At the Career & Internship Center, 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.
Different roles in the internship and job search process:
- International Student Services (ISS) Office
- Student Legal Services (SLS)
- Career Coach (Career & Internship Center)
- Major Adviser*
• 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.
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. ISS is located in Schmitz 459.
• 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
Student Legal Services (SLS) is an on-campus law office that provides a safe and confidential space for all UW-Seattle and Bothell students who have legal questions or concerns. We offer free 40-minute consultations on a broad range of issues and located in Husky Union Building (HUB) 306.
• Advise international students with the process of applying for CPT/ OPT
• Advise international students on factors that may affect their immigration status while studying at the University of Washington
• Advise international students on the most common Post-Graduation work visa options
• Discuss the specifics of various nonimmigrant visa categories that allow for international students to study in the United States and helping decide which visa type is best for them
• 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
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
- 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. Lastly, the Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) has a program called Targeted Learning Communities (TLC) that aims to support international and multilingual students as they navigate American classrooms and cultures. The program enables small groups of students to meet weekly for an hour with OWRC tutors. Together, they work to decode academic and cultural norms, practice language acquisition, and develop collaboration skills.
- Job Seeking Tips for International Students- List of FAQ’s that are asked by international students about job searching and the hiring process.
- 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 2018-2019 academic year, there were 697 unique employers hired UW international students as interns in and 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!