If you’re itching to get back to exploring the world, we hear you… and we have good news! Summer internships for international students are opening up. Always wanted to work in New York City? You can. Are California’s beaches calling you? It’s time to respond.
Vaccination rates continue to steadily rise in the United States. As of November 1st 2021, the Mayo Clinic reported that 58.5% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, and 67.4% of this population has received at least one vaccination dose.
If you are a vaccinated individual, traveling to the United States for a summer 2022 J-1 internship is a viable option. While vacations and tourism are nice, longer international internships can really give you an opportunity to learn, network, and fully immerse yourself in a new culture.
The Value of a Summer Internship
Internships are a huge resumé-booster.
If you plan to go down a traditional career path following your graduation, it’s important to build your resumé now. Many entry-level positions require prior related experience. So, how can you circumvent the dilemma of needing a job to get experience, but needing experience to get a job?
Positions on campus and your degree will help, but internships are one of the key ways to secure post-grad employment.
In a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) on how internships impact post-graduate outcomes, results indicated that students who complete internships during an undergraduate degree are more likely to find meaningful employment. These students were more likely to have jobs six months after graduation than students who did not complete internships.
In other words, when you secure an internship, you are also securing your future. You are helping yourself stand out from the pool of applicants with real, verifiable experience.
The Value of Living Abroad
Summer internships are valuable. Living abroad is too.
International experiences are enriching for both guests and hosts. But don’t take it from us, take it from an article posted in the Harvard Business Review.
International Experience: Intern Benefits
In “How Living Abroad Helps You Develop a Clearer Sense of Self,” five researchers describe multiple studies where they examined the relationship between “clear sense of self” and time spent living abroad. They defined a “clear sense of self” as knowing and being consistent in your description and understanding of yourself across time.
Throughout their studies, the researchers observed that individuals who lived abroad had clearer senses of self. Depth of experiences abroad (rather than breadth) was the best predictor.
So, why on earth does living abroad help people get clear on who they are? A big theory is that being uprooted from your familiar routine, surroundings, and culture gives you a chance to better understand yourself.
The researchers who conducted this study posit that a clear sense of self makes it easier for individuals to make smart career decisions.
The statistics concur with this conclusion
In one 2012 survey, 90% of responders (all of whom had studied abroad) secured their first job within six months of graduating college. At the time, only 49% of U.S. college graduates found employment six months post-grad. This indicates that study abroad greatly boosted grads’ ability to find meaningful work.
The resounding conclusion is that international experience benefits individuals both personally and professionally.
International Experience: Company Benefits
International experience not only benefits travelers, but host companies as well.
Building a diverse intern program with international talent helps companies bolster their international networks and brand. International interns bring:
- Determination to apply academic knowledge
- Motivation to gain professional work experience
- Dedication to growing your business
- Eagerness to connect with coworkers and grow language skills
The above attributes will help any company grow and thrive. Adding a new cultural perspective to your team will lead to new connections and out-of-the-box thinking.
International Summer Intern Case Study in San Francisco
J-1 Exchange Visitor alumnus, Karen, is a wonderful example of how a professional experience abroad can positively impact an individual’s personal and professional life.
Karen grew up in Germany, where she heard many negative stereotypes about Americans over the years.
Karen’s perceptions were challenged when she met travelers from the United States in Germany just before graduating university. These travelers were fun, smart, kind, warm, and friendly.
Karen’s new friends hailed from San Francisco. They told her about the beaches, live music, and nature where they were from. She thought to herself: why not do an internship and start my career in San Francisco?
Once she arrived in the U.S, Karen was blown away by both the friendliness of the people she met and the beauty of the natural landscapes she encountered. It all proved her previous stereotypes completely wrong.
Her internship also went beyond expectations. She described a “can-do” attitude in the U.S. and found that the motivating environment at her workplace gave her the confidence to find a great job after her internship.
The experience affected Karen so much that she decided to pursue a career in cultural exchange. She is consistently impressed by the dedication, skills, and appreciation for the U.S. that individuals she works with bring to their programs.
How to Make it Happen: Applying for a J-1 Visa
Now that you’ve gotten all the information, are you ready to look for your own summer internship for international students in the United States? If so, you’re in the right place.
We’ve been finding summer internships for international students like you for many years. At this point, we know a ton about the process. We’d love to lend you some of our expertise. Below we’ll guide you through a few steps:
- How to find a summer internship
- How to find a sponsor
- Program fees
- How to complete your visa application
- How to ace your visa interview
How to Find a Summer Internship
First, you’ll need to find an opportunity. Many companies offer summer internships, but you’ll need to get clear on what type of position you want. For example, are you more interested in:
- A large company with many departments to learn from?
- A smaller company where you can take on more responsibility?
Working through questions like these will allow you to refine your search to best fit your needs. While applying for internships at companies with household names may be right for you, don’t discount the value of internships at startups and smaller offices. These growing companies can be a wonderful place to learn and apply your skills.
Different fields will boast companies with various outstanding features. Perhaps the scale of an organization isn’t as important to you as it’s culture. For example, if you’re looking into hospitality and tourism internships, what type of facility would you prefer to work at:
- A hotel focused on warm relationship-building with tourists in New Orleans?
- An international hospitality organization catering to traveling professionals?
The best opportunity for you will depend on your personal strengths and career aspirations.
The job boards listed below are also great places to start:
- Global Internships’ internship database
How to Find a Sponsor
If you’re pursuing a summer internship in the U.S., one of the first things you’ll need is a visa. They are required for all Exchange Visitors. U.S.-approved entities must sponsor these visas.
We’re a U.S. Department of State-approved J-1 visa sponsor. At Intrax Global Internships, we’ve helped thousands of individuals travel abroad to complete Exchange Visitor programs including:
As a sponsor, we provide exchange visitors with many benefits and resources. These include:
- Connections to host companies and internship opportunities
- An easy-to-use online platform
- Expert advice on travel legalities and the visa application process
- Monthly check-ins during your program
- 24/7 emergency support
If you’re interested in working with us, reach out! We’d love to help connect you with an amazing international opportunity.
As we all know, traveling is not free. While we do our best to keep costs down, you will need to cover some fees to secure and complete an internship program.
If you’re having trouble understanding the J-1 visa cost, never fear! We’ll break it down for you.
There are three main groups of costs associated with Exchange Visitor programs. They include the fees you pay directly to your sponsor, the fees you pay the U.S. Department of State to apply for a visa, and travel and living expenses (like airfare and housing).
At Intrax Global Internships, our program fees vary based on your country of residence and the duration of your summer internship. This means the cost can range from $1200-$3800 USD. If you would like a more specific estimate for your circumstances, our J-1 Visa Pricing Calculator is an excellent resource.
The program fees you pay us cover things like:
- Application fee
- SEVIS fee
- Administrative fees
- Travel health insurance
- Orientation services
- Emergency support
Fees you’ll owe the state department include a $160 USD application fee as well as an issuance fee after your interview. This fee varies by country.
Beyond that, make sure to budget for travel costs to and from the U.S., as well as personal living expenses like housing and food.
How to Complete Your Visa Application
J-1 visa applications to secure summer internships for international students require a few different steps. Here, we’ll give you a quick overview of the process and then direct you to more in-depth resources.
We’ve already covered the first step of the J-1 visa process: securing a sponsor. These sponsors are critical because they issue the DS-2019 (also known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status).
- Participant information
- Host company information
- Contract agreement
- Placement plan (training or internship)
As long as you have access to your own contact information and your host company’s contact information, filling this out should be no problem.
Completing this form will require you to reflect on your goals for the summer internship. Getting clear about what you want from your program before it starts will help you make conscious decisions while you’re abroad.
For example, if a goal you have for your program is to build your professional network, during your internship you can take steps towards this goal by asking to shadow employees in other departments and attend company events. Alternatively, if your goal is to immerse yourself in culture in the United States, you may prioritize joining social groups and going to local museums.
Once you’ve completed your DS-7002, it’s time to provide your sponsor with other necessary documents so that they can issue your DS-2019 in a timely manner. These documents include:
- English proficiency results (TOEFL, free online assessment, or other credible measure)
- Diploma or proof of enrollment
- Resume or CV
- Copy of passport’s biographical page
After you’ve submitted these documents, it’s time for us to verify your internship placement with your host company. Give them a heads up to watch out for an email for us. We’ll schedule a quick call to verbally affirm that you have been accepted for a summer internship at their company.
Following verification, we’ll send you your DS-2019. It may take a few weeks to receive this important document. It’s a good idea to schedule your visa interview while you wait.
If you’d like more detailed information about how to apply for a J-1 visa, check out these articles:
- The Ultimate Guide to Secure a J-1 Visa for a U.S. Internship
- J-1 Visa Documents: Get Ready to Apply
- What Is the Exchange Visitor J-1 Visa? Everything You Need to Know
How to Ace Your Visa Interview
After turning in your documents, doing an interview at your local U.S. embassy or consulate is the last step to securing a J-1 visa.
There are a few ways to prepare for this conversation with a local official. They include:
- Brushing up on your English skills
- Anticipating and practicing interview questions
- Getting clear on what ties you to your country of residence
Let’s dive into the details of the above suggestions.
It’s important to remember that your visa interview will take place in English. To be successful, you’ll need to hold a conversation in this language. If it’s been a few years since you’ve taken a class, now would be a good time to phone a friend who also speaks the language so you can practice with them.
You’ll want to practice in English so that you don’t need to worry about forgetting vocabulary and can confidently answer J-1 interview questions.
The main types of J-1 visa interview questions are:
- Educational questions
- Internship questions
- Financial questions
- Future plans questions
When practicing, remember that the J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa designed for temporary travel. This means that one main purpose of the interview is to ensure that your intentions are not to remain in the country permanently.
Future plans questions are a great place to demonstrate this. When answering these, you can discuss anything that draws you to your country of residence. This could be family (like very young or very old relatives), property (including family homes or businesses you could inherit), or job prospects. Perhaps you are eager to secure a summer internship for international students because you know that this position will prepare you for a career in your country of residence. If any of the aforementioned scenarios are true for you, be sure to highlight them in your interview.
Beyond ensuring you don't intend to stay permanently in the U.S., the J-1 visa interview measures your preparedness for the role. When answering questions about your education, focus on what applies to your upcoming position.
Also, be sure to know details about your summer internship and host company. This demonstrates that you are excited for the opportunity and have realistic expectations for the program.
Finally, make sure you understand how you will cover program expenses. Your interviewer wants to ensure you can afford to go abroad, so get clear on where your funding is coming from.
Summer Internships for International Students Will Set You Up for Success
Depending on where you are located, you may receive your visa directly following your interview or up to a few weeks after. With this final document secured, you’re all set to go abroad.
We commend you for seeking information about summer internships for international students. These opportunities are incredibly enriching and provide:
- Cultural immersion
- Professional development
- Network building opportunities
- Increased language skills
- Marketable work competencies
Although the pandemic probably impacted your education, this does not mean it has to negatively impact your career prospects. By taking charge and securing a summer internship, you are investing in your future self. For more information, feel free to contact us. We’re more than happy to support you!