While in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa, any internship or training experience requires prior authorization (CPT or OPT) even if unpaid. Please refer to the U.S. Department of Labor’s definition of an unpaid internship for more information.

International students may, however, take part in community service volunteer opportunities without needed any authorization. Per the U.S. Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor, “Individuals who volunteer or donate their services, usually on a part-time basis, for public service, religious or humanitarian objectives, not as employees and without contemplation of pay, are not considered employees of the religious, charitable or similar non-profit organizations that receive their service.”

Wesleyan offers numerous volunteer opportunities within the community through the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships. If you are unsure of whether a specific opportunity is appropriate for volunteering or if it requires prior approval, please consult with an OISA advisor before taking part.