CSI Professionals Inc. sat down with our International Students, who are all current interns working to fulfill their CPT/OPT requirements. The students had learned about CSI through career events and seminars held at their college campus such as Cal State La, USC, LaVerne, etc, while some were referrals from successful F1 students turned into H1b- Specialty Occupation and Green card, from before. The students are all currently working on their CPT/OPT before they graduate. The students were asked questions ranging from how they are currently feeling through the pandemic, their concerns when it comes to finishing their training, how to continue working on their training or having a chance to change their status after COVID-19.
Q: What was the first reaction after your school was closed by COVID-19?
Calvin, a student intern from Cal State LA stated that it was inevitable that the campus was closing as the school did start canceling all the school events such as club meetings/gatherings and job fairs. He felt that it was the right call for the school to close. Another student intern from USC, Susie, agreed that the all campuses would end up canceling classes because of how spreadable COVID-19 was. However she felt worried about how she would understand her classes now due to no face to face instructions but rather through online. Two student interns from University of La Verne named Luisa and Mike held concerns as to how they would be graduating now as the pandemic continues on and putting their plans for the future after graduation on hold. Some of these students also felt that their parents’ years of investments putting them to school in the US will become a waste because their future remains uncertain now. They are all starting to feel that they might have to be sent back home by their schools or USCIS may just cancel their F1’s.
Q: What is your plan if you aren’t able to fulfill your OPT requirement before graduation?
The hope of all the students is that their employers would continue their OPT training but know that it might be difficult during the pandemic. Intern named Mike from LA Verne said that if he wasn’t able to fulfill their OPT requirement before graduation then his options were either heading back to his home country or he would enroll in school again. There are of course concerns into going back to school again as it is another financial burden not only for himself but his parents. And if there would be companies who would still be interested in hiring foreigners or trainees under CPT and OPT.
Q: Do you have a desire to stay in the US in terms of wanting experience or are you planning on heading home?
Calvin from Cal State LA wanted to continue to stay and wanted to have more work experience. He felt that he had more opportunities here rather than his home country and that he could work to become eligible for a change of status in the future. While Luisa from La Verne had the opposite thought as she wanted to return to her home country and work there. She liked having the experience and felt that she could use her experience back home. Additionally, Calvin is friends with CSI Professionals recent and prior successful candidates from F1 CPT-OPT-H1b- and now Green Card. He of course has heard all about the American Dream and that he knows that he can achieve the change of status just like his friends but it might be a while now due to another reason which is the pandemic.
Q: Are you currently paying for classes? If so, how are you currently paying for classes?
The students are all currently still in their spring semester and have their classes all online now with the occasional video call from their professors when it comes to having exams or lectures. Paying for classes has not changed in the slightest as some schools require you to pay before you enroll in classes. Some of the interns are still able to work from home which does help. In reality, student interns or CPT/OPT interns are not really expected by the Government to pay their dues in school through their earnings from training. They were expected as foreign students to have sufficient funding on their own or from their family or personal sponsors who provided them affidavits.
Q: What kind of support are you getting during this time of lockdown? From Friends, family, etc?
The students are all hanging in there during the lockdown season, school keeps them occupied due to classes. They all have kept in touch with their friends and family in isolation through video chat or phone call. The interns that are still able to work part-time from home and are getting support from work which can help them get by during the lockdown.
Some of them, their families are not living with the students and that they support their child from their home country. The question now is, how long will this sustain them and will they be given equal opportunities as well as the thousands and expected to rise locals or Americans who are now losing their jobs. There has been too much talk about the expected cycle of not just a recession but a “great depression” due to the rising unemployment rates and the low stocks of the economy. How will the many foreign workers feel when it’s American first before them after the pandemic. What are we holding on to now? Faith, Hope and Believing that this too shall pass and when everything is down, there is no other way, but to rise again!
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*(Please note that while these are information gathered on current news; this is reinforced by our opinion and may not be construed as a form of advice)*