MSU international students face additional employment hurdles

Published: 06/15/2019


MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - About 1,300 international students attend Minnesota State University, Mankato to further their education and get the most out of their experience there, which includes getting work.

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However, Director of International Services Jacy Fry said it can be a hassle for them.

“With that number of students, it’s pretty competitive to find an on campus position so we encourage students to come ready," said Fry.

“For their first and maybe second years of maybe not having an opportunity to work on campus.”

International graduate student Adriana Castelo is originally from Ecuador. Castelo was able to get both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Minnesota, and currently has a current job offer from MSU, Mankato.

She recently applied for an Optional Practical Training (O.P.T.) to work in the U.S. a year after she graduates.

“After graduation we have a year to work here in the United States," said Castelo. 

“So I applied back here in April and I’m still waiting for an answer. It usually takes between two to three months.”

Fry said it can be difficult for students to get work, while also filling out loads of paper work; but they also deal with off-campus employers, who equate hiring international students with extra work.

“There are misconceptions that it’s expensive, that it requires additional paperwork, and it really doesn’t," said Fry.

" You know that would be a conversation much later down the road, you know sponsorship.”

For these students the struggle with getting a job is not solely focused on getting experience, but earning money as well, for simple things like application fees.

“There’s a $410 fee, I think that was the you know a problem for me, cause usually international students we live on a budget, and it’s hard for us to you know have $410 out of nowhere.”

As the students go through this process, they ask employers to be more open to the idea of hiring international students.

"So many talented people come to this country from all over the world and we have so much to offer, " said Castelo.

“I think we are just as qualified as domestic students and it’s great because you know we bring you that diversity aspect of our countries.”

There are about 1,300 students from 97 countries that attend MSU, Mankato.


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