Augment Your Education at U.S. Colleges and Universities

As an international student, you may geographically travel far in achieving your goals to study at a college or university in the United States. For best results, go the “extra mile” and make sure your U.S. education includes real-world experiences that will enhance your capabilities anywhere you go.

Internships and co-operative work experiences (called “co-ops”) are excellent ways to solidify and demonstrate your skills beyond the classroom. You could work as an intern, sometimes with pay, during the academic year near your school, or during a break between terms. The career services office at the college or university you attend in the U.S. is a great resource for finding these opportunities in your area of interest or expertise. These career development professionals, along with your school’s international student programs representatives, can advise you on relevant work visa guidelines.

At the graduate level, and especially in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Math) fields, you might find extra opportunities in research positions with faculty in your department. Among your discoveries might be an area of specialization providing added distinction for your life path.

No matter what level of study you’re at or which discipline you pursue, check your campus events calendar for speaker visits. While gaining added wisdom from a talk, you might also make a personal connection with a visiting scholar who could be a valuable contact for you in the future.

Another way to interact with people who make a positive difference is to join student groups on campus. Clubs at many U.S. universities conduct service projects—you can help a cause that’s meaningful to you, and acquire expertise and recognition for your résumé. Leadership roles are especially rewarding in these ways, but be careful to not overextend your time commitments.

In your classes, look for assignments with collaboration aspects. Your organizational skills and/or technological savvy can shine and help your team gain higher grades. These instances can also yield friendships that will make your time happier in an unfamiliar setting.

Take appropriate advantage of office hours with your instructors. A healthy respect and regard for these individuals can benefit your learning with deeper insights on course content, as well as possible mentoring and references down the road.

When you complete your education at a U.S. college or university, remember to keep in touch with its alumni organizations. Following the steps listed here, you will become a valuable member of the institution’s global community, and alumni relationships can further benefit your career and personal endeavors.