International Student Guide to Volunteering

What is Volunteering?

In the United States, volunteering is an unpaid experience with a non-profit organization or government agency that meets a community need. It is very common for people to volunteer in the US. In fact, 35% of Minnesotans report that they volunteer. For many volunteer opportunities, you do not need to have previous work experience and most visa holders can volunteer even if they are not allowed to work for pay in the US.

What Kind of Volunteering Can International Students Do?

There are many ways that U of M students can volunteer in the Twin Cities community. Here are just a few examples:

  • Tutoring in schools
  • Visiting the elderly
  • Serving meals at a homeless shelter
  • Research projects
  • Advocate for public policy

Our International Student Guide to Volunteering addresses common concerns that come up in volunteering such as transportation, connecting with organizations and CPT. You can go through the modules in order, or just click on the ones that you're interested in.

  1. Introduction to volunteering in the United States
  2. Why should I volunteer as an international student?
  3. What kind of volunteer work should I do?
  4. Getting started at your community site
  5. Community partner perspectives
  6. International student perspectives
  7. Case scenarios in volunteering
  8. CPT and volunteering
Video Url

This video explains what you can expect at a volunteer advising appointment with the CCEL. If you'd like help finding a place to volunteer, you can schedule an appointment.