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Foreign Student Series: Working While Studying in the US

In part 19, we examine the rules about employment for international students. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

This week in our Foreign Student Series, we discuss rules about getting a job while studying in the United States.

International students are permitted to work for the college or university they attend or for a business at the school. But the business must directly provide a service to students. You could work at the bookstore, for example, but not for a construction company that is building something on campus. Also, a foreign student cannot displace an American citizen in a job.

International students can work twenty hours a week while attending classes; more during school breaks. You can work until you complete your studies.

Foreign students normally cannot take a job that has no connection to their school. But the government may give permission if students are suddenly faced with a situation that is out of their control. Examples include large medical bills, the loss of financial aid or an unexpected change in the financial condition of their source of support.

Students must also meet other conditions. They must have attended their American school for at least one year. Government approval is given on a case-by-case basis. Students must re-apply after a year if they want to continue an off-campus job.

Foreign students who will be attending graduate school can apply for some jobs before they come to the United States. A good example is a university job like a teaching or research assistantship.

Some schools pay their assistants. Others provide free education in return. Many do both.

Graduate assistants might teach, give tests, grade work, assist professors with research and hold office hours. Many universities now provide language training to foreign teaching assistants to help them improve their English. Some schools require foreign students to pass an English speaking test before they are permitted to teach.

International student offices at schools have to provide information on students each term to the Department of Homeland Security. Students who violate the terms of their visa -- for example, by working off-campus without permission -- could be sent home.

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. Our Foreign Student Series continues next week. The earlier reports are at I'm Jim Tedder in Washington.