Internships for International Students

Have you considered searching for an internship? As indicated in the Career Center’s Internship and Co-op Guide, “internships are part-time, paid or unpaid positions that may last one semester or longer, and may include academic credit, during which students also take classes”. As an international student, there are important considerations when applying for internships.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) indicates that “students with a paid internship received nearly 50 percent more job offers than those who had either an unpaid internship or no internship at all.”

Benefits of an Internship

Internships can be very important. NACE research shows that paid internships “yield, higher starting salaries, and a shorter job search time frame” and “60% of students do an internship or co-op during their time at college”. There are multiple benefits of participating in an internship.

  • Gain competencies to be “career-ready” such as teamwork, communication, and analytical skills.
  • Develop professional connections which can lead to obtaining employment after graduation. 
  • Learn what you like or dislike about a position, organization, environment, or industry.
  • Acquire valuable hands-on, on-site, or remote experiences related to your major, interests, or career goals. Discover the day-to-day functions of an organization.

Internships Vary

Internships differ by company and industry. Here are some of the options:

  • Some internships are paid. Check with the employer to determine if an internship is paid or unpaid. Note that even if an internship is unpaid, OPT/CPT may still be required especially if the internship is off-campus.
  • The duration of the internship can range from summer, semester, or longer.
  • UConn has over 70 majors that offer course credit for an internship. Refer to UConn’s Experiential Learning Page to learn more.

CPT Authorization for Off-Campus Internships

International Students should schedule an appointment with an International Student and Scholar Service (ISSS) advisor before searching for an internship. ISSS is the primary resource at UConn to navigate eligibility questions. The internship typically takes place before graduation from your degree program.

OPT Authorization for Off-Campus Opportunities

  • It can take a long time from researching to securing an internship, ISSS recommends that you plan ahead.
  • The internship can take place while you are at UConn or after graduation.

Finding opportunities 

Handshake is UConn’s job board platform. It offers up-to-date internships in many fields. Students can filter by “job type” meaning internships vs full-time jobs, location, company name, and keywords. 

Look on national search engines such as Indeed, LinkedIn, and Internships.com. There are niche-specific sites too which focus on career fields and industries. 

GoinGlobal is a job board for domestic and international employment and it offers a search tool specifically for internships.

 Four Action Steps to Take Today!

  1. Schedule an appointment with an International Advisor at ISSS to discuss the paperwork necessary to authorize an internship.
  2. Refer to the Internship and Co-Op Guide to discover more about internships.
  3. Book a Career Coaching Session at the Center for Career Development to develop a plan and learn more about resources.
  4. Attend UConn’s Internship Fair in the Spring and join UConn’s Fall and Spring Career Fairs. The fairs are a fantastic way to make connections with employers and to learn about opportunities at a company.

Desiree Martino is a Career Coach at the Center for Career Development

By Desiree Martino
Desiree Martino Career Coach Desiree Martino