Q: What is Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
A: OPT authorization is granted by United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to F-1 students who have maintained immigration status, been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year, and have a valid passport. You will need to complete a series of required forms and submit these materials along with copies of government-issued documents to Global Program Services (GPS). An International Student Advisor will review these documents and determine your eligibility for OPT. He/she will provide you with additional materials that you will need to mail your application to USCIS. You should apply for OPT 2 – 3 months before you plan to begin employment. There is a limit of 12 months of full-time employment. You have the option of using the 12 months of OPT before you complete your degree, after you complete your degree requirements, or a combination of both time periods.
Q: What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?
A: CPT is granted by the International Student Advisor to F-1 students who have maintained immigration status, been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year, and who have been approved to enroll in a Babson course that requires an internship (e.g. Business Practicum). To apply for CPT, you will need to obtain an internship, register for the Business Practicum through the Center for Career Development, and submit supporting documentation to GPS. CPT authorization is employer and date specific. The Business Practicum requires that you are able to complete 100 hours of employment within a prescribed period of time within each semester or during the summer. The period you are authorized for CPT will not be subtracted from the 12 months of OPT allowed, provided you engage in less than 12 months of full-time CPT.
Q: Will an internship or practicum help me find a job?
A: Practical work experience could prove helpful when you seek opportunities post graduate. If you have documented skills, talents, and experience you will be more marketable to an employer down the road. Career Center strongly recommends that students, both international and U.S., take part in practical work experience at some point during their time at UTSA.
Q: When should I tell an employer about my work status?
A: An effective approach to this conversation with an employer needs preparation. The information presented below can be helpful.
|Source: Adrienne Nussbaurm, Director, Intercultural Office, Boston College http://www.bc.edu/offices/odsd/intercultural/|
Q: What challenges will I face in the U.S. job search process?
A: Hiring an international student rather than a U.S. student is often a more complex and less familiar process to many employers. Some employers may be concerned that international employees will return to their home country after an investment, both financial and training, has been made in the employee. Some organizations may even feel that hiring an international student may take away jobs from U.S. citizens that are searching.
You must be prepared to face these attitudes. Be sure to demonstrate how your skills will be an asset to an organization through researching the benefit of diversity in the workplace. You will have to sell yourself (show that what you bring to the table is worth their time and investment). You can inform the employer about the ease of hiring an international student on Optional Practical Training. You should let them know that they can use the OPT period as a trial period, to evaluate your performance, with no final commitment to long term employment unless they desire it. Be honest regarding your plans for future employment.
Source: The Career Center, Florida State University
Q: What communication skills should I brush up on?
A: Prospective employers look for strong communication skills in a student, so be prepared to discuss how well you communicate in a team setting, individually to customers or clients, as well as to upper level management.
It will also be important for you to demonstrate that you are proficient in speaking and writing proper English. Be sure to indicate on your resume the level of fluency you speak each language you list. Emphasize that you are bi-lingual or multi-lingual, if applicable, as this is a bonus to many multi-national companies.