International students explore options to remain in U.S.

By Laura Quero / Staff Writer

Missouri Valley College recently hosted an OPT Workshop for international junior and senior students interested in staying one more year working in the United States after graduation.

Optional Practical Training, mostly known as OPT, is an opportunity for international students to extend their experience in the United States and start their work path. This temporary employment is related to an F-1 student’s major area of study, which means that students can only apply to jobs related to their major.

During the OPT Workshop, held on Oct. 18, a speech was made about the process of application and other aspects regarding the OPT. Senior Natalia Ruiz from Bogotá, Colombia, attended the OPT Workshop and is thinking of staying an extra year working after graduation.

“I was thinking of doing the OPT because in my country the currency is not well. It is being devaluated compared to the dollar,” said Ruiz. “Also, it is a real opportunity to develop my major abilities.”

Many of Valley’s international students over the years have applied for the OPT, and some are now working in different places in the United States. Alumni Sheila Garcia from Murcia, Spain, majored in Exercise Science and Business Administration and is now working for a big company thanks to the OPT.

“With this year of OPT, I have gained a lot of experience,” said Garcia. “I’ve also been able to send some money back to Spain in order to help my family economically,” she added.

Anybody who needs more information or is willing to apply for the OPT can contact International Director Yesenia Farfan, whose office is located on the second floor of the Ferguson Center.

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