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As an international students at Macalester, you’ll have special concerns about career options and working in the U.S. or back home. Here are some tips:
- Gain experiential learning through working, volunteering, internships and student involvement.
- When looking for potential employment, remember that you have unique assets in addition to your academic training. Promote skills including your multilingual abilities, adaptability, problem solving, unique background, and professional experience.
- Familiarize yourself with immigration processes related to your student visa. Practice and develop skills in describing pertinent visa aspects with employers.
- Ask for advice and help. Fellow international students who have gained some experience with the U.S. job market may be able to help you in your search.
- While a degree-seeking student, you may be eligible for internships, research positions, or other employment opportunities under certain conditions related to your studies. In most cases, after graduation, you may be eligible for 12 months of practical training (and an additional 24 months for those in certain STEM majors).
If you are invited to interview, your primary task is to convince the employer that you are an ideal candidate for the position being offered. As an international student, you can use your unique experiences to demonstrate desired skills. To leave one’s home country to go study in a different culture is not easy. It shows that you enjoy challenges, and are resilient, open-minded and flexible. Use the fact that you are international to your advantage.
To be eligible for any off-campus employment, paid or unpaid (e.g. internship, job, fellowship, or research position), a student in F-1 visa status must secure Curricular Practical Training (CPT) employment authorization from International Student Programs (ISP) before starting their position. Review Registering an Internship for Credit for more information on how to complete the internship registration process.
About Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- CPT is an authorization for a paid or unpaid internship, job, fellowship, or research position for which you are receiving credit in your intended or declared major.
- CPT is only available after the end of your first academic year and before you graduate.
- You must re-apply for CPT before every internship (paid or unpaid).
- There is no limit to part-time CPT (less than 20 hours/week). However, a student who does 12 months of full-time CPT forfeits all OPT eligibility. (Don’t worry; it is unusual to do 12 months of full time CPT.)
- CPT should be done in coordination with the director of academic internships, a faculty sponsor in your major, and the internship site.
- CPT employment authorization, along with the necessary course registration, is required for each term in which you complete an internship, job, fellowship, or research position.
- One of the trickiest parts of CPT is that the start date and end date of each authorization should generally coincide with Fall Term, J-Term, Spring Term, or Summer Term. For example, if you have a wonderful opportunity in October for an internship starting in the middle of the semester, it is not possible to get authorization.
- In order to grant CPT authorization, International Student Programs must have evidence that the work is directly related to the student’s major and will contribute to their educational experience in that major.
International students completing a paid or unpaid summer internship must register it for one academic credit, and will be enrolled in our tuition fee waiver program. This waiver program helps international students qualify for CPT without personal cost.
Contact Kate Larson at email@example.com or 651.696.6251 for details.
For DHS applications and immigration-related questions, contact International Student Programs (ISP) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651.696.6992.