NEW ROCHELLE, NEW YORK — Each year America attracts thousands of foreign students seeking a college education and work experience. Staying in the U.S. after graduation, though, can be more difficult because of visa and job constraints.
It's graduation day for students at The College of New Rochelle in New York.
Some came from other countries to study here and are among 800,000 foreign students in the United States.
Many look forward to taking back to their home countries what they have learned.
“I decided to study for the masters in public education because I always thought about back home," said Cynthia Asare, a student from Ghana. "How best I could utilize this? You can go back home and work even in the government section and be of help to your country.”
Prudence Tolliver, a student from Jamaica, said, “College of New Rochelle is basically my start. My goal is to do as much as I can, to go back to Jamaica, so that they can see that they can accomplish their dreams.”
But some want to stay in America.
“I definitely want to get a start here in the work force," said Jonelle Ward, from Canada. "I feel it’s competitive, I feel you are forced to stretch and reach a certain limit and challenge yourself. And there’s variety and very innovative and creative, which I like.”
For foreign students like these, launching a career in this country will not be easy, even with an improving U.S. economy.
Philip Press, an executive with a job placement company, said, “The challenge for the international candidate is finding the company that’s willing to either sponsor or take them for the amount of time their visa is current. Because once the visa is up and they have to leave, chances are they are not going to get sponsored.”
Generally, if foreign students cannot find a work sponsor, they will have to leave.
Overall, though, the news for the class of 2014 is better nationwide, according to David Smith of the management consulting company Accenture, which conducts an annual survey of job prospects.
“Coming out into the job market this year they are actually giving us signs of much more optimism about their prospects ahead. They are also telling us they are willing to be much more willing to be mobile, to look at job prospects beyond their local marketplace where they went to college or university,” said Smith.
Accenture found 80 percent of the students expect to get training on the job. After one or two years, however, the management company says only half have received training.