International Students and Gaining Work Experience:
International students have opportunities to explore internships and gain experience while they are students and after they graduate. It is becoming increasingly more important for students to gain work experience before graduation. This not only helps you figure out what career you want upon graduation and also helps you develop employable skills such as teamwork and effective communication. However, international students cannot work off-campus, even in most unpaid internships, without receiving work authorization first. It is important for international students to understand their immigration options for working in the US before they begin applying for jobs or internships. This will allow students to plan when they will be able to work off-campus, and also give them more confidence in the job search process.
International Student and Scholar Services: International Student and Scholar Services provides immigration advising and support services for international USF community members. ISSS is the only place students should go with questions about work authorization. Students can review the F1 employment information, and the J1 employment information, on the ISSS website. They can attend an OPT workshop and make an appointment with their ISSS advisor for additional questions.
Career Planning and Job Search Support: International students face unique challenges such as navigating the job search given their immigration status, cultural differences, and unfamiliarity with employer expectations. The job search process can be difficult and students should utilize the support services available at USF to ensure they are best prepared for this journey.
- Career Service Center: The USF Career Service Center provides support for students and alumni on writing resumes, cover letters, interview practice, finding jobs or internships, and exploring careers and majors. The CSC hosts job fairs, information sessions, employer meet-ups and pop-ups, and company treks that allow students to connect and network with employers across diverse industries. CSC has this page specifically for international students and these tips for international students.
- Graduate Career Services for School of Management: This resource is for students in the Graduate School of Management.
- Office of Career Services for the School of Law: This resource is for students in the School of Law.
Student Leadership and Campus Engagement: Getting a job or internship is not the only way to gain experience. Students can join a student club or organization and gain experience in many skills such as budget management, event planning, and many more. Students who join student chapters of professional organizations can obtain scholarship opportunities and mentorships. Most of these professional organizations hold annual meetings and conferences that provide networking opportunities that help build professional connections early on. Clubs also allow students to gain soft skills such as team building, collaboration, and leadership.
NetworkUSF: Students can sign-up to meet with a USF alum, network, and explore different professional industries. NetworkUSF has over 100 USF international alumni who are currently active in the network and available to mentor current students.