I completed my undergraduate study in computer science outside of the US. I hope to obtain a PhD degree in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) in the US, but I don't feel that I am qualified enough (in terms of research experience). So I am hoping to find a research internship opportunity in US/Canada.
I could probably find relavant projects in my own country, but I feel that trying US/Canada first is more straightforward. After all, it's in US/Canada where I am looking for a PhD degree.
I have a few HCI professors in mind, with whom I would like to work very much. Should I contact them for internship opportunities? What are my chances and more importantly, how can I improve my chances?
Some facts that I think are relavent to the question:
I am not a US resident so I will need a VISA. I don't expect assistantships (it's up to the professor). I have already learnt the basics of HCI and I know the fundamental research methods (through reading and auditing classes). My undergraduate university is not the best, but it's surely one of the best universities in my country.