Hello and welcome to a short webinar
hosted by the Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States, Belgium and Luxembourg. In addition to administering the Fulbright Programs for Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union, the Commission for Educational Exchange also offers educational advising for students in Belgium who are thinking about studying in the United States. EducationUSA makes applying to a U.S. college or university clear by identifying your five steps to U.S. Study. In today’s video, we’ll talk briefly about working as an international student in the United States. Many Americans will never finish the college
degrees without working to help pay the costs, Unfortunately, this Option is not immediately available to foreign international
students studying the USA on a student visa. One thing that many international
students think about when planning their studies is the possibility to work in
U.S while studying. This can be a way to supplement your education. There are numerous opportunities that international students can take advantage of while studying in the United States, but there are certain procedures that are required in order to be able to pursue those opportunities. There are many benefits to working as a student. First, you can gain work experience will help to make your resume stand out when applying for internships and jobs after graduation. In addition to the job itself, you’ll gain cross- cultural communication skills from working in an international environment and will have the opportunity to meet new people and further expand your network. Among these new contacts may be future references or supervisors who can write letters of recommendation for future job or internship applications. Last but not least, student employees earn extra money … although this will not cover your tuition, it can be used to pay for incidental expenses like books or travel. Do keep in mind that you likely will not be making a lot of money as a student employee. Low wages plus limited work hours equals limited income. In addition, balancing full-time studies with a part-time job means that you might not have a lot of free time , especially compared to students without similar obligations. According to current U.S. law, F-1 students may work in any on-campus job (when the payment from the university) beginning in their first year of study. Such work is limited to 20 hours per week during the semester, but full time — or anything more than 20 hours per week — is permitted during vacation periods. Campus jobs may include working at the university’s cafete- ria, bookstore, library, or health club, or in one of the university’s administrative offices. After the first year, you can also apply for employment as a resident assistant (RA) in a university dormitory. RAs serve as the first point of contact for students needing assistance or who have queries regarding dorm life. In return, RAs receive free accommodation and sometimes a small salary and/or meal plan. No special work permission is needed to begin working on campus, and it can be straightforward to find on-campus employment. Many universities hold on- campus job fairs in the beginning of their semesters, which gives international students the opportunity to find part-time on-campus positions. On-campus jobs can also be found online in the student employment section of a university’ website. uUnder current regulations, after your first year of study, you may apply to the Department of Homeland Security for permission to work off campus for up to 20 hours per week when school is in session or up to full time during vacation periods. F-1 students a re eligible to apply for off-campus employment ONLY after studying for a full academic year and after receiving authorization. Work authorization for such off-campus employment can be difficult to obtain:it is available for practical which we will discuss in just a moment, and in the case of severe and unanticipated financial need, but significant and compelling evidence will be required to receive this approval.
What qualifies a student for off-campus employment? One common reason is practical training. Curricular Practical Training or CPT, grants work permission for F-1 international students who are who are currently pursuing study programs in the U.S. and want or need to gain experience in their field as part of their path to a degree. CPT may be authorized when an internship is a requirement of a degree program: in other words, if all students in the program must complete an internship to obtain the degree, this may be a reason for CPT. CPT may also be authorized for students who enroll in a course that requires employment to earn a grade, or a course where students design their own research project based on the employment. CPT is not available after a student completes a degree program. Optional Practical Training, or OPT, occurs either either during an academic program, in the case of pre-completion OPT, or after the completion of an academic program,
in the case of post-completion OPT. Post-completion OPT is limited to 12 months of temporary employment within, the student’s major field of study, but neither pre- or post-completion OPT require that the job be a requirement for a degree program. In addition, students who have received a U.S. Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields, may be eligible to apply for a 24-month STEM Extension of post-completion OPT for a total eligibility of up to 36 months of OPT. F-1 students suffering severe economic hardship as defined by the USCIS are eligible to work off- campus for up to 20 hours per week while school is session and full time during breaks. However, to be qualified under “severe economic hardship”, F-1 students must have been in valid F-1 status for at least one academic year, be in good academic standing. Furthermore, the student must provide evidence of economic hardship based on unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control and must show that on-campus employment is neither nor sufficient, and that he or she has made a good faith effort . to locate employment on campus before applying for off-campus employment. Want to more about student employment? Do your research by perusing College and university websites, consulting the website of United States Citizenship and and Immigration Services, and taking advantage of events in your home country, like Brussels College Night. Of course, you can always contact your local EducationUSA Advising Center for personalized advice. Good luck!