to look.

3.  InternAbroad is a portal for companies that offer internship opportunities to foreign students.

  • Internships are available in industries ranging from accounting to zoology with dozens of choices in between. The site also has a search function if you need affordable, low-key housing.

Living and Working in the U.S.

Getting here is only the beginning, housing is another key ingredient of your U.S. internship.

1.  If you’re doing an exchange program with an American university, you can work with them to secure somewhere to stay.

  • If you want to find your own place, Craigslist is a good place to look for apartments to sublets and other temporary housing.
  • Again, former interns are a good source of information about which neighborhoods are ideal places to live.

2.  Once you are in the U.S., you’ll need a way to get around.

  • Large cities have public transit systems, which are generally affordable and efficient.
  • If you choose to drive, your foreign license is good in most states for up to one year. However, many rental car companies don’t rent to customers under age 21, so driving might not be an option.
  • Walking and bicycling are other low-cost ways to get around.

Hopefully you’ve got enough information here to start your U.S. internships search, and I wish you the best of luck!

By Danielle Bullen. Danielle is a writer and resident of the Philadelphia area. She can be reached at Daniellebullen@comcast.net.

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