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I have just finished my Advanced Diploma in Computing, and I am currently looking for an internship.

I live in Libya and Software Development here is dead. If I stay here, then I am certainly doomed. I would have no choice but to become one of those Code Zombies who write code without any craftsmanship, or give it all up and find something else to do.

I have passion and enthusiasm for programming and I don’t want to give it up. But a junior needs to work in a healthy environment and get some real mentorship to be a real craftsman, and that is what I am looking for.

I want to get experience and mentorship as I don’t care much about money at this stage of my career. I would even be happy if they paid me just enough to survive while providing me with mentorship.

Is it possible to get an internship in USA or Canada? Please, any advice or ideas to help me out of my dilemma?

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    If all the legal hurdles were clear, anything is possible, but it would be difficult to find a company willing to take on such expense for an intern or entry-level position. You might be interested in the answers here: How hard is to sponsor an overseas developer from outside the US/UK? (the community might vote to close this as a duplicate). Something to try would be to begin making contacts with organizations through Google Summer of Code participation (or similar). – jcmeloni Jul 18 '12 at 0:12
  • Most internships (at least in the US and UK and I think Canada) are only open to students; you're expected to know enough when you graduate to get a regular entry-level job. – Yamikuronue Jul 18 '12 at 21:29
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    Why would you want to go to the USA or Canada? Europe would probably be easier, due to the historic ties and their involvement in the recent overthrow of the Khadafi regime. – MSalters Jul 30 '12 at 14:05
  • @MSalters, Although, I do totally agree with you that Europe might be much easier, I am taking language in consideration. If I to go to a non-English speaking country, it will take me some time to learn the language and that will cost me, which is something I can’t afford. And the UK is, as far as I know, too expensive for me to live in as an intern let alone finding a job in UK. Besides that USA is the place where the industry was born, at least that is what I think, and I believe that chance to learn and grow will be much greater there. – omsharp Jul 31 '12 at 2:16
  • @omsharp: In academia, English is spoken in all of Europe. The UK isn't that expensive BTW, if you avoid London. – MSalters Jul 31 '12 at 6:53
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I would suggest you look for a university in the US/UK that would accept you as an international student, working towards a Masters degree (not sure if that's comparable to wat you have or not.)

Most private schools in the US pay for a huge part of masters degree work, and will sometimes (depending on your grades/accomplishments beforehand) will even pay for your living expenses. After you're done with school, you could apply for a work visa, and just stay in the US.

Some universities that do such things are places like University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, etc etc.

Try sending a representative of one of those schools an email inquiring about international students and continuing education.

As a bonus, employers will LOVE the fact that you came across the ocean to better your skills. That demonstrates a drive for success, and a passion for the work.

  • Thanks acolyte, I have been thinking of something like that. I think i am gonna try it, and start firing some emails. Thanks – omsharp Jul 18 '12 at 15:08
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    I can get you the email of the international students department at Drexel if you want. – acolyte Jul 18 '12 at 19:44
  • The equivalent to an Advanced Diploma in the US is a Bachelor's Degree, probably a Bachelor of Science in Computing. That should be sufficient for entry into a Masters program. – Yamikuronue Jul 18 '12 at 21:29
  • @acolyte, please do so. I dearly appreciate your help. – omsharp Jul 18 '12 at 23:13
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    @omsharp drexel.edu/grad/about/international – acolyte Jul 19 '12 at 12:36
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To a large extent, this depends on your immigration status. If you are a citizen of, or you have proper work authorization in, the US, Canada or any other country you are interested in, then you have a good chance at getting an internship. If you don't, then this will be a lot harder. I work for a company in San Francisco and we are always looking for interns, but I don't think we sponsor visas for interns.

  • I think that if he were a citizen of the US/Canada or had the authorization he wouldn't had asked the question. Just a thought... – David Conde Jul 29 '12 at 21:09
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It is very possible to get an internship or even a Junior position at a company in the USA or another country outside of your own. You should probably begin by looking at the laws and requirements to working in another country, and then take the necessary steps to make that happen. There are plenty of companies that are looking outside of their own country to fill positions. Having a diverse environment at work is rarely a bad thing.

  • Your words are so encouraging, you gave me some hope. Thanks – omsharp Jul 18 '12 at 23:17
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I am in a similar case, and have a few advises for you. First of all, don't panic! You have quite a few options. Let me point you to a couple:

  • You can try to get into one of Canada's federal programs. Each province has one, you should look it up on a quick Google search
  • Take one of the ESOL tests and try to apply for a PhD on any University
  • If you have some resume to show of, sign up here and start searching
  • Create a LinkedIn account

You can't lose hopes that things won't go out for you, just keep pushing. Also, try looking into the whole Google Summer of Code, although given the fact that you live in Lybia, getting a VISA might be a problem (I know, I'm from Cuba myself).

One last word of advise, try aiming to countries that have a "good" migratory system (Netherlands, Germany, UK), since perhaps getting a VISA might prove to be easier and keep in mind that the best option is to improve yourself and try to get employed by a company willing to provide sponsorship.

Finally, best of luck for you! You will need it!

  • Thanks for the nice words. I will keep pushing and hope for the best. – omsharp Jul 29 '12 at 2:32
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    You're welcome! Never loose your hopes, that's the key message I want to give you! If you are good and push hard enough, you can make it! :) – David Conde Jul 29 '12 at 21:11
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It's hard. Very hard.

A couple things that can help:

1) Get "above and beyond" competence.

2) Learn the language(s) of where you want to go. (In this case English, and perhaps French, but this applies anywhere.)

3) Get an advanced degree from a top school. This will help demonstrate competence, ease the visa process, and help with networking.

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