Internships Bring the World To Your Door

Interns can prove to be a valuable asset to small and large companies alike. Interns bring enthusiasm, determination to make their mark, and often a fresh perspective to your work environment. They provide a great value at low-cost, and a company can “try before you buy” by identifying future hires as your company grows.

International students, in addition to the above benefits, also bring global competency and increase the diversity in your company, fostering multicultural awareness among your entire staff. They generally speak two or more languages, which can be especially helpful if you serve a bilingual customer base or are engaged in international business. Many international students come from families that are well educated and well-connected in their country of origin and can foster international relationships if your company is expanding abroad.

And let’s not forget the fun factor. Learning about other countries, their customs, and their food is fun. But teaching international students about American culture can be great fun as well. Watch Skyin Yin’s first experience with a packzi HERE.

Hiring an International Student is really not complicated. International students studying in the US hold an F1 Visa, also known as a student visa. There are a few different authorizations by which an international student can work off campus, but the most common are Curricular Practical Training (CPT) []and Optional Practical Training (OPT) []

CPT is a temporary work authorization for international students on F-1 student visas that may be issued before students complete their degree program. CPT can be authorized for internships or co-ops that are either required for degree completion or deemed “integral” to a student’s degree program, which is defined by the issuing educational institution. In order for a school to authorize CPT, the student must already have a job offer and provide an offer letter on company letterhead that includes the following information:

  • Dates of Internship/co-op
  • Name of Company
  • Address where the student will be physically located during employment
  • Job title/description

OPT is temporary work authorization for international students on F-1 student visas, generally used after a student graduates. All international students are eligible for at least 12 months of OPT after completion of a US degree program. International students who complete a degree with a major in a federally designated STEM field and who work for an employer that is enrolled in the E-Verify system are eligible to apply for 17 additional months of OPT, thus making them eligible for up to 29 total months of work authorization after degree completion.

If you haven’t set up an internship program and would like to get started, contact the universities and colleges in your area and speak to their career services department. While each school is slightly different, the process is generally easy and they offer online portals to make posting internships efficient.

Whether you have an established internship program, or are starting one for the first time, the Global Talent Retention Initiative of Michigan (GTRI) [] can assist you with the process of identifying the world’s top talent and bringing them to your doorstep. GTRI is the first and only known program in the United States developed to retain international student talent as a strategy for economic growth [].  The goal of GTRI is to provide international students and Michigan employers with training and resources on relevant immigration regulations, finding a job and working in Michigan, and the cross-cultural issues that both employers and international applicants may experience during the hiring process.

GTRI’s Global Opportunity Employer program, also known as GOemployer, [] identifies companies interested in providing internships and employment to international students and assisting them in their candidate search. A company can participate in this free program and receive assistance whether they already offer these opportunities, or are interested in starting click here.  [] to learn more and get started.

Stay connected to GTRI by signing up for our newsletter []and joining us on Facebook [],  Twitter, [], and LinkedIn []. All inquiries should be directed to

Written by: Anne Craft, Director of Marketing and Communications for GTRI, an organization committed to economic development by retaining top international talent in Michigan.

International Talent Retention in Michigan: A Pathway To National Competitiveness


In October 2013 GTRI published the report “International Talent Retention in Michigan: A Pathway to National Competitiveness.”

Original Findings of the GTRI Data:

  • Michigan’s international students who use their student visas to work in the U.S. after graduation are nearly as likely (58%) as domestic students (63%) to stay in Michigan rather than choosing another state.
  • Michigan’s international students who work after graduation on their student visa are almost three times as likely (58%) as out-of-state students (22%) to stay in Michigan.
  • Michigan’s international students who work after graduation are more than four times as likely to major in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields (59%) as domestic students (13.7%) nationally and more than three times as liekly as Michigan students (18%).
  • More than four-fifths (82.2%) of Michigan’s international students who use their student visas to work in the U.S. after graduation earned advanced degrees–these are the most talented workers for the new economy.

Click here to download the report: Pathway to National Competitiveness