InternationalStudent.com unveiled an exciting new video contest last week, with an entry deadline of December 1. The winner will be announced the week of December 4-8, and the finalists will be available for all to see on InternationalStudent.com. You can win $2,000 to travel anywhere in the world — not to mention worldwide fame if your video is posted on the site! Any trip you want to take, and InternationalStudent.com will pay for it.
To enter, you must submit a 4-8 minute video that describes the trip you would take if you win, and why you should win. The best entry will win the $2,000 grand prize — so be funny, or include some great footage and music, or tell a great story — something to get your entry noticed and stand out from the crowd. Film students, technical and artistic types — you have a leg up on the competition. But it is open to anyone 18 or older and studying outside their home country.
For more information and to get an entry form, go to: http://www.InternationalStudent.com/contest/
Today’s is the final post in our series on employment rules for F1 students in the US, covering employment with approved international organizations. You can see the earlier posts here:
Off-Campus Employment Now Permitted in Canada
On-Campus Employment in the US
Off-Campus Employment in the US – Severe Economic Hardship
Off-Campus Employment in the US – Optional Practical Training
Off-Campus Employment in the US – Curriculur Practical Training
Employment with an International Organization
The final category of employment for international students in the US on F1 visas is employment with a “recognized international organization.” To qualify, an organization must be on the official State Department list, and listed organizations include the Red Cross, African and Asian Development Banks, the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, and many other similar but less well-known organizations. Because it does not have the universal application of OPT or CPT, this category of employment is often overlooked. Only students with a job offer and sponsorship from one of the listed organizations are eligible. However, for those lucky students that do have such sponsorship, there are clear benefits to this category of employment.
Requirements to work for an international organization:
* The student must have an internship/employment with a “recognized international organization.” To see a recent listing of all “recognized international organizations, click here
* The employment must be within the scope of the organization’s sponsorship, and within the student’s field of study.
* The student must have been in valid F-1 status for at least one full academic year
* The student must be in good academic standing
If you meet these requirements, you can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Only after you receive your EAD, which can take up to 3 months, can you start to work.
There are certain advantages of this type of employment when compared to CPT or OPT.
* Employment does not have to be for-credit nor required for your degree program
* Regardless of how much or how long you work, this type of employment will not take away from your 12-month post-completion OPT
To see the text of the entire rule governing off-campus employment with recognized international organizations by F1 students, click here.
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The number of international students in Sweden has been growing rapidly, primarily due to two factors. First, because Sweden is so committed to universal English in its population, there are lots of academic offerings in English. International students can find English language programs in all of the most popular disciplines — which include social sciences, business or law (34.8 % of international student in Sweden); engineering, manufacturing and construction (17.9%); humanities and arts (17.6%); sciences (12.4%); health and welfare (9.1%); and education (4.8%). The number of international students in Sweden has now surpassed 36,000.
Second, international students pay no tuition!! Just like Swedish students, international students admitted to Swedish undergraduate or masters programs can attend without paying any tuition. This is reflective of an overall commitment to higher education — Sweden ranked third in spending worldwide on tertiary education at 2.2% of GDP, behind only Denmark and Norway.
For more information on the increasing number of international students in Sweden, read the whole article from StudyinSweden.se here.
However, this great deal is being threatened. Sweden has proposed charging tuition to all international students except those from EU countries. This week, Swedish universities and unions went on the record to object to the government proposal . Academics are concerned that proposals to introduce tuition fees for international students at Sweden’s universities could discourage gifted foreign students from coming to study in Sweden.
To find out more, you can read the entire article from The Local here. Lets hope that Sweden maintains its commitment to international education, as any affordable international education program, no matter how few spots are available, provides hope and opportunity to students that couldn’t otherwise afford to go abroad.
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Today’s post covers Curricular Practical Training (CPT), a category of off-campus employment allowed for F1 students in the US. This post is part of our series covering employment rules for international students in English-speaking countries. You can see the earlier posts here:
Curricular Practical Training
Curriculur Practical Training (CPT) is an off-campus employment option for F1 students when the practical training is an integral part of the established curriculum or academic program. CPT employment is defined as “alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” To qualify, the work experience must be required for your degree, or academic credit must awarded. And yes, you can get paid for CPT employment. Prior authorization by your school’s international student office and notification to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is required.
To be eligible for CPT employment:
*You must have been enrolled in school full-time for one year on valid F1 status (except for graduate students where the program requires immediate CPT)
*The CPT employment must be an integral part of your degree program or requirement for a course for which you receive academic credit
*You must have received a job offer that qualifies before you submit your CPT authorization request
*Your job offer must be in your major or field of study
Your International Student Office must authorize you for CPT. Once you receive CPT authorization, you can only work for the specific employer and for the specific dates authorized (unlike with OPT or severe economic hardship off-campus employment, where you can work anywhere in the US). Your CPT authorization will also specify whether you are approved for part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week) CPT employment. While in school, you can only be approved for part-time CPT.
Regardless of whether you are approved for full or part-time on CPT, there is no limit to how long you can work. However, if you work full-time on CPT for 12 months or more, you are not eligible for OPT. If you work part-time on CPT, or full-time on CPT for less than 12 months, you are still eligible for all of your allowable OPT. So make sure you watch the dates and hours closely – don’t jeopardize your OPT!
As with all employment, you should work closely with your international student office. The general rules will apply somewhat differently to undergraduates, graduate students and PhD candidates, and the advisors in your international student office can guide you. They can help you determine your eligibility for CPT, make sure your job offer qualifies, and make sure you follow all necessary steps in applying to USCIS. They also have to authorize your CPT, so you have no choice – you have to work with them. But they are pros, especially when it comes to USCIS regulations, so use them – they are there to help you.
To see the text of the entire rules governing Curricular Practical Training by F1 students, click here and scroll down to paragraph (10)(i).
Approved International Institutions
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Today’s post covers Optional Practical Training (OPT), a category of off-campus employment allowed for F1 students in the US. This post is part of our series covering employment rules for international students in English-speaking countries. You can see earlier posts in the series here:
Optional Practical Training
International students in the US in valid F1 immigration status are permitted to work off-campus in OPT status both during and after completion of their degree. Rules established by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) govern the implementation of OPT, and all OPT employment requires prior authorization from USCIS and from your school’s International Student Office.
You can apply for OPT after being enrolled for at least 9 months, but you cannot begin employment until you receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS and you have been enrolled for at least a year. You do not need to have a job offer to apply for your OPT EAD, and your OPT employment can occur anywhere in the US. Start early — USCIS takes up to 90 days to process your application – and make sure you work closely with your school’s International Student Office. As with everything you will do while in the US, permission is based on maintaining lawful F1 status, and your International Student Office is there to help you maintain that status throughout your stay.
General OPT Requirements
• Employment must be “directly related” to the student’s major
• Student must maintain lawful F1 status
• Student must apply for OPT before completion of all work towards a degree
• Students who have engaged in 12 months or more of full-time Curriculur Practical Training (CPT) are not eligible for OPT
• OPT is permitted for up to 12 months full-time in total – part-time OPT (while still in school) reduces available full-time OPT by half of the amount of part-time work (for instance, if you work part time for 6 months, you can work full-time for up to 9 months)
Students can be authorized for 12 months of OPT for each successive level of degree achieved – for instance, you can do 12 months of OPT after receiving your undergraduate degree, go back to graduate school, and then do 12 months of OPT after receiving your graduate degree. Pre-completion OPT (students are still in school) and post-completion OPT (students have completed their degree) each have different rules:
OPT before completing a degree:
• Students must be enrolled in school full-time
• Students may only work 20 hours per week while school is in session
• Students may work full-time during summer and other breaks (as long as the student will return to school after the break)
• Student may work full-time after completion of all coursework, if a thesis or dissertation is still required and student is making normal progress towards the degree
OPT after completing a degree:
• After completion of your degree, OPT work must be full time (40 hours/week)
• All OPT must be completed within 14 months after completion of your degree
• Applications for post-completion OPT must be received by USCIS before the completion of the degree
One final note – be mindful of the travel regulations governing F1 students on OPT. If you leave the country after completion of your degree, but before receiving your EAD and obtaining a job, you may not be readmitted. You can leave the country after completion of your degree if you have your EAD and a job, but make sure you bring everything that you’ll need to get back in (including valid passport, valid EAD card, valid F1 visa, all your I-20s with page 3 endorsed for travel by your international student advisor within the past 6 months, and a letter of employment, including dates of employment and salary).
To see the text of the entire rules governing Optional Practical Training by F1 students, click here and scroll down to paragraph (10)(ii).
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Approved International Institutions
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Following our post explaining the rules for F1 students working on-campus, the next four posts will address the four general categories of off-campus employment opportunities for F1 students. As a general rule, off-campus employment is regulated more strictly, and employment requires prior authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
Off-Campus Employment. International students in F-1 status have several off-campus employment options available to them, provided they are maintaining lawful student status and are doing well academically.
The four general categories of off-campus employment are:
Severe Economic Hardship
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Curriculur Optional Training (CPT)
Recognized International Institution
Severe Economic Hardship
Any F1 student suffering “severe economic hardship” as defined by USCIS is eligible to work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and full-time during breaks.
To be eligible, a student must:
* be in valid F-1 status for at least one academic year (9 months)
* be in good academic standing
* provide evidence of economic hardship based on unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control
* show that on-campus employment is neither available nor sufficient
* make a good faith effort to locate employment on campus before applying
The rule gives examples of the types of things that could be considered “severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control.” These circumstances may include:
• loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student
• substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate
• inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs
• unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s source of support
• medical bills
• or other substantial and unexpected expenses.
You must apply for an “employment authorization document” (EAD) with the help and guidance of your International Student Office — you do not need a job offer before you apply for the EAD. But several forms and documents are required, together with fees and photos, etc., and processing can take up to 12 weeks or longer — and you cannot start work until you receive the EAD. The designated school official (DSO) at your school’s International Student Office — typically an international student advisor — must certify to USCIS that you meet all the requirements.
Once you receive the EAD, you may work for an employer at any job, anywhere in the United States. Employment authorization is automatically terminated when a student fails to maintain valid F1 status.
To see the text of the entire rules governing “severe economic hardship” off-campus employment by F1 students, click here and scroll down to paragraph (9)(ii)(C).
Links to posts in our international student employment rules series:
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Recognized International Institution
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Most international students in the
Generally, all employment is contingent on remaining within the terms and restrictions of your F1 visa. There are several categories of employment during the term of your stay as an F1 student in the
On-Campus Employment. On-campus employment is the category most freely permitted by the USCIS regulations, and does not require USCIS approval. However, although F1 status includes an on-campus employment privilege, on-campus employment opportunities at most schools are limited. Even if you can obtain on-campus employment, you may not rely on it to prove financial resources for the year, and often these jobs are not related to your studies. Many schools do require that you obtain permission from the International Student Office prior to accepting any on-campus employment, and may not permit such employment in a student’s first semester or year.
For on-campus work, an F1 student is subject to the following rules:
* You can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session
* You can work full time on campus during holidays and vacation periods, if you intend to register for the next academic semester.
* The employment may not displace (take a job away from) a
The definition of on-campus employment includes:
Since your status is always contingent on your school’s support, you must seek guidance and clearance from your International Student Office prior to applying for or accepting any employment, and you should request their particular interpretation of any ambiguous situation. You will also need your school’s guidance to ensure that you file all appropriate forms with USCIS and receive any necessary USCIS approval.
To see the text of the entire rules governing on-campus employment by F1 students, click here.
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International students cannot and should not rely on employment during school as a primary funding source for their education. For one thing, you typically cannot use future employment income to meet the financial requirements of your visa. In addition, students cannot earn enough to fund their education solely or primarily through work.
However, there are definitive advantages to being able to work while you study internationally. The income can help supplement other sources of funds, and can provide living and travel expenses. The experience you will gain is invaluable, and will help you to get the most out of your time abroad. You will learn to use your English skills in a different setting. You may find a job related to your future career, which will give you a significant advantage when applying for jobs after graduation. And regardless of the type of work, employers want employees who have worked, not just studied.
Canada Off-Campus Employment
The next few posts will highlight the employment rules for international students studying in english speaking countries. We’ll start with Canada, which has had the most dramatic recent change. There are over 150,000 international students in Canada, and as of this semester, the majority of them are eligible to work off-campus. Previously, international students were restricted to on-campus work, as they are in the US.
On-campus work is very limited, difficult to obtain, typically not very lucrative, and not often related to your studies. So opening up off-campus work for international students in Canada is a great leap forward, and will help to make Canada an even more attractive location for international students.
Some details of the new rules, adopted last April:
In order to be eligible for the Canadian program, foreign students must have a valid study permit, and they must have studied full-time at an eligible Canadian public, post-secondary institution for at least six months out of the 12 months preceding their work permit application. Schools must sign an agreement with the province or territory in which they are located in order to participate in the program. The agreement includes monitoring and reporting requirements to ensure that students retain their eligibility for the program.
Under agreements with the provinces, eligible full-time students who retain satisfactory academic standing can apply to work for a maximum of 20 hours a week off-campus while
classes are in session and full-time during scheduled breaks (including summer or winter
holidays and reading weeks).
Exchange students, students enrolled in English- or French-as-a-second-language programs, and students who have received awards from the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program, the Government of Canada Awards Program or the Canadian International Development Agency are not eligible for work permits under the Off-Campus Work Permit Program.
For more information, read the full press release from Citizenship and Immigration Canada regarding the new rules here:
Today there are 2 scholarships that I’d like to draw attention to, both for students from particular countries, and a quick update on the Saudi scholarships.
First, the Karim Rida Said Foundation provides full and partial scholarships for Master’s degree study in the UK to Iraqi, Jordanian, Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian students. You must have a first degree, be proficient in English, agree to return home, have two years work experience, and meet some other requirements. Application deadlines vary throughout the early part of the year based on the school in England that you will attend. For more information or for an application, go to: http://www.krsf.org/whatwedo/masters.shtml
You can also find this scholarship listed on InternationalScholarships.com: InternationalScholarships.com/KarimRidaSaidFoundationScholarship
The Get Foundation provides one or two $5,000 scholarships per year to deserving students from Hong Kong, based on financial need, to pursue undergraduate education at schools in the US. Application deadline is April 15 of each year. For more information or for the application go to: http://www.thegetfoundation.org/
The Saudi scholarship program, under which the Saudi royal family will pay full scholarships for up to 15,000 Saudi students in the US each year, is in full swing. Of the 10,229 Saudi students registered at schools in the US for this fall, the Saudi embassy reports that over 90% of them are receiving scholarships. President Bush and Saudi King Abdullah launched this program last year, and by next year it is expected that the full 15,000 scholarships will be awarded. Click here to read a CNN story with more information on the impact of these scholarships: CNN story on Saudi scholarships
After our short series on evaluating school program costs, budgeting and opening a US bank account, I thought this article from the Jacksonville Times-Union online was very interesting and timely.
The point — everyone knows that college tuition has been increasing rapidly, but recently there has been a significant rise in all other college-related costs. An excerpt from the article:
“It’s no secret that college tuition has been on an upward climb for the better part of a decade.
What might be a surprise for college students and their parents, though: the rising cost of everything else, from books to cafeteria food to transportation.
The College Board, in its annual survey of college pricing, is reporting big increases on all those incidentals college students can’t live – or study – without: textbooks, supplies and a room to call their own. It’s a national trend that has touched most every school, from community colleges to four-year universities, both public and private. And while Southern states fared better than, say, the Northeast, books, supplies, transportation and room and board in recent years have all been hit by upticks in price.”
Click here to read the rest of the story:
College Costs On the Rise — Times Union Story