Are you a university student looking for an amazing internship experience in the U.S.? The process of interning in the U.S. is unique and offers many amazing benefits. International internships can increase your marketable skills after graduation. If you're interested in getting an internship abroad, you'll need to start by applying for a J-1 visa.
In this guide, you’ll get all the information and resources you need to get a J-1 visa and work at an American company including:
- Benefits of getting an internship abroad
- The process of searching for internship opportunities
- The process of getting a J-1 visa
- Resources to make your J-1 visa process smooth
The Benefits of Getting an Internship Abroad in the U.S.
Working for a U.S.-based company can bring great benefits to your career. It can help develop your skills, build your personal brand and make you stand out—not to mention that it can also help you make some additional money.
Many employers feel that the additional experience and exposure these interns have is an asset. If a student is fortunate enough to secure an internship abroad, they may be able to add entry-level experience to their resume in preparation for the job market ahead.
Finding an internship related to your field of study or future career goals can help you make the most of your experience. Some schools offer these programs without charging tuition, which can be a great opportunity! You can look for internships on your own, but make sure that you are targeting internships that are related to your field of study or future career goals.
There are numerous benefits to interning in the United States:
- Gaining valuable work experience in an internship with a company or organization.
- Earning money through a paid internship while working legally in the U.S.
- Exploring new cultures and making friends from all over the world
Develop New Skills: A Valuable Work Experience
Future job offers, experience gained, and potential connections will be the most important factors when you begin searching for an internship. Interning abroad is a great way to develop some core professional skills and make professional connections. For example, to work in marketing, you must know how to write compelling copy and create successful marketing campaigns.
An internship in another country can be a great way to get hands-on experience with these skills, which will help you make a strong impression when you apply for jobs.
As an intern in the United States, you will develop a range of professional skills of high value to employers back home. While every internship is different, there are some common skills that you can expect to develop during your time interning in the U.S. These include:
- Strong oral and written communication skills: In the United States, internships are often very project-based. The ability to communicate effectively with your team will help you complete tasks successfully. You also may be required to give presentations or write reports as part of your internship, so strong writing skills are essential.
- Time management and organizational skills: Working on multiple projects at once is common in many U.S. workplaces. As an intern, you will need to learn how to prioritize your tasks and manage your time effectively to get everything done. Working well under pressure and handling multiple tasks at once are two other important skills to have.
- Research and analytical skills: Many internships will require you to do some research as part of your work—from reading industry reports to conducting surveys or interviews. As such, strong research and analytical skills are essential for any internship in the U.S..
- Problem-solving: As an intern, you will develop your problem-solving abilities to the fullest. You'll learn how to think outside the box, look at problems from different angles, and come up with creative solutions.
In today's economy, it is becoming increasingly common for university students to look for opportunities to gain international work experience. With the globalization of the economy, more and more businesses are looking for employees who have experience working in different cultures. Don’t miss this opportunity.
Get a Paid Internship Abroad and Make Money
We wrote a whole guide on how to get a paid internship abroad and it includes everything you need to know: from how much interns in the US get paid to specific J-1 opportunities abroad.
Getting a paid internship is significant to your career development. NACE reported that in 2015, interns were successfully converted to full-time hires 51% of the time. These odds are important. Many of our interns have successfully completed their internship and moved on to new jobs. Here are some of the resources they’ve used:
- Global Internships’ Internship Program
- Our Internships Database
- Startup Internships: A Guide For Interns And Growing Companies
- J-1 Visa Jobs: How To Find The Best Internships
Outside of our community, they’ve looked for ways to lean on their existing network like:
- Checking out their school’s career center
- Reaching out to alumni, mentors, and professionals that have a similar background
- Joining clubs and professional networks
Explore New Cultures and Experiences
As an international intern abroad, you will explore new cultures and make friends with people from all over the world. Living and studying in a different country, and discovering ways of thinking and living that are different from our own and the ways we are accustomed to is an enriching experience.
A chance to learn more about U.S. culture, history, and customs by living in this country and interacting with locals daily.
You will also have the unique opportunity to explore the work culture and work with teams who are used to doing things differently. All these things are great for your resume and are essential for your development as a professional. Internships help you prepare for careers, develop new passions, and learn about your interests.
How to Look for U.S. Internships if You Live Abroad
At Global Internships, we’ve helped international students land the internships for decades. We can support you in everything from getting your J-1 visa to verifying the reliability of a host company. We want you to be prepared and ready to go.
To intern in the United States as an international student living abroad, you need to apply to become a J-1 intern. If you’re not very familiar with the program, J-1 internships are part of a dozen Exchange Visitor Programs. They were created to foster and strengthen relationships between the United States and other nations.
Visitors may come to the U.S. to be:
- Au pairs
- Camp counselors
- Government visitors
- Department of State visitors
- Research scholars
- Short term scholars
- Secondary students
- Summer work travelers
Your To-do List to Intern Abroad
To get started on your J-1 process, make sure you do the following things:
- Find available internships and opportunities
- Apply for and secure a position abroad
- Secure a visa sponsorship
- Apply for a J-1 visa
- Attend a visa interview at your local embassy or consulate
- Prepare to travel abroad
The Process of Getting a J-1 Internship
The process is similar to getting an internship in your own country. The difference is that to intern in the U.S., you need to work for a company that has been approved as a host.
J-1 visa employer requirements include:
- Providing eligible programs. J-1 visa Interns will not do unskilled labor, provide child, elder, or patient care, nor work in the field of aviation.
- Creating meaningful opportunities. Internships should include no more than 20% clerical work.
- Completing multiple rotations for internships in the field of hospitality and tourism.
- Possessing the proper resources, personnel, and equipment, and making these available to interns.
Finding a J-1 sponsor
Sponsors are experts that can guide you through all the documents that you need to get an internship abroad. Their responsibilities include:
- Screen participants
- Select participants
- Monitoring participants during their internship
- Answering FAQs and in-depth questions about the internship program
- Assist in the legal process of securing the right documentation and visas
Global Internships: Our J-1 Visa Sponsor Services
At Global Internships, we are official U.S.-approved sponsors of the J-1 visa internship program. We work with interns, employers, attorneys, and universities and maintain relationships with many top tech and startup companies. We’ve worked with companies like Ripple, Superhuman, MemSQL, Splunk, and Lime.
This means we have access to internships you might not hear of elsewhere. Plus, we can help you with hard-to-navigate paperwork, like taxes and payment in local currency.
Our program benefits include:
- We’re super quick! Once you’ve completed some of our steps, we’ll get the DS-2019 (an important document) to you within four weeks.
- We work virtually. There’s no need to fax documents or do tasks in-person. We handle everything online and communicate through email!
- We’re affordable. There are no extra fees. We charge you based on the length of your program.
- We’re experienced. We’ve worked with students since 2003. We know what we’re doing so we’ll save you weeks of paperwork.
Resources to make your J-1 visa process smooth
Ready to apply for a J-1 visa? We gotchu! Once you’re connected with a sponsor, you’ll need to fill out a couple of documents and start communicating with your sponsor and host company. Below is a list of FAQs. Make sure to save these links!
- All the J-1 visa documents you’ll need
- J-1 visa costs
- J-1 visa processing times
- J-1 visa interview questions
- J-1 visa duration
- J-1 visa waiver
- J-1 visa tax returns
- J-1 visa tax exemption
- J-1 visa extension
- J-1 visa exchange number: SEVIS
Interning Abroad: Go Get ‘Em!
Internships in the United States are a great opportunity to gain valuable work experience while studying.
The Exchange Visitor Program is an amazing way to advance your career goals while developing your cultural knowledge and language skills. The J-1 visa is merely one step in the process of getting there.
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.