It’s that time of year again…the beginning of internship applications! This is certainly a stressful time in the life of many psychology graduate students, however, internship applications can be particularly tricky for international students who have additional residency and visa issues to navigate. The American Psychological Association of Graduate Students is excited to release the second video in our series on international students applying for internship. As a complement to our first video featuring international students navigating the internship process, this video highlights the perspectives of training directors. We interviewed five training directors to learn about their experiences with international students on internship.
Here are a couple key themes that came up across our interviews:
- Institutional support can go a long way: Interviewees that had resources at their training site (i.e., international student services, an HR department familiar with international hiring processes, attorneys on staff) felt better able to navigate the visa process with their interns. By contrast, training directors at smaller sites without international hires, commented on feeling lost during the visa process in particular. For training directors in this position, there seemed to be a dearth of centralized resources available. Interviewees suggested the development of specific resources such as a “living document” with current information on the necessary steps for the internship match, that could be shared in CCTCP, and for the development of a liaison through APPIC.
- International students benefit clients, staff, and the training site: All interviewees commented on the incredible value that international students can add to a training site. Training directors noted a number of skills, such as language abilities, specific cultural competencies, and the opportunity for other trainees and psychologists to learn from the diverse perspectives of the international student interns. Essentially, training directors reflected that once they were able to get their international interns up and running at their site, the benefits of bringing in an international applicant outweighed the difficulties of getting them in the door.
What are your thoughts? Do you have resources you want to share for training directors or international students navigating internship? We want to hear from you in the comments!