A big number of international students arrive at the United States each year. Some of them have to pay the tuition and other fees, while some have received grants or scholarships. However, for both types of students becoming independent from parents after enrolling into college is an important thing, and finding a job to cover personal expenses is always a benefit. For others, it is crucial to help the parents by earning money to share the expenses. There are many other advantages in working during the studies, and it is important for the international students to know of the benefits of this experience, as well as the information on how, when and where to get it. Being the holders of F-1 or J-1 types of visas, the students do not have a permission to work in the United States of America without authorization from the official immigration bodies or international office of their college. Finding an off-campus job without an official permit may get the students into big troubles, including them being removed from the country with their visas being cancelled. However, the American universities provide the on-campus job opportunities in abundance for both domestic and international students. In order to avoid mistakes and reap the benefits from working and studying at the same time, the students should get as much information about the existing opportunities and how to seize them.
The first source that the international students should consult when looking for an on-campus job are the representative of the international office of their college. These people constantly deal with the issue and are, as a result, updated about the new possibilities. Moreover, they can help the students with filling out and filing the documents required for getting a job and receiving a social security number. The second most credible source is the university website that usually has a separate section dedicated to the possible experience of the international students in America, including the on-campus job opportunities. The webpage usually contains general guidelines about how to search for an on-campus job, as well as criteria of eligibility. Universities often post information about the job opportunities or where to look for them, as well as list the benefits the students get from working on campus. For example, the International Center of the University of Michigan suggests that the students look for jobs in the Student Employment Office, check the Michigan Daily Classified Ads, in particular the Help Wanted section, the Residence Hall Housing Office, Michigan League and Michigan Union, the University Library, various departments, computing centers, etc. (“On-Campus Employment for F-1/J-1 Students”). Thus, in general, the students can find jobs in various facilities that provide services to students. However, they can also find the off-campus jobs that will be considered as the on-campus job experience. According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Basic Guidelines, the off-campus jobs can be taken only if they are “associated with the school’s established curriculum or part of contractually funded research projects at the postgraduate level” (“Employment”). At the same time, if the on-campus job does not provide services for the students, it cannot be deemed an on-campus job, with the example being the construction works on the campus territory (“Employment”). Other sources of information can be student orientation and classes, where professors and other students can guide them on where to find more information.
Although it is often presumed that the students should not start working until their second year in college, there is no such official restriction. Nonetheless, some schools still can impose restrictions on the first-year students (“Working in the USA”). Actually, the student can start working 30 days before the beginning of their program, which is why they should be notified of the opportunities even earlier. In the best-case scenario, the students should find out about the possibilities of the on-campus employment soon after their enrollment. In this case, they can start looking for a job and getting more information about the process beforehand (“On Campus Employment: Working On Campus”). One way why this might be helpful is connected with the provision of all the documents on time in order to get the social security number necessary for the employers to have a student as an employee. According to the regulations, a student needs to present his or her foreign birth certificate as the evidence of age, if he or she can get it within 10 business days (“International Students And Social Security Numbers”). Thus, if a student knows such details before the departure to the United State, he can make sure he has all necessary documents with him to speed up the process.
On-campus jobs provide a number of benefits to the international students. First and foremost, it gives them the opportunity to get an interesting and insightful job experience that will be reflected in their resumes. Although it might at first seem that most on-campus jobs are not what the future employer might be impressed with, including the jobs in the bookshop or the cafeteria (Huhman). However, this is not entirely true, because if reflected in the resume, this experience will prove that a student is a hard-worker, who wanted to dedicate time to getting useful experience starting at the early college years. At the same time, the set of skills acquired at the on-campus job will help shape the personality and professionalism of a person. Among other professional skills that can be developed and improved during the college on-campus job experience is time management. The maximum time the students are allowed to work during the semester is 20 hours, as he has to be a full-time student in the first place (“On-Campus Employment”). If the student feels he has to reduce the number of courses in order to be able to work and study efficiently, he has to be ready to be denied the opportunity to continue the on-campus work. For this reason, students, who work in college, learn to manage their time in such way that they can succeed in both fields, a skill that is very important in the professional life after graduation. From the practical point of view, the benefits from the on-campus employment are obvious: improvement of one’s financial situation. While it is an exception that the students can be allowed to work full-time during studying and only in case of the force majeure situation, working part-time is also a great possibility to partially cover the expenses during the college years. Finally, receiving a social security number is not a must for international students, unless they want to get employed on campus. At the same time, getting one is a big plus, as many service providers ask for a social security number. And although the student does not need to have it, possessing one might solve many problems and alleviate unnecessary stress from having to look for the companies that agree to provide services without the social security number (“Social Security Numbers For Noncitizens”).
On-campus employment is a big opportunity that should not be disregarded by the international students. Having working experience in the United States might turn out to be a great bonus in their resumes, as it will be considered a work in the international environment, when and if the students come back to their home countries. Considering the advantages they get from employment, getting to know about it as early as possible will help the international students prepare the necessary documentation and start searching for opportunities before arriving to the United States. The best way to find as much information as possible is to contact the international office of the college, as it possesses the maximum possible information about the current possibilities. The college experience will thus become not only a great opportunity to impress the future employer with the resume, but will also help shape the personality and improve skills necessary not only in professional life, but in adult life in general.
"Employment." U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Web. 8 Dec. 2014. <http://www.ice.gov/sevis/employment>.
Huhman, Heather R. "5 Reasons Why You Should Get a Job on Campus." USA TODAY. 18 July 2011. Web. 8 Dec. 2014. <http://college.usatoday.com/2011/07/18/five-reasons-why-you-should-get-a-job-on-campus/>.
"International Students And Social Security Numbers." The United States Social Security Administration. Web. 8 Dec. 2014. <http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10181.pdf>.
"On Campus Employment: Working On Campus." Texas State University. Web. 8 Dec. 2014. <http://www.international.txstate.edu/current/employment/oncampus.html#>.
"On-Campus Employment." New York University. Web. 7 Dec. 2014. <http://www.nyu.edu/global/international-immigration-services/students/inbound-to-nyc/active/employment/f-1-employment/on-campus-employment.html>.
"On-Campus Employment for F-1/J-1 Students." University of Michigan. Web. 8 Dec. 2014. <http://www.internationalcenter.umich.edu/immig/fvisa/fj_emplcampus.html>.
"Social Security Numbers For Noncitizens." The United States Social Security Administration. Web. 8 Dec. 2014. <http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10096.pdf>.
"Working in the USA." International Student. Web. 9 Dec. 2014. <http://www.internationalstudent.com/study_usa/way-of-life/working-in-the-usa/>.