At the Career & Internship Center, all our career coaches are available through appointments and drop-ins to assist international students. We understand that international students navigate many transitions in coming to the UW such as moving to a new country or understanding U.S. academic and work culture. We are here to be a resource in helping international students understand and navigate available opportunities.  Topics we can help international students with include preparing for career fairs, finding internships, and finding on-campus work and jobs in the United States, home country, or abroad. In addition, we have quarterly workshops on those same topics which international students can attend in person or online. Our office can also help with empowering international students to advocate for themselves as they look for opportunities.


Chart describing different roles in the internship and job search process:

  • Be aware and understand visa restrictions and the various processes/timelines of qualifying and applying for CPT & OPT.  
  • Obtain academic department approval and enroll in concurrent academic course (if applicable) 
  • Obtain and fill out the proper paperwork for applications
  • Understanding employment authorization 
  • Be able to communicate to employers work eligibility & visa status 
International Student Services (ISS) Office ISS staff advises international students with F-1 or J-1 visas who are enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington.

  • Provide guidance on maintaining F-1 or J-1 immigration status while attending the UW
  • Process F-1 and J-1 immigration benefits
  • Navigate university policy and understand F-1 and J-1 visa restrictions
  • Ensure university and student compliance with immigration policies
  • Provide educational tools, including workshops and tutorials
Career Coach (Career & Internship Center
  • Coach international students on finding, applying, and interviewing for internships and jobs (both on-campus,  in the U.S and abroad). 
  • Create and edit resumes and cover letters
  • Conduct mock interviews
  • Prepare for career fairs
  • Help navigate and practice talking to employers about their status 
  • Strategize ways to cultivate and practice necessary skills for the area of work students are interested in
Major Adviser* Your departmental advisers are responsible for signing off on your CPT paperwork and demonstrating that the CPT opportunity aligns with your academic major.

*If you are a pre-major student (student that is not yet in a major) you are not eligible for CPT

Employer  Employers are responsible for knowing (though not all are aware) if they accept CPT/OPT and H-1B Visas. 

Career Suggestions for International Students:

International Student Services (ISS)- We encourage international students to first visit UW’s International Student Services (ISS) website to learn more about  visa statuses and if they qualify for Curricular Practical Training (CPT)/ Optional Practical Training (OPT) to better understand what internship and employment opportunities are available. The ISS office offers information sessions every quarter to learn more about CPT and OPT. The ISS office is also a great resource to say up to date on policy changes that happen in regard to your visa status. 

Build a Community- A great place to get started with meeting other UW international students and finding support is the Center for International Relations & Cultural Leadership Exchange (CIRCLE) (Schmitz 250). They also have great tips on volunteering opportunities and getting jobs on and off campus on their website. Other organizations that international students can get involved in include The Foundation for International Understanding Through Students (FIUTS) and Unite UW. Other ways to get involved and gain experience in include joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO), service learning and research through the Center for Experiential Learning & Diversity (EXPD), the Associated Student of University of Washington (ASUW), and through your major. 

Be proactive!– Whether you are creating your first resume, finding and applying for internships and jobs, these processes all take time, effort, and patience. To be successful, international students should plan ahead and put in the effort. In the 2018-2019 academic year, 697 unique employers hired UW international students as interns. Over 3,000 unique employers have hired UW international students as interns in the past 8 years. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to seek out opportunities!