International Students' Frequently Asked Questions

Christine Lagarde speaks with students

While you are enrolled at and attending the Elliott School, you have the option to intern and/or work, and you must follow the federal regulations established by the U.S. government. GW's International Services Office will work with you to understand the regulations and ensure your work experience adheres to those guidelines. GSCD works collaboratively with GWU's International Services Office and may coordinate specific programs for students with an F-1 or J-1 visa. Below is a list of frequently asked questions for international students that you might find helpful. 

  1. What are some resources that I might want to take advantage of in GSCD, and when can I start utilizing GSCD? answer
  2. In addition to GSCD, what other campus resources could I use to strengthen my employability? answer
  3. As an international student on a student visa, am I allowed to work and/or intern in the U.S.? answer
  4. Can I start interning/working off-campus before I complete my first year of studies after I am enrolled at the Elliott School? answer
  5. How will an internship help me obtain my professional goals? answer
  6. Am I eligible for internship grants? answer
  7. How do I search for a paid position on campus after I enroll at the Elliott School? answer
  8. How can I connect with Elliott School alumni, and how can they help me? answer
  9. Which employers often hire international students? answer

1. What are some resources that I might want to take advantage of in GSCD, and when can I start utilizing GSCD?

  • All GSCD services and resources are available to assist you with your professional development while you are studying at the Elliott School. 
  • It is important to make an appointment with a Career Coach before the end of the fall semester of your first year to discuss career goals and to create an action plan for achieving these goals. 
  • You might also consider working with a Career Coach to craft an American-style resume and cover letter as well as conduct a mock (practice) interview to help prepare for your meetings with potential employers.
  • Additionally, it is a good idea to meet with a Career Coach at least once a semester to ensure you are making progress toward achieving your career goals or make adjustments as your career plans change. 
  • Participating in employer events such as site visits, info sessions or career panels is a great way to learn about future employment/internship opportunities.
  • GSCD also offers business cards for purchase, a free LinkedIn profile picture service, and resource guides to help locate fellowships, craft job search letters and more!

2. In addition to GSCD, what other campus resources could I use to strengthen my employability?

  • GWU Writing Center: The GW Writing Center is an open, welcoming, professional environment within which members of the GW community can receive dedicated attention to their writing projects. 
  • GWU Language Exchange: A GW program that offers students an oppotunity to connect with others in the GW community for language practice and cultural discovery. 
  • GWU Counseling Center: An office that supports mental health and personal development by collaborating with students to overcome challenges and difficulties that may interfere with academic, emotional and personal well-being. Our professional counselors provide a safe and non-judgemental environment for students to discuss concerns.
  • GWU Center for Civic Engagement: A program that meets community needs beyond the campus, promotes active citizenship in a diverse democracy, and enhances teaching, learning and scholarship at GW.
  • GWU Alumni Relations: The GW international alumni network comprises more than 8,400 graduates living in 150 countries. The GW Alumni Association, with more than 250,000 members, provides you with a variety of opportunities to stay connected, access benefits and get involved with your University and fellow alumni.

3. As an international student on a student visa, am I allowed to work and/or intern in the U.S.?

  • Depending on your visa type, you may be eligible to work, intern or volunteer while pursuing your Elliott School degree. Additionally, you may be eligible to volunteer while pursuing your degree.
  • GW's International Services Office will work with you to understand the regulations and ensure your work experience adheres to those guidelines.
  • Please make sure to meet with your ISO adviser to discuss the process for obtaining work authorization before you begin applying for positions. 

4. Can I start interning/working off-campus before I complete my first year of studies after I am enrolled at the Elliott School?

  • Perhaps, if the internship is advertised as unpaid. However, it is best to speak with your GSCD Career Coach and ISO Adviser to determine any potential problems or situations that may affect your immigration status. For more information, please contact the International Services Office at iso@gwu.edu and GSCD at escareer@gwu.edu.

5. How will an internship help me obtain my professional goals?

  • An internship will provide you with a better understanding of the workplace in your chosen field and strengthen technical and/or professional skills needed to perform a particular role. 
  • A successful internship may also result in an invaluable mentoring relationship with a supervisor or colleague who can assist with future job contacts and employer references. 
  • For more information about specific Elliott School internship resources, please log into ESCC

6. Am I eligible for internship grants?

  • Yes, and currently there are at least four internship grants available, including the Freeman Foundation Fellowship Grant, the Elliott School International Internship Grant, the Career Development Fellowship and the GWU Knowledge in Action Career Internship Grant (KACIF). For more information on the Freeman Foundation Fellowship Grant and the Elliott School International Internship Grant, please view the application requirements in the Elliott School Career Connection (ESCC) system (password required).

7. How do I search for a paid position on campus after I enroll at the Elliott School?

  • We encourage you to search through ESCC, check with your academic program, visit GWork and GW Human Resources to search for paid on-campus positions. Note: International students cannot be employed in a GWU campus position with benefits. 

8. How can I connect with Elliott School alumni, and how can they help me in my job/internship search?

  • Elliott School alumni are working in many international organizations, including in the private sector, NGOs and the non-profit sector. 
  • Networking with Elliott School alumni is often instrumental in finding internship and employment opportunities, and you will have many options to network with alumni both in person and online. Employer networking panels and employer site visits feature alumni in various fields, and you will have access to the ESCC Professional Network and the Elliott School LinkedIn groups to find alumni online.

9. Which employers hire international students?

Once you receive your Optional Practical Training (OPT) after graduation, you might consider a range of employers.

  • Many international students seek to remain in the United States for at least a year after graduation and find their nationality is an advantage in working for international organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank, or Inter-American Development Bank. 
  • Graduates also have found opportunities to work for institutions from their respective home countries that have offices in the U.S. or in countries around the globe. 
  • Major management consulting firms, selected development consulting firms, research institutions and think tanks may hire international students. 
  • The range of organizations is very diverse, and it is best to discuss this question with a Career Coach to determine, based on your professional interest, past experience and career goals, which employers are good targets for further research. 

If you decide to enroll at the Elliott School and pursue a job search in the U.S. after graduation, we strongly encourage you to pay close attention to the OPT time limits and application process. Working with the ISO Adviser will help ensure a smooth transition after graduation. 

 

Contact Graduate Student Career Development

Location

Graduate Student Career Development
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Suite 603
Washington, DC 20052 
202-994-3788 (p)
202-994-7702 (f)
escareer@gwu.edu

Office Hours:

Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
   (During the academic year)
After-hours by appointment only