Life in the United States
As an international student studying in the US, we understand that you have unique needs and may have questions about gaining experience during college and beyond graduation. At the Greene Center, we want to help you discover and explore your interests, and pursue opportunities throughout your undergraduate studies and after. Below are some questions that you may have regarding our services, the job and internship search, and working in the US or abroad. We have added some useful resources throughout, if you have questions about your needs or wish to talk further about any of the information, we recommend making an appointment with one of the Greene Center advisors.
There may be differences in the way that the US Resume and Cover Letter is formatted in comparison to the norms and styles of Resumes and Cover Letters in other countries.
You can find more information, including examples, on how to format your resume and cover letter in our Toolkit. Every year, we also offer the International Student Career Prep Series about the job search and interview process in the US, which also talks about how to create important documents such as the Resume and Cover Letter.
Gaining hands-on practical experience is a great way of understanding what interests you, gaining exposure to the workplace, and becoming a more competitive candidate for when you do apply to full-time positions. As an international student, it is possible to take advantage of these opportunities.
Un-Paid and Volunteer Work
International students can do volunteer work as well as un-paid work or internships without filing paperwork or changing status. It’s important to realize that any compensation, including paying for books, stipends, and gifts, is considered payment. You should always contact ISO to confirm if your work is truly un-paid or volunteer work.
On-Campus Student Employment
F-1 and J-1 students are eligible to work on-campus and you can work up to 20 hours per week just like any other student employee. Be sure to contact an International Student Advisor as well as the student employment coordinator to make sure that you have all of the required documentation filled out before you start working on campus.
If you are going to be paid through a career-related internship during your time as an undergraduate, you will need to file for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) if you are classified as F-1. If you are a J-1, you will need to file for Academic Training (AT). Visit the ISO’s employment page for more information regarding CPT and AT.
Beyond internships in the US, there are many options to do internships internationally. The Center for Education Abroad at the University of Rochester is partnered with a range of internship programs abroad and can help you locate internships in the area and location that you are interested in.
F-1 visa holders are eligible for Optional Practical Training period (OPT) that will allow you to work following graduation. Your job must be related to your degree, and require at least a bachelor’s degree. The OPT time frame varies depending on what major you graduate with. STEM field majors are eligible to up to 36 months of OPT, and non-STEM filed majors are eligible for up to 12 months of OPT. Learn more about which majors fall into the STEM field. To learn more about OPT, contact ISO and attend their OPT workshops.
J-1 students are eligible for up to a total of 18 months of Academic Training (AT) before and after graduation combined. You must have an offer letter from an employer to apply for AT, as well as a recommendation from your departmental academic advisor. Under AT, you are able to work and be paid by the employer who wrote the offer letter you submitted as part of your application, and your employment must be related to your degree. To learn more about AT, contact ISO.
There are several options for full-time work visas after you complete your degree. The most common is the H-1B visa, but there may be other options for you. Consult with ISO and/or an immigration attorney to fully understand your options.
Employers wishing to hire you full-time in the US following your graduation will need to file for an H-1B visa. H-1B visas are valid for three years, with the option to file an extension for a total of six years. You cannot file or pay for this yourself. The visa is sponsored by, and linked to, the specific company. There are costs for filing the paperwork and employers may be reluctant to take on this cost or may not fully understand how to properly hire an international student.
There is always the potential to speak to employers about sponsoring an H1B visa. Our International Student Employment page explains to employers how to hire international students. Familiarize yourself with the information in order to speak to potential employers about this and make an appointment with an adviser at the Greene Center to learn more about how to approach the topic.
myvisajobs.com shares information about US jobs and work visa database, including companies by state that sponsor visas.
Many of our students decide to go onto further education after completion of their degree. Whether you are interested in going on to a Master’s or PhD, or you have just completed your PhD and you wish to go on to Post-Doctoral studies, our advisors are happy to help you explore graduate program options in whichever area and field you are looking to pursue. Additionally, our Graduate School page includes resources for identifying and researching degree programs, the application process and cycle, and funding.
Whether you want to explore life in a country you have never been to or you wish to go back home, we can help with the job search, learning more about your chosen location, and becoming connected with UR alumni across the globe. Every country is unique in its job search and application process, you can meet with a Greene Center advisor to discuss your strategy for finding resources, information, and application of jobs outside of the US. Below are examples of different types of resources that may be useful to you when thinking about the job search abroad.
The Meliora Collective is an online network of UR alumni, students, parents, and friends across numerous countries that want to make meaningful connections for personal and professional exploration and growth.
CareerShift is a comprehensive job, internship and company search site that can help you find opportunities in the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK. You can make a free profile as a University of Rochester student.
Lockin China is a country specific resource for finding jobs, learning about top employers, preparing for the job seeking process, and labor market trends in China. You can make a free profile as a University of Rochester Student.
The Fellowships Office can talk to you about the different types of fellowships on offer internationally. Fellowships can include academic, research and work experiences.
Researching about life in other countries when doing a global job search is key. A good place to start is at the Global Engagement Office. Under the Research Your Destination Tab, log in to World Cue Trip Planning Tool with your Net ID to access up to date information on life across the globe, including information on Security, Health, Culture, Transportation, Legal, Financial, Environment and Language.
Beyond gaining internship and work experiences and fulfilling your degree requirements, there are other things that you can do to find out your interests, build your resume, and become career ready.
- Take a class such as CAS 104 ROC your life (+Your Career) and WRT 277 Communicating Your Professional Identity. These courses are focused on career development, exploration, and communication of the professional self.
- If you are a first-year student, US Life: Customs & Practices is a course specifically designed to explore campus, community and American culture, and enhance intercultural competence.
- Visit the Writing, Speaking and Argument Center, which can assist with writing, speaking and presenting skills.
- Practice your interview and networking skills with a Greene Center advisor.
- Join a student organization to become involved on campus and beyond and provide opportunities for leadership, help you make connections, and allow you to explore your interests.