Pursuing The American Dream Is A Nightmare For International Students

By Mansi Sharma


When Stern junior Emily Chae, an international student, imagines life after graduation, she envisions opportunities for international graduates similar to the opportunities that American graduates will receive. But without U.S. citizenship, barriers of dense bureaucratic visa issues and insufficient support from the Wasserman Center leave students like Chae up a creek without a paddle.

“Wasserman was helpful in terms of the general recruiting process and the clear job listings on the OCR job posts…[but] it does not guide us well,” Chae said. “International students use the OGS and Wasserman Career Center, and both handle international employment only when the students already guide themselves to the right industry.” Chae claims that her navigation around the recruitment process came less from the assistance of the Wasserman Center, and more from word-of-mouth advice of seniors who had past experiences with the procedure.

While major tech companies such as Google and Facebook, as well as various investment banking firms, offer sponsorships and opportunities to students, graduates from other fields remain excluded, according to Chae. “I personally don’t know many international students who entered any other industries such as marketing, journalism, start-ups, and retail and so they either return home or go to graduate school — adding to their costs,” claims Chae.

But this isn’t just a problem at NYU. This is something that international students all over the country have to deal with. Last year, President Obama implemented an executive change in visa policies for foreign workers, making it even more difficult for international students to work in the U.S. after graduation. As Claire Groden from the New Republic concisely articulated this past December: “Dear international students: thanks for your tuition. Now go home. Love, Uncle Sam.”

While the Optional Practical Training (OPT) visa is provided for F-1 student visa holders (which most international students possess while studying in the U.S.), once it expires, students may not work in the United States without the sponsorship of an H-1B visa by the corporation they work for. Hence, like many, Chae hopes to see the horizons for aspiring social entrepreneurs like herself to broaden, and to be given the opportunity to contribute and utilize the skills she has gained with her investment here in the United States.

According to federal statistics, over 723,277 students from foreign countries are currently enrolled at U.S colleges and universities — that figure being a 32 percent increase since 2001. The numbers are only bound to continue increasing as time passes. The solution seems to be nowhere in sight, with several students such as Chae remaining concerned about the future of their professional career in the United States.

Although international students do not hold American passports, many of them resonate with the U.S.’s culture and ideologies, some even more so than their own country’s — making it all the more ideal for them to work in the United States. However, the lack of accessibility disable those with talent, scope and qualities that would immensely contribute to the American workforce. With the current policies in place, everyone loses.

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