Internships when you already have working experience

Hi everyone,

I’ve always wanted to work in America and as I’m getting older, I’m now 27, I’ve realised that if I’m serious about doing this I should really start taking the steps to do it. I’ve been researching routes in to working in the States but it’s all very Catch 22 - you can’t apply for a job without a visa and you can’t get a visa without a job.

Speaking with _iamdave I’ve learnt his experience was to go via an internship route and then try and secure sponsorship.

My question is what are peoples thoughts or experiences of getting ID internships when you already have work experience? I have 3 years experience within a product design consultancy in the UK and wondered would big design companies in the states even consider giving an internship to a guy with experience or are they purely reserved for students and grads?

I realise that with experience I could just apply for a full time position and I plan on doing that too. I’m still interested in the internship route though as a means of experiencing multiple cities, companies, design teams and projects as I look to settle in the US.

Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions.

Getting an internship while already having experience is definitely doable. I had an internship after working a couple years.

It might be best to attempt this in a frenzied area, like NYC or San Francisco; everything is faster moving and it’s possible a studio would be more likely to snatch up the person with the best portfolio, with a shorter courtship period.

Hey hatts,

Thanks for replying. That’s good to know that it is possible and NYC/San Fran are definitely the two of the areas I’m most interested in working. Just need to work on my portfolio some more now.

Internships for international applicants at design studios in the US are just a really efficient way to have a trail period. It’s low-risk and low-cost. If it works out, they will invest in a longer, more expensive and elaborate visa for you.
Personally, I think this is a great way to test the waters for both the new hire as well as the company without all the commitment and pressure.

I second that SF and New York are good places for this. I am actually doing this right now and am at a consultancy in San Francisco on a Trainee Visa (J1) and a number of their interns have ended up getting hired full time. Most of the international full-time staff has gone this route.

I just like to urge you to not read too much into the title and have that scare you off. It literally means nothing, at least not where I am and I would characterize my experience much more as a junior design position than what one would traditionally call an internship. Also in terms of financial compensation.

Good luck!