Student Stories

10 Tips for International Students Studying in United States

This is a guest post by Sriram Jegatha Aranganathan  for InternMatch’s Student Stories. If you’re interested in getting involved with Student Stories, learn more here.

Below are 10 tips for international students studying in the United States, based on my experience moving from India to study at Indiana Tech:

  1. Connect with your university’s career center and build a relationship with them: Career Center staffs will go a long way to help you connect with an employer
  2. Start thinking about Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT): Go to your international office and enquire about them. It is valuable to gain experience while you are in United States
  3. If you are going into your senior year then, please start your OPT application: Because it takes at least 3 months to process them. And you don’t want to have your job offer letter but not have that OPT employment card to start working
  4. Participate in your school’s alumni activities: You will never know how powerful some alumni are. All the alumni want to give something back to the school and they will be very willing to help you
  5. If you are an athlete, then you will have a very busy schedule: Have your priorities straight, academics always comes first and then athletics comes second. Do not live your life like it’s the last day, there is always a tomorrow. Likewise, there is always a weekend after five weekdays. So, do not party every weekend, just because your friends peer pressure you
  6. Having a good GPA when you graduate is a great achievement: If you are shooting for 3.8 or 4.0 GPA, then start getting good grades from the first year. If you mess up on your first semester, then it is really hard to get back to 3.8 or 4.0
  7. Check your passport’s, visa’s and I-20’s expiry dates every semester end: It is very critical for international students like us to have a valid passport when we enter United States after coming back from home country
  8. Start an organization or be a leader of the international club: You will learn to organize events, market and also communicate well. It is very critical to have leadership and organization skills, college is where you can try anything and also fail miserably and no one will notice it
  9. Get an on-campus job, it will be a starting point to your career: An on-campus job will let you connect with many people from campus and it will also help tackle your expenses. Your parents will be relieved when you say you don’t need any money for personal expenses
  10. Try to go home during the winter break and utilize your summer break: Summer is usually three months long and you can use it to do an internship

About the Author:

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My name is Sriram. I am an international student from Chennai, India.  Currently a senior, graduating in May 2014 with a Mechanical Engineering degree from Indiana Tech. I am also a student athlete who plays tennis for Indiana Tech. Throughout my college career, I have been working for the International Student Admissions Office and also became a resident assistant in my junior year. LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/sriramjegatha 

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