What is a Professional Exchange?
Professional exchanges, such as internships and teaching or research fellowships, provide opportunities for international visitors to gain career experience or to share their knowledge or skills while living in the United States. These exchanges can last from a few weeks to a few years.
Examples of professional programs include:
- Temporary teaching positions
- Advanced degree or research opportunities
- Internships at an organization or institution
- Short-term international visitor programs
- Temporary employment in hospitality to summer camps
Professional exchange positions are generally awarded based on:
- Current/recent university student or employment status
- Previous academic performance, research, or job experience
- The significance of the applicant's proposed studies, research, or instruction
- English proficiency or age eligibility
You may be asked to submit letters of reference from colleagues who are familiar with your work.
Participants with Disabilities
Many people with disabilities have traveled to the United States to gain career experience or to share their expertise! People with disabilities in the U.S. work in a variety of professional fields, just like people without disabilities, including education, law, public policy, business, nonprofit management, and more.
You have the right to apply to any professional exchange program. Some programs will have experience hosting participants with disabilities, while others may be less familiar with how to make their programs accessible.
If the professional program takes place at a college or university, you may be able to access the institution's disability services. If the professional experience takes place at an organization, business, or government office, your employer or supervisor can help arrange certain disability-related accommodations you might need.
Most professional exchange programs will arrange a visa for participants. If you are trying to arrange an internship with an organization that cannot sponsor your visa, it may be helpful to go through a program or third-party service that arranges visas for international interns. Check the Related Links below for examples of organizations that arrange visas for international interns or temporary work visas.