The University of Iowa

UI looks to help int'l students find jobs

September 13th, 2011

By Rishabh R. Jain, The Daily Iowan

University of Iowa departments are teaming up to improve job opportunities for international students.

And with a record number of international students at the university this fall, students said they’re happy to have more options.

“There has been a really nice transition in this last year,” said Scott King, the director of the International Student & Scholar Services. “Services for international students aren’t all in this office.”

Students on an F1 visa, the most common for international students, are only allowed to work on-campus jobs.

After one year at the UI, international students can apply for curriculum practical training, which allows them to take internships in their field of study. King said the Students/Scholars Office has received around 200 U.S. Social Security number applications this fall, meaning approximately one-quarter of newly enrolled international students at the UI may have a job.

“Job seeking is different from culture to culture,” he said. “How one finds jobs varies. How you would go about getting a job on campus — say in India — is very different from how you would get one here.”

International students often need to be briefed about such basic things as writing résumés, preparing for interviews, and presenting themselves to better their job prospects, King said.

“Job seeking is different from culture to culture. How you would go about getting a job on campus — say in India — is very different from how you would get one here.”

The Women’s Resource and Action Center at the UI has also started a job-search support group for international students this fall in hopes of providing a forum for international students searching for employment to discuss their problems and benefit from other students’ experiences.

And while the UI is working to improve the job search process for international students, the students themselves said the extra assistance would be welcome.

“I don’t want to rely on my parents for everything. I should at least be able to feed myself,” said Sheyu Yan, a UI freshman who has been trying to find a job for over five months.

UI freshman Devanshi Mishra a said many on-campus jobs listed on jobnet require technical skills and experience in certain fields which some freshman students such as herself don’t have.

But others said they haven’t struggled to find employment.

“Timeliness and being organized can help you secure an on campus job easily,” said UI sophomore Kirti Mann, who works at the University Bookstore. The job has not only enabled her to pay her own rent, she said, it has also improved her communication skills and helped her make many friends.

On Thursday, the Pomerantz Career Center, in partnership with the Students/Scholars Office, will launch a new Career Series to help international students increase their job prospects.

“The Career Series for International Students offers international students the opportunity to learn important information and practice key skills that will enhance their job and internship search,” said Amanda Wilson, a career adviser and international-student specialist at Pomerantz Career Center.

“Students who attend these sessions will be better prepared to conduct their job and internship search.”

The new series is aimed at improving employment prospects for international students by educating them on legal and cultural aspects of employment in the United States. It will feature workshops on various aspects of the hiring process.