International students have new work opportunity

Yunhee Roh, Advertising & Business manager
May 7, 2012

A little-known program could help international students get job experience that’s relevant to their majors.

The Optional Practical Training (OPT) program provides international students a unique employment benefit by allowing them to get hands-on, extended experience within their field, according to Renee Savage of the DVC International Student Admissions and Services office. According to Savage, the program can work as a supplement to the international students for studying their majors in the United States.

Students who have an F-1 visa normally cannot apply for a paid job unless it’s on campus. However, campus jobs do not necessarily relate to their field of studies.

Optional Practical Training can change this situation by allowing them to work outside of school.

The requirements for this program are: two semesters in F-1 status in an academic (non-ESL) program with the educational goal of an associate’s degree or certificate. Students completing a transfer program at DVC are not eligible for OPT while at DVC and must wait until they complete a bachelor’s degree before applying. However, students at DVC completing a transfer program are eligible for Curricular Practical Training.

Despite the advantages, only 15 students have applied to this program as of summer 2011, among more than 1,400 international students who enrolled in DVC. This number stands in contrast to the much larger amount of those students who actually want to work.

Savage wants both programs to be more popular. The example of the promotion would be having a workshop on OPT and its partner-program, CPT, as well.

She thinks the reason why there are not large amounts of participating students is because right after they get the results from the universities they would like to transfer to, they usually go back to their own country until the next semester starts.

Also, since the goal of most international students is to transfer, pursuing an associate’s degree comes second. However, among the students who have applied to this program, most are successful in their academic endeavors and advance to the professional world more quickly and easily.

Since the procedure to achieve the working permit card through the Optional Practical Training program takes about 90 days, this time is the perfect moment to apply to be able to work during this summer.

For more details, do not hesitate to visit the international student service office or send an email to Savage, rsavage@dvc.edu.

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