Rights and Legal Protections

As an international intern or trainee, you have many of the same rights as your American colleagues. However, job benefits that you may be accustomed to in your home country may not be guaranteed by U.S. law. Whether you get vacation days, sick leave, or other benefits will vary from host organization to host organization. Ask your supervisor either when you agree to your internship or early in your program if you are entitled to any additional benefits. This will avoid any misunderstanding as your program progresses.


Sexual harassment and racial discrimination are serious matters in the U.S. If you feel that you have been the victim of either sexual harassment or racial discrimination in the workplace, please contact CIEE right away at 1-888-268-6245. We can provide advice and assistance.

All host organizations are required to provide interns and trainees with a workplace free of recognized hazards that may cause serious illness or death as per the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). Interns and trainees must comply with all applicable safety and health regulations. If you ever feel something about your workplace is unsafe, tell your supervisor. If your host organization is asking you to take on tasks that you consider to be unsafe, please contact CIEE for advice.

Host organizations have the right to request that interns and trainees take a drug test. You may be tested before you start your training or at any point throughout your program. You may also be required to take a drug test if you are involved in an accident at the workplace. If you test positive for a controlled substance, you should expect to lose your internship (or training position) and to return to your home country immediately.

If you are having a problem with a supervisor or colleague, try to resolve it in a professional manner. In any training position, you may meet people you do not like or feel you cannot work with. You may find that speaking to the person directly will help take care of the problem. If problems persist, we recommend that you speak with your supervisor.

If you ever feel the need to change your host organization due to a safety concern or problems with colleagues, please contact CIEE at 1-888-268-6245 for assistance. A change will only be approved in special circumstances and should not be done without prior consent from CIEE. Failure to notify us prior to leaving your original host organization will result in your program being terminated, at which point you will be required to return to your home country.