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What do I need to consider regarding eligibility to undertake an internship or job?

As an international student, it is essential that you fully understand your eligibility to work in the location of the internship or job and the process to gain work authorization. Eligibility to work considerations include:

  • Location of the internship or job, i.e., is it in the U.S. or another country?
  • Your visa/work authorization for the location of the internship or job
  • How long you have been in full-time student status in the U.S. for positions in the U.S.
  • Requirements specified by the employer for the internship or job
  • Whether the position is paid or unpaid (Note: for off-campus positions in the US, any wages or other compensation like a stipend or housing requires authorization through Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT is approved in your field of study and requires an application to the immigration agency. The ISSO will assist with this. Refer to this summary of employment possibilities)

There is no list available of internships or jobs that are open to international students. Each employer determines eligibility requirements and states them in their job/internship descriptions so you must read internship and job descriptions closely. With respect to employers recruiting at Columbia, the Center for Career Education (CCE) provides a list of participating employers at career fairs willing to sponsor international students to work in the US. CCE also provides access to a list of employers who have sponsored international students in the prior year through its subscription to Going Global, which you can access using your UNI and password used for SSOL.

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