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About Undergraduate Research Opportunities In US.

  • Thread starter Xu-Jin
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I am a junior undergraduate student with speciality of physics in R. P. China. I am planning to have graduate study in US. I think that it will be of help to me if I can have undergraduate research experiences in American universities. On the one hand, I can show the American professors whether I am eligible for graduate study under their supervision. On the other hand, whether I really want to study physics in USA. Our summer vocation is during 2. July to 2. September. Yeah, it will be impossible for me to have salaries because I cannot obtain visa if this. However, is it possible for me to have summer research as a "free labor"?. I pay the air-ticket fees, I pay the rents and I pay for the food. etc.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
fss
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It is highly unlikely you will be able to do this without some form of official sponsorship. Tourist visas do not allow you to "study" or perform research in an academic capacity.
 
  • #3
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And if somehow you did manage to do this, and US Immigration catches you, you will not be allowed to return for graduate studies. You may not be allowed to return at all.
 
  • #4
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Bad idea. And it is so very highly unlikely that any professor or scientist would even take you unofficially. No offense, but my professors get tens of emails from foreign students who either want paid or unpaid positions for research and they don't even bother to read any of them. It's not a lack of manners but it simply happens so often and there's not really much a professor has to gain from going through the headache of organizing research outside the system.

Your best bet is to do as well in your classes and you can and try to get research in your own country. As long as your GPA is good and you have something other than classes to show for your undergraduate education, you stand a good chance of getting admitted.
 
  • #5
eri
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See if your professors have any connections in the US and can set you up to get invited to work with someone for the summer. Our group had French and German students working with us like that at various times.
 
  • #6
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See if your professors have any connections in the US and can set you up to get invited to work with someone for the summer. Our group had French and German students working with us like that at various times.
Undergraduate students? Get paid?
 
  • #7
cristo
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Tourist visas do not allow you to "study" or perform research in an academic capacity.
Tourist visas don't, but if he manages to find a professor willing to take him for the summer, I don't see why he wouldn't be eligible as a researcher on a B-1 visa...
 
  • #8
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Tourist visas don't, but if he manages to find a professor willing to take him for the summer, I don't see why he wouldn't be eligible as a researcher on a B-1 visa...
If it is possible this way, I would like to find this sort of professors. Thank you so much!
 
  • #9
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I don't see why he wouldn't be eligible as a researcher on a B-1 visa...
Because if anyone who did a similar job for the university ever got paid, he's now "importing workers to do for free what an American could get paid for". Even if he wins, he's now in a mess of legal trouble. It's not worth it.
 
  • #10
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However, is it possible for me to have summer research as a "free labor"?
No. The university will not allow it. If immigration figures out that this is happening the university is dead.

If you want undergraduate research, then you can get it in China. Also if you want to visit the United States, go to an academic conference.
 
  • #11
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Even if he wins, he's now in a mess of legal trouble. It's not worth it.
What's more, all it will take is one call to the immigration officials and the university and the professor is going to be in a heap of trouble for allowing this. If immigration has any idea that a university is twisting rules, then immigration can kill the university by withholding student visas. A professor that does this is going to be in a heap of trouble from legal and admissions.

Universities are weird as far as US immigration laws go. In most areas, it is so difficult to get visas, that people are going to find it useful to bend or break the rules. Educational immigration is very open, and US universities find it very simple to get visas for students, but the flip side of this is that US universities will pretty strictly enforce immigration rules, because to bend/break them means the end of any privileges that they can get.
 
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  • #12
cristo
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Because if anyone who did a similar job for the university ever got paid, he's now "importing workers to do for free what an American could get paid for". Even if he wins, he's now in a mess of legal trouble. It's not worth it.
I see, that makes sense.
 
  • #13
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Tourist visas don't, but if he manages to find a professor willing to take him for the summer, I don't see why he wouldn't be eligible as a researcher on a B-1 visa...
Except it's non-trivial for Chinese nationals to get B-1. He'll need a letter from the professor, and even if he gets that letter, the second the consular officer sees the name of a university on the letterhead, the visa is going to be denied.

You can get away with this for French and German nationals, because they can enter the US under visa waiver so they don't need a letter verifying business purpose.
 
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  • #14
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I see, that makes sense.
Also he isn't going to get much sympathy from other foreign students with valid study visas, and who had to got through heck to get them. There are *so* many people that could cause everything to fall apart with a call to immigration, that it's not worth it.
 

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