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The primary function of the study abroad and exchanges office is to advise students who want to study abroad. We are often asked about ways to add to the experience of study through working for pay, getting volunteer experience, and participating in internships for academic credit. If you are interested in getting some hands-on experience in your host country while you are studying abroad, read the options below and then come in to see one of our study abroad advisors to discuss your options.
In the U.S., students visiting from abroad are not allowed to work for pay unless the work site is pre-approved and the work is related to their academic studies. While you are abroad you will find the same kinds of restrictions apply to you. When you study abroad you are considered a student, and your entry visa will most likely prohibit you from working for pay in your host country. Many students work extra part-time jobs in the U.S. before departure in order to earn the extra spending money they want to have while they are abroad. Please keep in mind that working abroad without a legal work permit is usually illegal and could put you at risk for immediate deportation.
Giving your time and energy to organizations and people in need is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of your host country. The best way to make sure you will have the chance to volunteer while you are abroad is to choose a program that incorporates community service in the curriculum. An excellent example of this type of program is the Jamaica Field Service short term program run through our partners at SUNY Potsdam. You can also wait until you arrive at your host institution and talk to your international student coordinator there about student clubs that may perform community service activities.
Internships are a great way to add real-life experience to your academic preparation. Please remember that internships abroad are unpaid and offered for academic credit only due to immigration and labor laws. If you are interested in participating in an internship as part of your study abroad, be prepared to do some research well in advance of your application. If participating in an internship is one of the reasons why you want to study abroad, please make an appointment to speak with a study abroad advisor to discuss your options because several SUNY Plattsburgh programs offer internship options as part of their programs. Typically an internship replaces one course.
If you would like more information about study abroad and exchange opportunities at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact us at:
Global Education Office
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
Phone: (518) 564-3287
Toll-Free Phone: (800) 388-6784
Fax: (518) 564-3292
Location: We are on the second floor of the Kehoe Administration Building on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus.