How a French Student Found a U.S. Internship – Part 1

Mon, Jan 3, 2011

Internship Information

My name is Erden, I’m a 22 year old French student and I’m going to share with you my internship search experience. This is fairly long so I’ll be telling my story in two separate posts.

There are quite a few administrative procedures  (sometimes very complicated), which a European student has to complete to find an internship in the United States. If you are student in search of an international internship, hang on! It requires patience and courage! Certain points are specific to my personal experience and here are the details. I began my internship at A2X Consulting, based in New Jersey, in October 2010 and will be there until July 2011. It is about a year-off before I begin my 5th and final year of college in France, my native country.

Before the internship

You have to know that traveling to the United States is expensive. It is better to find a company, which pays well, or to save up before searching for an internship in the U.S.! Begin your search as soon as possible; indeed research for an internship requires time and self-investment. Do not expect to find an internship in two weeks. The methods are diverse and varied. Some people have connections or a family with an important network, which can help to obtain an interview. Others have only their resume and cover letter. Expect to send your information to at least ten companies before having an answer, which, do not forget, can be negative!

For my part, I looked for almost 3 months for an internship in the United States and still found nothing of interest. I thus had to contact a Web-based internship search company for help. This company helps you find an internship in your area of interest, and in most parts of the U.S.  It guarantees you a result within 3 months, and it costs nearly $2,000. I warned you, an internship in the USA is expensive! The advantage of this company is that it takes care of almost all the administrative procedures (which are really complicated!) such as the Visa, SEVIS fees, Internship placement plan, and DS-2019. Here is the link for  the company: www.adouti.com.

Having completed  all these steps, at last I was able to schedule a meeting  at the US embassy in Paris. The procedure of request for an American Visa is  expensive and complicated.

Below are some documents that you will need to bring:

  • The proof that you earned a good score at an English recognized test (such as the TOEFL, TOEIC, GMAT)
  • A DS-2019 form with an authorized organization
  • Complete an interview with this organization
  • Pay some fees and fill out electronic forms
  • 2 pictures
  • ID card
  • A bank statement
  • A document proving you will leave the U.S. at the end of your internship
  • A signed health insurance form, which respects the conditions strictly defined by the legislation of the visa J1

Finally, wait for the embassy to mail you back your passport and the visa. It’s kind of difficult isn’t it?

I received my visa only 2 days after my appointment and I have to admit that the embassy is rather fast for this kind of procedure.

Other internship preparations


Should you find an apartment before or after your arrival? It is a dilemma! And I am well placed to tell you about it. Where do you begin the search to find a place to live and a roommate? How much is it  going to cost? Here is my experience, and some answers. You can always find an apartment, or a roommate through the Internet on websites such as Craigslist or easyroomate.com. But isn’t it risky? How can you know if you will feel comfortable with a stranger, with whom you are going to share your everyday life?

I think that the best way is to contact some people via the Internet. Plan to line up between 5 and 10 apartments to look at after your arrival in the country. Meet your potential roommates face to face in the apartment you plan to share with them, and you will make a fast opinion of people with whom you want to live or not. During this time you can sleep in a hotel, a hostel or at your employer’s house if this last one agrees. Who is better armed to help you than a local inhabitant? I was lucky to sleep at my employer’s house for  almost 15 days (Thank you again Eric!). It was the required  time for the apartment that I had secured  to become available.

If you are not situated in a big city, plan a budget to rent a car to visit apartments. (International Driver’s License Required) Otherwise use bus, train and subway!

If this post interested you, stay tuned for more important internship information next week!

By Erden Celebi

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