International Students and Internships

International students are strongly encouraged to find internship experiences while enrolled at St. Olaf.  To do an internship, international students need to have been enrolled at St. Olaf for one full year (first year international students and exchange students are not eligible for internships). International students who find U.S.–based internship opportunities off campus MUST register for academic internship credit.  Students need to coordinate with both the Piper Center and with the Visa Coordinator in the International and Off-Campus Studies Office.  Internships may be paid or unpaid.

International students are encouraged to find internship opportunities in their home countries.  Particularly over interim, they could receive academic internship credit without incurring additional tuition fees, all the while gaining valuable work experience.   International students who find internship opportunities outside of the United States (interim or summer) would not need to follow CPT requirements (would not need to register for academic internship credit).

The Visa Coordinator will require the following prior to authorizing Curricular Practical Training (CPT):

  1. The completed Academic Internship Learning Agreement and Plan with all signatures (available from this site)
  2. Registration of the internship credit in SIS by the Registrar
  3. Letter from the employer on letterhead with a site supervisor signature, which addresses:
    • student’s name
    • dates of employment
    • paid or unpaid
    • number of hours per week
    • brief description of responsibilities
    • where the work will happen, a specific address (not PO Box)

The Visa Coordinator requires all of the information listed in order to authorize the CPT through SEVIS. CPT must be done on a term by term basis. The dates of employment must coincide with the semester registered for the internship credit. The work authorized under CPT must directly relate to the student’s field of study. Students can only work a total of up to 20 hours/week for all work (on and off campus) during the academic year (when classes are in session).  This means if they are working an on-campus job at 12 hours/week and an internship job at 8 hours/week, they are fine.  But if the total number of hours worked goes over 20 hours/week, they are ineligible and would be considered illegal.

Any questions about CPT should be directed to St. Olaf’s Visa Coordinator, who resides in the International and Off-Campus Studies Office in Tomson Hall.

Additional Resources for International Students

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Wonder what previous international students have done with CPT? Check out our brand new CPT student internships database.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Passport Career – holds country-specific internship and job search information, including regional information for the U.S.
Department of Labor – lists companies that have hired F-1 visa students
Top 1000 H1B Visa and Green Card Sponsors
Search H1B Sponsoring Organizations
The US Job Search for International Students
E-verify – search for businesses that use this system to check immigration status – Myvisajobs launched cap exempt H1B visa and employer database
Uniworld – search for multinational companies – more information about employment options for international students
VISA 101 – The Basics of Hiring St. Olaf International Students


International Students, click here for more information about your special circumstances related to work.