Questions About GEARE

Questions for International Students

Questions About GEARE

Can undergrad research experience (E.g., SURF, DURI, etc.) be counted as my domestic internship?

Absolutely! Your domestic experience can be either work- or research-based.

How do scholarships work?

Most scholarships are transferrable provided students maintain full-time status while overseas (12 credit hours). For detailed information, please consult the Division of Financial Aid.

What is a co-sponsored program?

Co-sponsored programs are provided by “third party program providers”, which offer a package price on housing, meals, and tuition. It may be cheaper for out-of-state students to opt for co-sponsored programs. However, the transfer of credits and grades may not be direct. GEARE students should always consider DIRECT EXCHANGE programs first.

How do I get a global internship?

In many cases, students perform well in their domestic internships, and employers invite them to participate in a second internship overseas. Past students recommend starting very early to find the international internship if there is any uncertainty. OPP bundles your resumes periodically and sends them to suitable employers and GEARE corporate sponsors. Therefore, it is important for you to maintain the most up-to-date version of your resume on the OPP database so that we can send employers the best and most accurate information about you.

What is the process of applying to a foreign university?

In your 5th semester, you enroll in a 1-credit hour GEARE seminar taught by Joe Tort. This class will prepare you for your time abroad, including ensuring that you get all documents ready, including visa and housing.

Can GEARE students be co-op students and vice versa?

Absolutely, though it will take some careful planning! Co-Op students have to meet with their GEARE coordinator to organize their plan of study.

How do I find living arrangements overseas?

Typically, it is relatively easy. In many cases, employers offer information on housing. Some students find apartments through local craigslist,, etc. Past students recommend living with non-American students while overseas.

When does the international internship start?

It depends on the country. Different countries have different academic calendar. (E.g., German Summer semester is April – Late July). You can negotiate with your employers regarding start/end dates for a 10-12 week internship.

Do I apply for a student visa or a work visa?

Typically, students apply for a student visa, but some employers may wish for you to have a work permit for liability reasons. You can refer your employers to OPP for more information.

How do I fulfill the Global Design Team Project?

Information about the global design team project can be found on the Global Design Team Project page on our website. Typically, GEARE students in mechanical engineering enroll in a special GEARE division of the ME 463 capstone design course.

Do I get grades or credit for my Study Abroad session?

Consult with your respective GEARE coordinators on this issue, as different schools have different rules.

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Questions for International Students

Can I pursue an internship or co-op in the U.S.?

Yes. International students may pursue internship or Co-op experiences. While studying in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa, international students may apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), which will allow them to legally work in the U.S. while in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa.

What is CPT?

CPT is defined as employment which in an integral part of an established curriculum, including "alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school." Source : [8 CFR 214.2 (f) (10) (i)]. CPT is available only prior to the completion of your degree program and you must have a job offer at the time of application.  

Types of CPT

There are two types of CPT; required for the academic program and non-required. For CPT that is required, the academic program mandates practical work experience in the field of study to graduate. For CPT that is a non-required part of the program, the practical work experience is for credit and directly related to your field of study. Most Purdue students will utilize non-required CPT.

Requirements for Non-Required CPT

    • Student must be enrolled in a CPT course. Students should contact the Office of Professional Practice and their academic advisor to discuss registration for the appropriate course.
    • You must have a declared major and the internship or co-op must be related to your field of study.
    • You must enroll in the CPT during the semester in which you do you internship or co-op.
    • You must enroll for the CPT course each semester.
    • Non-required, full-time CPT, is not allowed during a student’s final term.
    • Failure to complete the CPT course will result in your falling out of legal F-1 status.
    • The cost for appropriate Professional Practice course to meet your CPT requirement is $400.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time CPT

Part-Time CPT: Employment for 20 hours or less per week is considered part-time. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in part-time CPT. However, you must also be enrolled in classes full-time while participating in part-time CPT.

Full-Time CPT: Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered full-time. Students are only allotted 12 months of full-time CPT. Using more than 12 months of full-time CPT will invalidate the time available for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

What is OPT?

OPT is temporary employment directly related to a student’s field of study. During OPT, a student remains in F-1 status. Students generally utilize OPT to remain in the U.S. for work related to their field of study after graduation. The standard amount of OPT is 12- months; however students in STEM fields may be eligible for a 17-month STEM extension of OPT.


Who hires international students?

There are a number of companies that can hire student visa holders, though it varies from year to year based on individual employers' recruiting needs. List of companies who will hire student visa holders (coming soon)

Can I participate in the GEARE Program?

International students are welcome to participate in the GEARE program. Students will need to study or show proof of intermediate (202-level) proficiency in a foreign language other than English or their native language. International students participating in GEARE may meet internship/research requirements by completing internship/research in the U.S., their home country, or any other country in the world. Internships completed outside the U.S. will not count against the number of months allotted for CPT or OPT. 

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