International students: Think career planning as a part of education abroad decision

Career Planning for International Students

Career advancement is one of the most important criteria for many international students while deciding to study abroad. However, as they move forward in their educational experience they face many surprises and challenges in finding internship and job opportunities in the U.S. This ranges from visa constraints, different hiring practices, and inhibiting communication skills.

John Wilkerson, director of international admissions at Indiana University—Bloomington published a very useful article in the U.S. News & World Report where he advises international students to “Evaluate Career Help Before Applying to U.S. Colleges

“You have to dig deeper than the admissions pages on a university website….Finding out what career services are available to international students is important” says Katryna Snow, senior assistant director of international admissions at the University of Vermont in the article.

Snow says students should ask, “Does the university have a specific international student career counselor?” “Do they have programs such as resume writing for international students or international job fairs?”

International students must also carefully plan for their career goals as they are thinking of studying abroad options. This includes considering various experiential opportunities available on-campus and off-campus in line with their career goals. They should also assess their skills and identify areas of strengths and improvements.

Research suggests that “having an accent or speaking broken English created challenges and made [international students] more vulnerable to discrimination during a job search process.” It takes time, effort, and planning to build a portfolio of skills that can help international students increase their chances of success beyond uncontrollable visa constraints.

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