Finishing an international program of study is an exciting time, full of possibilities as you prepare to move on to the next stage in your life. After your classes are done, you may wish to stay in the United States or even travel elsewhere in order to engage in further training or cultural exchange opportunities. If so, here are some options you might consider:

Optional Practical Training

OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING, also known as OPT, is temporary work authorization available to F-1 international students who have been full-time students for at least two consecutive semesters and plan to seek employment in the United States in their fields of study. OPT is a benefit of a student’s F-1 status and eligible students can apply to receive up to 12 months of employment authorization.

Students studying science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) may be eligible for a STEM OPT extension, which allows you to stay and work in the United States for 24 months after graduation.

How to pursue: Reach out to your school’s international office to learn more about eligibility, the application process, and filing deadlines.

Cultural Exchange

If you are interested in engaging in cultural opportunities after your international program concludes, there are many different types of programs to consider. You’ll want to look for one that aligns with your interests, passions, and finances. Here are a few options:

SMALLER EARTH – a community for young people who want to work and travel overseas through cultural exchange.

CET ACADEMIC PROGRAMS – a study abroad organization that offers a variety of semester, summer, and customized programs around the world for students.

WYSE TRAVEL CONFEDERATION – a membership of more than 500+ organizations engaged in youth, student or educational travel – such as accommodation, volunteering, educational exchange, study abroad, work and travel, language learning, and au pair programs.

How to pursue: Research which program is right for you and apply directly through their organization.