I'm a non-US Computer Science Student enrolled in a bachelor's + master's integrated program at a top institute in Asia. I wanted to do a semester-long in-person research internship in the Fall of 2022 semester (I'll be a senior then) under a prof in the USA whose interests align with mine. I'll be starting to mail such professors soon. However, I would like it if all my basic expenses (travel + stay) are fully-funded because I cannot afford them as a student. I do not have any letters of recommendation since I've never done significant research before.

I have an average GPA but a SWE internship at Google, which is a totally different experience (I'm going to do a similar internship next summer, should I mention it?). What would a professor look for in prospective students?

I have a winter break, and I'm planning to carefully read about professors' work and write good personalized e-mails. Is there anything else I can do to strengthen my application?

I'm not eligible for REU (also I think it's only summer) since I'm not a US resident or citizen. Do professors fund students from their allotted funds? I've come to know that some universities treat such students as Visiting Research Students and fund them as student researchers (professors don't have to fund them) if a Professor invites them. I'll be aiming at those first.

I cannot find anything when I search for "long research internships," is there a different term for this?

  • 2
    I am not sure if my experience is universal (perhaps some universities are different), but I think that faculty research funds don’t usually include funding for travel and stay. They would include RA stipend, but would likely be used mainly for students at their own university. Something like you describe would be a REU program or similar externally funded fellowship exchange program (since you are non-US).
    – Dawn
    Commented Nov 23, 2021 at 13:53
  • Agree with the above comment. There may be fellowships from you country to send students to other countries?
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Nov 23, 2021 at 20:42
  • @Dawn Thank you for your reply. Actually, I've come to know that some universities treat such students as Visiting Research Students and fund them as student researchers (professors don't have to fund them) if a Professor invites them. I'll be aiming at those first. I've heard some students from my uni go on such internships before (very few) but I'm unable to contact them. I'll keep trying.
    – Iceberry
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 13:36
  • @JonCuster Same as above + yeah, but most of such fellowships are for summer only.
    – Iceberry
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 13:37
  • Visiting research students, in my experience, are PhD level.
    – Dawn
    Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


This seems nearly impossible to me. Sorry. If you were a very top student with research experience already in hand and with great letters of recommendation available it would be easier, but still extremely difficult.

Most funding is for teaching assistants, who are in doctoral study at the given institutions. There is some research money available, mostly through grants to professors, but, again, the preferred assistants are those professor's doctoral students. Funding for an outside student, even a US resident, would depend on special skills that could be immediately applied to an existing project.

I don't suggest it is completely impossible, but suspect that the number of possible positions is very small and are very competitive and selective.

You might be better off finishing your degree(s) and then applying for doctoral study in US. A TA, would then cover both educational and (modest) living expenses.

I'd think that funding from institution in your home country would probably be much more likely than what you suggest. Perhaps the company you mention would offer some help.

  • Thank you. The only reason I wanted to try research in such way was to determine if I wanted to do PhD. I'll be still on my masters thesis during PhD applications so it'll be late then for me. I've seen students from my uni go on such internships, so I wanted to know if there's anything else I could do to strengthen my application other than what I've heard from them.
    – Iceberry
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 19:49
  • @Iceberry then can't you write up an answer about how other students from your uni went about it?
    – justauser
    Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 7:38
  • @justauser they did the same thing, they mailed. they have their experiences written on our college blog. But again, everything's been online for so long, we have no one who's in college right now and has ever done an offline internship. I have set up some meetings with such graduated students to ask them about the funding part in detail.
    – Iceberry
    Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 8:03

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