You are a goal-driven student if you’re thinking about enrolling in internship programmes in the USA. Your qualifications in any sector will surely improve if you gain professional experience in the US. Being an au pair or studying abroad are not the only ways to deeply comprehend American culture.
International students can gain the same cultural grounding and professional development via internships in the United States for international students. In addition to running the largest economy in the world, the United States also runs a major sports business that has a global impact and owns one-third of the media in the world.
The names Hilton, Marriott, and Wyndham may come to mind when you consider some of the largest hotel chains. Undoubtedly, there are cutting-edge internship programs in the USA for international students at numerous well-known businesses and organisations, regardless of the field, you choose to work in.
Paid or Unpaid Internship in the USA?
Whether you’re looking for an internship in the United States before or after college, it’s imperative to give all of your options careful thought. You should consider a few things before applying, in addition to the business and the location of the position.
Your first internship is just as important as your first entry-level job, and it’s a great way to start working in the field or sector of your choice. It may be easier to be adaptable with your first opportunities, so take advantage of this opportunity to be as selective as you wish.
Take a moment to consider the advantages of both paid and unpaid internships before you begin your rushed application.
There are numerous paid internship possibilities in the USA.
The majority of internships today are paid, though this isn’t always the case. Thanks to websites like setlinn which has created a community for users to begin their search for internship programmes in the USA, whether they are paid or unpaid by asking questions and getting answers. Finding a paid internship programme is now easier than it has ever been.
Unpaid internships occasionally become available. Consider an unpaid internship, depending on the kind of experience you’re looking for. Less relevant experience will be gained from a paid internship unrelated to your career goals than from an unpaid internship with your ideal employer.
When to think about taking an unpaid internship in the USA
Even while they might not be as visible, an unpaid internship at the appropriate company can be quite beneficial.
The first advantage is reachability. In comparison to a paid internship, an unpaid internship will demand significantly less of its applicants. If you don’t yet have relevant experience, this could be a perfect alternative for you (yes, some paid internships require previous experience).
The second is the practical, low-risk setting. An unpaid internship by its very nature gives you the chance to develop and learn about the job and the industry without some of the demands of paid internship.
When to think about taking a paid internship in the USA
The first advantage is plain to see: money.
You’ll see that many internships in the United States opt to pay a wage or an hourly rate. However, you can also run across organisations that provide stipends on a weekly or monthly basis. The typical intern wage ranges from $15.67 to $19.51 per hour for freshmen and seniors in college. Furthermore, the number of hours may vary depending on the employer. You should plan on being accessible for at least 20 hours a week and possibly up to 40.
The second advantage, which can make a paid internship in the US preferable to an unpaid one, is the possibility of receiving a job offer. According to U.S. News, only 38% of unpaid internships resulted in employment offers, but this percentage rose to 65.4% for paid internships.
Understanding Visa Options for internship in the UK
You will probably enter the USA on a J-1 visa if your only purpose for travelling to the US is to undertake an internship program in the USA. However, there’s a strong possibility you’re on the F-1 visa if you’re already studying in the United States. Both are eligible for internship participation, although there are variances in the visas’ processing times and the kinds of internships you can do.
F1 Visa Students
If you are already in the country studying on an F-1 visa, there may be limitations on when and how many hours you can work, but you can typically participate in an unpaid internship or an internship on your campus without having to go through any additional hoops. Look for a part-time internship because you may typically work up to 20 hours each week.
Curricular practical training (CPT) and elective practical training are the two options for off-campus internships (OPT). For the CPT internship, which can be paid for, the student must receive some type of credit. Additionally, it must be pertinent to the student’s degree.
Before beginning their internship, CPT students must have finished their first year of college, apply for authorisation on their student visa, and get an updated I-20 form.
OPT internships can be completed while a student is still enrolled in school or after graduation; they are not required to be a part of their curriculum or to be directly relevant to their degree. The procedure is a little more challenging than CPT because U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services clearance for the internship is required. The internship may last up to 12 months at full time (or even longer, up to a 17-month extension! ), depending on your course of study, if you are in the STEM sector.
Despite the restrictions that may dance in their heads, there is little to no burden on the employer trying to hire an international intern in both of these situations. Be sure to mention this while you are interviewing to increase your chances of getting an offer.
Tip: Since it’s the only legal option for students to stay in the USA and hunt for work if they want to stay permanently, most opt to use their CPT internships while they’re still enrolled and save their OPT internships for after graduation.
J-1 Visa Students
Just as Optional Practical Training on the F-1 visa, which can occur before, during, or after the student’s academic programme, J-1 visa holders may participate in Academic Training for up to 18 months while enrolled in academic studies in the United States (again, there may be some limitations on hours when school is in session). The internship must have received written approval from the sponsoring institutions’ J-1 Responsible Officer and be closely relevant to the student’s area of study.
To be eligible for the Intern designation, you must either be currently enrolled at a foreign college or university, have graduated within the last 12 months, or both. To qualify as a trainee, you must also have a degree and five years of work experience in the field you choose for your internship program in the USA, you can train for either 12 or 18 months.
You have to apply for your J-1 visa via a designated sponsor in both cases. The costs and advantages of the internship programmes offered by the sponsors vary greatly.
Some sponsors can arrange an internship for you (for a fee) and may even assist with housing and other details. Other sponsors will only complete your papers and obtain your visa for a lower fee (and possibly even at the expense of your company rather than yourself) if you have already secured an internship programme in the USA.
Tips for Applying to Internships in the US
It’s crucial to plan properly and have reasonable expectations if you’re an international student hoping to seek an internship in the United States. As you are ready to embark on the thrilling experience of an international internship in the USA, keep the following advice in mind:
- Create a cover letter and resume in American format.
Your educational background and job experience are detailed in your resume. Instead of your personal professional objectives, it should highlight how your abilities meet the needs of the business. You must sell yourself and explain why you will be a good fit for the employer, just like you would for any job or internship in your native country.
- Act proactively!
You must actively seek internships in the US since they won’t come to you. Most crucial, let everyone you know—friends, coworkers, teachers, and family—know that you wish to conduct an internship in the United States. You can start by searching internet job and internship databases. How many people discover internships through personal connections and straightforward networking will astound you.
- Review your English language abilities.
It’s crucial that you communicate well in the interview because there is a lot of competition for internship positions. You don’t want the hiring manager to reject you because of your “weak English abilities.”
- Have reasonable goals.
Don’t expect to be given a lot of responsibility if this is your first job. Expect not to perform a job that requires a lot of work on the phone if your English is weak. Set realistic objectives for yourself. A CEO doesn’t just appear out of nowhere!
- Create a plan.
The process of finding an internship can take many months, so you should start at least 6 months prior to when you want to go to the United States. A U.S. internship has additional fees, such as those for accommodation, food, transportation, lodging and sponsorship of visas. Unpaid internships won’t be able to help with these expenses, while paid internships would.
- Consider the internship as a financial investment in your school and future job.
Since an internship entails “work,” many students anticipate making a sizable salary. That won’t happen very often. You will probably need to invest money and savings to get practical, hands-on training in an internship, a “real-world” classroom that complements your academic studies, just as you must invest in your university education to develop skills.
- Consider different company sizes.
The majority of interns desire to work for a well-known, large corporation because they believe it will enhance their resumes. Despite the fact that large corporations provide excellent internship opportunities, small and medium-sized businesses frequently allow interns more freedom and exposure to more difficult assignments.
- Investigate the many areas of the US.
In addition to New York, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles, there are thousands of other places where you can find internship opportunities. Remember that living expenses (rent, food, etc.) are much lower in smaller cities. Public transportation might not be as established, so you might need to buy a vehicle or a bike (which is a great choice!). Research the weather patterns because the climate varies.
- Take the lead and be open to new experiences and challenges.
Students that possess these traits and are aware of how the internship experience benefits both the intern and the company tend to have the most successful internships. If you believe that everything will be taken care of for you and that you won’t have any problems while you are in the United States, you should definitely rethink whether you are prepared for an overseas internship and obtain further experience in your home country first.
Getting an internship programme in the United States
The easiest strategy to find an internship in the USA is to use your networks, as was earlier suggested. In the end, people prefer to work with “the known quantity”—someone they are familiar with.
In a 12-month survey of 600 organisations and 1.5 million job seekers, Lever, a recruitment software, discovered that 8% of referred candidates were hired. Only 1.2% of candidates who applied through any other means were hired.
Although recommendations are fantastic, the standard of applying to internships that are advertised still stands. Some good starting points for your internship search are as follows:
- Go Overseas: Their internships job board features fresh listings every day.
- Dream Careers: Another source of internships for students from abroad.
- Global Experiences: Places students in internships both inside the U.S and outside the USA.
- USA Internships: A placement agency for interns.
- Indeed: A search engine for jobs and internships.
- Fulbright Program: A U.S. government-sponsored program.
Do you still have questions regarding internships in the USA that have not been answered in this article? Then sign up on setlinn to meet and interact with great minds in the “live, work and school, abroad community”, where you can ask your questions and meet great people.