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OPT and CPT Concerns


Things to do and avoid for OPT and CPT Employment (F-1 Student Visas)

The holder of this visa can possibly receive the so-called Request for Evidence (RFE) from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Most of the time, this has something to do with employment for time used up in Optional Practical Training (OPT). This may also have something to do with Curricular Practical Training (CPT). There are some tips just to ensure that you are maintaining your F-1 student visa status properly. You also need to prove this.

What are the things to do?

Be careful of schools offering Curricular Practical Training before you have even been enrolled full time for one school year. However, there is always an exception to the rule. In case the CPT is an essential or necessary component of the student degree program, immediate participation is called for. If you opt for participation in CPT prior to a full year of academic studies, you should be prepared to explain everything. Likewise, prove its necessity as well as the need for immediate participation.

* It is essential to maintain documentation of all jobs worked during CPT and/or OPT. File all letters of offer, employment verification, salary statements, information of employee benefits, and other important papers. Keep a record of your job title, duration of contract, contact details for supervisors, and accurate description of tasks and duties. You must describe the relation of each job to your course program.

* See to it that you do not go beyond three months of unemployment for initial OPT or 120 days for those who secure a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) extension.

* All students covered by this must report to the college or university within 10 days of a change in jobs or office address.

* File your STEM extension application at least 90 days before the OPT expires. This is the requirement if you are eligible.

* Make sure to render service for a minimum of 20 hours weekly. This is the case for an E-Verify employer with paid position that is related directly to the STEM degree for as long as you are on STEM extension.


What are the things to avoid?

* Do not accumulate more than 90 days of unemployment or 120 days for those with STEM extension.

* Do not apply for or work in a position which is not related to your program.

* Do not work for any employer without giving formal notice to your school.

* Do not work for employers that are NOT E-Verified during your STEM extension.

Abide by these guidelines. These can help prove that you preserved your F-1 student visa status. The policies of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are very stringent. In the case of overseas students, it is imperative for them to comply with requirements and documentation to stay away from more serious issues.

Marian Moore – Social Media Manager

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How students can travel Free of Charge?


Summer holidays prove to be an excellent opportunity for students to travel. The question is this: Will it be affordable for any student? The truth is you can be creative to get the chance to see the whole world. These are the ways for students to travel during the summer break:

1. Study grants and cultural exchange programs are trendy. Many foreign governments sponsor undergraduate students to avail of short cultural exchange programs and study grants. Accommodations, land transport and subsistence costs are covered. Universities finance air fare, visas and vaccinations most of the time. This is the chance to become familiar with the culture of other nations.

2. You can apply as an English tutor to travel anywhere in the world. It is a lucrative option for student travelers. Expenses are covered and schools will even pay for your services as mentors. It is also the best way to make new friends.

3. Apply for travel grants. Many organizations finance foreign travel for students. All you need is to present a comprehensive plan that your travel will be meaningful. These associations appreciate trips that promote personal or cultural development. Nonetheless, there are specifications and parameters that students must adhere to.

4. Participate in competitions. This may not be a 100 percent guarantee but international competitions usually offer attractive prizes. There are many contests for amateur writers, artists, poets, and sportsmen.

5. Try to study abroad. There are always opportunities for undergraduates to study at least for two semesters in foreign universities. There are numerous scholarship grants and other forms of financial aid for deserving students.

6. Apply as a tour guide. Look for tourism offices, hotels and tour agencies recruiting student tour guides who can speak fluent English. There are strict requirements but you can prepare for these prerequisites. It is one way of covering the costs of foreign trips.

7. You can also work in a farm provided you are not choosy and do not mind getting dirty at all. This will provide you food, free accommodations and minimal stipends. It may be necessary to pay a small fee for membership but it is a good chance to travel.

8. It is also possible to raise funds for charity purposes. These activities are done yearly. The idea behind this scheme is to travel during the weekend for free. Look for sponsors from your family, close friends and private companies. The idea is to raise money for a good cause and travel at the same time. It is definitely a unique and enjoyable activity.

9. Look for well to do friends who can provide you with opportunities to travel abroad. You can always stay with new colleagues and come out of the initiative with new points of view, language skills, financial rewards and contentment. You may need to pay for your airfares but the accommodations as well as personal tour guide are certainly for free.

Given these prospects, students have a lot of chances to travel around the world for free or minimal expenses.

With Greenhandshake, you are assured of generous assistance from a platform that is anchored on trust, integrity and community. Visit the organization’s website at for more useful information.

Sue J Liu – COO/ VP of Marketing

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Top 7 things every International Student should know


Are you an overseas student attending a University in the United States? There are many things to consider in the process. Consult your adviser before choosing subjects, electives and courses. It is not necessary to graduate ahead of time. You might as well relish the extra time on your visa.

1. Find out about your housing assignment. There is a possibility that foreign students are not housed in comfortable locations. You can always ask for a transfer. It is practical to live within the campus during the first few semesters. It will be difficult to live far away since it isolates you from social life and meeting other students.

2. Carry your student identification at all times. Legal drinking age in the USA is 21 years old. State governments are quite strict about this policy. Never use a fake passport or identification. This is strictly against the law. Grab opportunities that will help you live a normal life in the US. Open a bank savings account. Buy a computer and apply for a mobile phone plan. This may be rigorous but you need to do this right away. The social security card may not be a requirement. However, this will make things easier for you.

3. Try to get a part-time job in the campus. The F-1 visa holder is not permitted to work outside the campus, retail stores or restaurants. However, you can always work as a language mentor, library or research assistant. This is a stepping stone in acquiring the social security card. With this card, you can apply for a driver’s license, purchase a car, open a bank account, or obtain a credit card.

4. It is not necessary to pay full prices since students (local or foreign) are qualified for discounts when it comes to online and in-store purchases. Apply for a student driver’s license. It is not necessary to purchase an automobile right away. Just make sure to pass the tests to facilitate your application for a license in the state where you reside and study.

5. Try to meet new acquaintances so you will get to know the American culture. College the best time to meet different kinds of people. The truth is international students seldom fraternize with American youngsters. They prefer to live and do not generally participate in school activities such as athletic events. The key is to meet and socialize with Americans and foreigners.

6. It is advisable to look for your country’s student association. You can also join a club to that is familiar with your country’s culture. You can look forward to support from this organizations especially during difficult times. However, see to it that you also mingle with American students and peer groups. Get to know the traditions in the US as well as the typical American way of life.

7. Make it a point to understand cultural differences. Strive to acquire several internship programs while you are in the university. This is allowed by US immigration laws for international students.

With Greenhandshake, you are assured of generous assistance from a platform that is anchored on trust, integrity and community. Visit the organization’s website at: for more useful information.

Son Hoang Nguyen – CEO/ Founder

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Community College: Affordable way to begin your dream


Two years college can help students improve English and academic skills, save money and get used to US education and American’s lifestyles. American community colleges offer associate programs at much cheaper entry tuition on freshman and sophomore level classes, often with the accepted credits of an easier transition to a traditional four year school to earn their bachelor’s degree.

The Pros of Community College

With a downturn economy and a high unemployment rate, community colleges are gradually becoming a main competitor against four year colleges, saving a lot of students thousands of dollars. International students must be taking advantage of this system of community college. They have the opportunity of renting apartment closer to school and even apply to work on-campus, while paying the reduced tuition, making education even more comfortable and affordable. For example, the University of Massachusetts- Boston estimates tuition & fees and living expenses for an international undergraduate student at $28,906 for the school year of 2015. If the students spend the first two years at Quincy College in Quincy, MA, and then 2 years at University of Massachusetts –Boston, the students still transfer with over 50 accepted credits and graduate with a University of Massachusetts degree, but saves over $20,000. Moreover, smaller class sizes that allow for more personalized instruction, a particular boon for international students who might worry about the culture shock, English level and the academic performance at a four year college. A flexible schedule at community college that provides both day and night courses for foreign students who must work 20 hours/week during their college experience. Last but not least, open admission policies at many schools that allow international students who did not perform well in high-school the opportunity to pursue a higher education.

Funding for Community College

When trying to pay for community college tuition & fees, international students first need to think about scholarships. There are a number of organizations that have scholarships available for international students; it’s just a matter of taking the time to find them. Scholarships can be awarded by your school of interest, or through another organization like a business, club or government. When you apply for admissions at your school of interest, ask your international student counselor or an admissions representative of any scholarship opportunities that they are aware of that you might be eligible for. They will be able to direct you to any scholarships your school offers along with outside awards that they are familiar with. You can either by yourself to start digging in through to learn what criteria or documents these are required for you to apply. These might include an essay, transcripts, outside activities awards, and letter of recommendation.

How to know your courses transfer?

Using Transferology tools, a national-wide network designed to help students explore their college transfer options. It helps save students’ time and money by providing a quick, intuitive way of getting their college transfer credit questions answered.

Students can add coursework, exams, and/or learning experiences to see how many schools in the Transferology network have matching courses that may be awarded when they transfer. They can also find out what their options are for taking classes over the summer (or whenever) at another school to transfer back to their current school by using the “Find a Replacement Course” feature.

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Greenhandshake – Recommended Community College

  1. Glendale Community College (CA)
  2. De Anza College (CA)
  3. Seattle Community College (WA)
  4. Shoreline Community College (WA)
  5. Houston Community College (TX)
  6. Bunker Hill Community College (MA)
  7. Northern Virginia Community College (VA)
  8. Bronx Community College (NY)
  9. Hillsborough Community College (FL)
  10. Community College of Philadelphia (PA)


Greenhandshake could be a truly helping hand in some certain areas during your community college experience. Stay with Greenhandshake for more valuable sources and explore the How it Works page ( so you can start immediately in posting your tasks.

Nghi Tran – CFO/ Marketing Manager in Vietnam

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