Why employers should hire international students

Illustration of students in front of International House
Aishwarya Jayadeep/File

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The end of every job application asks: “Will you now or in the future require sponsorship for employment visa status?” Many employers are hesitant to hire international students due to myths that it’s expensive, a hassle and that students are bound to leave after a few years. The reality is, not only is it incredibly easy and free to hire graduates under the Optional Practical Training (OPT), but what international students can offer may be well worth the investment for the company in the long run. If you’re an employer who is hiring, consider these traits that international students possess.

They can bring fresh perspectives

Having come from a different country with another first language, culture, values and social norms, the student can add fresh perspectives to the team. There is strength in diversity and international students may offer new, varying insights to the same topic, coming up with solutions your company hasn’t seen before, as well as helping other employees expand their perspectives. In a world of constant innovation, new ideas can always be a plus.

They are independent and not afraid of challenges

International students left home to challenge themselves in a new environment. By being here, they have already taken an initiative to break out of their comfort zone and take a risk — applying to a university abroad, flying across the world, living away from family, adapting to a new environment culturally and academically and going through complicated policies and paperwork. Instead of choosing a traditional, familiar path, they chose to challenge themselves, which will be reflected in their work ethic and the work they produce.

They are fast learners and can adjust to new teams and environments

Most international students probably experienced culture shock, or at least some form of cultural adjustment, after coming to Berkeley. On top of learning new slang, international students have to set up housing contracts, phone services and bank accounts, all while making friends, succeeding in academics and getting familiar with the surroundings. This requires a great deal of flexibility, balance and open-mindedness. International students know how to learn from their environments and are quick to adjust to new surroundings.

They bring an international outlook to the company

Whether your company is an established corporation with several branches overseas or a blooming startup looking to expand, an international student may facilitate its globalization and internationalization. For international students, the world is their stage and they are not limited to the bounds of one country. Whether they work at your international office, appeal to a new market of foreign customers or provide connections with their network overseas, they will be a powerful asset for your company.

If a student having a non-U.S. citizenship has deterred you from hiring them, think again. International students are driven to learn, adjust and expand to new environments, and if given the opportunity, they may unleash great opportunities for your company.

Contact Eunkyo Jo at [email protected].