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The number of esteemed video game development programs and studios in the US has continued to grow, and the quest for a place on a team with a major development studio has become more competitive in recent years. International students who want to both make the most of their educational experience, as well as keep their resume competitive, need to take a video game development internship. This article identifies the benefits of a video game development internship, some resources for acquiring internships, and some prominent companies that offer students internships.

International students studying video game development in the United States who want to make the most of their education need to pursue video game development internships in addition to the rigors of their normal coursework. Many international students are hoping to secure valuable video game development internships to further enrich their study abroad experiences, make the most of their investment in their education and establish themselves with potential future employers. Video game development internships are an important part of what employers look for in graduates. Employers often prefer graduates who have held video game development internships to those who have not for a number of reasons: video game development internships help current students and new graduates become actively involved in the industry, gain first-hand experience related to their future careers, and establish both a reputation and network amongst potential employers.

International students attempting to secure a video game development internship during the school year or during the summer will have more steps to take than a citizen applying for the same positions. That being the case, wise international students who want to guarantee placement into a video game development internship or video game development summer internship should be extra prepared and begin their search early. This article will provide international students with some tips to help with the process of securing a video game development internship, as well as provide resources for some prominent video game development internships.

Given the additional steps and documentation required in order for an international student to secure a video game development internship, international students should begin their search and application process as early as possible and remain diligent throughout. It is important not to give up.

The first step for securing any internship as an international student is to acquire proper governmental authorization. It is important to check with your international student advisor to make sure that you have the ability to work in the US, especially if you will be receiving compensation.

Next, an international student should apply for as many different internships that fit their desired criteria as possible. Many students in the United States apply for an upwards of 12 internships, and an international student should apply for much more than that if they really want to secure a video game development internship. Many video game development programs at schools in the US will have internship opportunities through their school program or a company with whom the institution has a relationship. These departments often have information on their website regarding their respective internship opportunities and requirements. As such, browsing the website of video game development programs at institutions in the United States is a great way to find a video game development internship opportunity as an international student.

However, students interested in video game development summer internship opportunities beyond those offered by their hosting institution, there is another route available. Despite the fact that all international student internships must conform to the federal guidelines of Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) (meaning internships held by international students must be tied to some form of course credit), international students can still submit their resumes and cover letters directly to the businesses and companies with which they would be interested in interning. These companies will often consider the resumes of international students and can typically work something out with the student's host institution for credit even though the video game development internship was not secured through the department.

The following is a list of corporations that offer prominent video game development internships:

  1. Volition Inc – Based out of Champaign, Illinois, Volition is a well-known company with several popular titles under their belt. They have many resources for video game development jobs and video game development internships.
  2. EA Games – A video game internship with EA would be a dream come true for many students. EA offers internships at each of its studios in Redwood Shores, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Orlando, FL, Fairfax, VA, and Salt Lake City, UT. They also have an easily accessible online internship database and guide.
  3. Lucasarts – Lucasarts offers paid video game development internships in both of its two California locations-one in Nicasio, the other in San Francisco. This internship could mean high wages and free housing in corporate dorms. Information on video game development internships with Lucasarts can be found here.

These basic reminders and listed video game development summer internship resources will help international students find one of these coveted internships for which they will have to compete for. Although competing for an internship takes time, it is a very valuable experience to have under your belt and on your resume.

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