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Searching for a Job…

Getting a job in the United States as an International student can seem overwhelming, terrifying, and impossible all at the same time. As an international student myself, I am right there with you! I have done quite a bit of research on the task of finding a job in the United States and have learned quite a bit about the process and would like to share with you some of what I have learned thus far. Keep in mind, I am not yet employed in the United States as I am still in school, but I am working every day with the goal of receiving a job offer upon graduation next January.

The first advice I can give to all international students is to work hard in school and to get as much experience as you can in your specific field of study. Learn as much as you can and be as successful as possible, you’re going to have to stand out among others academically and with your experience. Connect with your professors, advisors, and individuals in your department. Take on extra projects and do what you can to further yourself in your area of study.

The next piece of advice I can give is to intern, intern, intern. Intern with as many companies as you can. On a student visa, you are eligible to intern at any organization. Yes, it is unfortunate that you cannot earn money this way and can only do so by working on campus, but by interning you will be gaining hands-on experience that will best prepare you for a job. Connect with others and continue to keep in touch with individuals who you have worked with. Be yourself during your internship, work hard, and let your personality shine through.

Knowing the technical aspects of obtaining a visa is crucial. I began making visits to the ISSO department freshman year of my undergraduate degree at Cornell, and continue to make visits to the ISSO department at Boston University. <a href=""&gt;The process is intimidating and difficult to understand at first. The OPT (Optional Practical Training) allows you to work in the United States for 12 months. When you apply, you must pick a starting date of your OPT card. This is often difficult because at this point, you often don’t know whether or not you will have a job, so you have to guess at what will be an appropriate starting date. This date must be within 60 days of your graduation. You have 3 months from your starting date to find a job and begin working, or you will lose your privilege of working on your OPT visa. My advice is to begin the process of applying for an OPT early, if anything goes wrong with the application you’ll want time to deal with it!

Finally, it is important that students remain positive and confident. Don’t give up on getting a job in the United States and hard work does pay off. Enjoy your time at school in the United States, and never forgot about your goal of one day working here. Stay positive and good things will happen. Good luck to all international students!

The International Success Stories seminar was just that – a success. The meeting was prefaced by a recommendation to the book “Power Ties” by Dan Beaudry, which is the International Student’s Guide to Finding a Job in the U.S.

The meeting started out with each person introducing themselves. The student representatives were Michelle He, a 2011 student from China, Tina Yip, a 2012 marketing student from Hong Kong, Ken Yip, a 2010 grad from Canada, and Loredana Pamitile, a 2011 student studying finance and law.

The mediator opened the floor for questions, but because the audience was a little shy she had each student go around the class and introduce themselves. Students from all over the world introduced themselves one by one. It was a very diverse group of people in the room!

The panel then began telling their story. First up was Loredana. She explained that she began her work experience at Boston University washing dishes at the Sheldon Hall Dining Hall. Through hard work, she became a manager at the dining hall and is now interning at NGO. Her advice was to not “just chase after the big companies,

Next up was Ken, who first interned for City Bank and then Retail Bank both in Hong Kong. He told us a story about how during his time with Retail Bank in Hong Kong he had to do a presentation in front of a group of business people. He was kicked out of the meeting midway through his presentation because his presentation was so poor. The point of his story was to never give up and learn from your mistakes. Ken then switched gears and interned in the HR department for UBS in Hong Kong. He then moved to the USA and said the biggest first step you can take in moving to the U.S. is to obtain a social security number. He now works for Sovereign Bank as an analyst and loves his job. He advised the audience to utilize every tool at BU especially its career advisory network website. a href=””&gt;

Tina was next up to speak. She started off by advising everyone to network as much as you can and to have a presence online through LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook. “Any way you can show that you are passionate about getting a job and working for a specific company will put you that much closer to earning a position”, she explains. Her goal after graduation is to go into digital marketing.

Michelle studied engineering at Boston University and was more positive about international students getting a job in the U.S. She said that industries want different cultures and different backgrounds and will often hire a Chinese student, for example, in order to attract more Chinese students. She was very positive and said not to let the stress of getting a visa put you down. “Go to career fairs and look for international companies located in the U.S.”.

Loredana jumped in and said her best advice was to “know American sports. Every interview I’ve been on they’ve asked me about the Red Sox or the Celtics, and say ‘you live by Kenmore, how do you not know about the Red Sox?’”.

Ken began explaining that “as international students, you’re going to run into companies who just won’t hire you before you need to be sponsored for a visa. I had applied to my dream job, the interview went really well and they said everything looked promising. Once I told them that I wasn’t authorized to work in the United States, I never heard back one way or the other about the job.” He also advised the audience to look at each company’s culture to see if they have a pattern of hiring international students. “This should give you an idea of whether or not a company tends to support non-authorized students,” he explained.

The meeting then jumped into the logistical and technical parts of being able to work in the United States as an international student. The panel began talking about getting a CPT (Curricular Practical Training), which allows students the opportunity to intern with companies. There is also the OPT (Optional Practical Training), which allows the student to work for 12 months in the United States and get paid. To obtain an OPT, one must apply a couple months in advance (no later than 60 days after graduation) and if approved, must begin working within 3 months of the start date of the card. After the 12 months of working on an OPT, the student must get sponsored for a visa in order to remain in the United States.

Lorenda lightened the mood by telling an anecdote about how once she forgot her I-20 student visa and was forced to fly to Mexico for 12 hours until her visa was shipped to her. She laughed at said “so make sure you always remember your proper identification!”.

Tina began explaining how crucial it is to follow up with whoever you network with and encouraged everyone to show personality in order to stand out among others. Ken explained that he joined clubs and fraternities at BU and said that there are many clubs and societies at the school that could help with networking and connecting with others. Michelle agreed and said that everyone should “attend as many events and workshops as possible”.

The seminar concluded by opening the floor for questions by the audience. Most of the discussion was about the technical aspects about obtaining an OPT as many of the students in the audience were confused about the details of working on this type of visa. The panel was thanked and the students were left to talk and connect with each other.

Interested in learning more about getting a job in the United States as an International student? Boston University will host an “International Student Success Stories and Strategies” on Wednesday, November 24th from 4:00pm-6:00pm at Boston University’s School of management located at 595 Commonwealth Avenue, SMG 208. Come listen to real stories about how international alumni have been able to land jobs in the United States and receive some advice about how to do so yourself. Dress is business casual. Looking forward to seeing you there!


What steps do you follow as an international student when you first arrive on campus?! My slideshow will answer all your questions…
Steps for an International Student at Boston University Slideshow

Check out my video about French and Chinese students at Boston University at –

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Welcome to my blog! It is designed to provide information, personal stories, and experiences about the life of an international student at Boston University. Posts will range from interviews with current and past Boston University students from all over the world, information about seminars and workshops offered by the Boston University ISSO, and fun facts about the experiences of students in the United States for the first time. If you yourself are an international student, are an American interested in travel and foreign culture, or a simply a Boston University fan, save this website to your Favorites. Stay tuned for more to come!