Center for Career Exploration

Information for International Students

International students may experience a more intricate journey in their career search and development. The process of exploring and planning a career can be particularly challenging for them. Hence, it becomes crucial for international students to engage with our office, along with other offices on campus, to address these complexities.

We recognize the significance of this and are committed to supporting the unique needs of international students. The Center for Career Exploration is dedicated to assisting them in navigating through internship, job, graduate school and career opportunities.

Here’s how the Career Center can help:

Meet With Us

Meet with one of our highly trained Graduate Career Fellows during open hours to help you get oriented to all the resources of the Brown Center for Career Exploration.
Schedule an appointment with a career counselor to identify your interests and develop a plan.
Join us for International Student Specific programming.

You can also keep up with our schedule by following us on Facebook or Instagram.

Review Our Resources

These resources provide helpful information as you develop your job search plan:

An integrated platform to support international students and alumni with their career exploration and internship and job search.

Campus Partners That Support International Student Career Exploration

It is important to remain informed about immigration requirements and regulations that affect employment eligibility based on visa status. Attend an OISSS program or meet with an OISSS advisor to understand your status and how to navigate nuanced conversations about your eligibility in the future.
Students can connect with the Associate Dean of the College for International Students through information sessions, workshops, and individual advising meetings. The Dean provides academic advising for F-1 students who are seeking work authorization to gain professional experiences through Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Effective communication skills are essential to the job search, and the expectations regarding written materials, such as cover letters, can vary widely by country as well as industry. The Brown Writing Center offers individual conferences with all students to discuss written materials as well as dedicated ESL workshops.

Common Job and Internship Questions

Yes – and please always keep in mind there are specific rules and timelines related to working in the US due to regulations and immigration laws. For F-1 students, in addition to on-campus opportunities, there are two types of off-campus work authorization: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). For individual advising regarding work authorization and options, connect with the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS).

Career Counselors and PCAs will help you identify options and prepare application materials. In addition, the Brown Center for Career Exploration offers workshops and programs to teach job search skills, employer information sessions, and alumni panels and speaker events. 

Brown Center for Career Exploration provides Interstride, an online resource for international students to support their job search both in the United States and abroad.

  • Conversations about work authorization might be prompted by your potential employer. Common questions about authorization include: “Do you need sponsorship? Do you need work authorization? Do you require sponsorship now or in the future?” It is important to be knowledgeable about work authorization requirements so that you are prepared to answer employers’ questions. If you are unsure about the specifics of CPT, OPT, or STEM OPT, please contact OISSS. 
    • If you are not asked about sponsorship, we recommend that you take initiative to disclose your need for eventual full-time sponsorship. We suggest that you begin this discussion at the end of the first interview, or during the second – don’t wait until you have the job offer. Indicate that you are knowledgeable about sponsorship guidelines and can work closely with the employer. Sometimes it helps to indicate you have hired a lawyer, and you are willing to cover attorney fees (you cannot legally pay H-1B filing fees).
    • If you are seeking an internship using CPT before graduating, explain to your employer that your student visa enables you to work as long as your employment is approved by your academic advisor and OISSS in advance.The employer does not need to provide visa sponsorship for the internship.
    • If you seek employment using OPT, explain to your employer that your student visa enables you to work for 12 months after graduation (or longer for STEM fields) without sponsorship from your employer. To continue working beyond OPT, your employer will have to file for a work visa for you. 
  • Explain to your potential employer that they are not required to demonstrate a lack of US citizens qualified for the job.
  • Be sure the employer knows the H-1B visa is employer- and job-specific. It shows your dedication to the organization, as it can’t easily be applied to other employers.
  • Contact OISSS with questions and for more information.

Students are most successful academically when pursuing a program of study well suited to their interests, abilities and goals. The Dean for International Students provides concentration and academic advising for F-1 students who are seeking work authorization to gain professional experiences through Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT).

At the same time, you should also be aware that Optional Practical Training (OPT) guidelines allow students with training in certain science and technology fields (STEM OPT) to work for up to 3 years in the United States (as opposed to the standard 12 months).