Office of Global Education helps international students apply for professional experience after graduation


Desnee Stevens, assistant director of international student and scholar services, speaks to international students about Optional Practical Training workshops after graduation in Heer Hall on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014.

Kaitlin Siegel

The Office of Global Education offers workshops for international students to learn how to apply for jobs after graduation and extend their stay in the U.S. through a process called Optional Practical Training.

“Optional Practical Training is something you can do if you want to get practical experience after you’ve completed your degree,” said Desnee Stevens, assistant director of international student and scholar services. “It can extend an international student’s stay in the United States, so they can gain professional work experience.”

The Office of Global Education hosts OPT workshops throughout the year that are geared toward guiding upcoming graduates through the OPT application process.

International students who are granted OPT can only work, volunteer or intern in a position that directly relates to their field of study, Stevens said.

“If you’re working for McDonald’s headquarters and developing software, it’s acceptable,” Stevens said. “But if you’re flipping burgers, it’s not.”

She used Rajhesh Babu, a computer science major, to illustrate her point.

Babu received his undergraduate degree in India and is currently working toward a master’s in computer science. Babu has been studying at Kent since spring 2013 and will graduate in December.

“I came here today because I’m new to OPT,” Babu said. “And I really needed to learn more about the rules and regulations of applying before I can actually work.”

The application process for OPT requires international students to provide a total of eight documents and forms. Stevens said she urges students to apply as early as possible.

International students who are interested in learning more about OPT can attend the next workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 19 in Heer Hall or visit

Contact Kaitlin Siegel at [email protected].