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Career Preparation Activity

Stafford House offers you the opportunity to practice your English skills with an American company by taking part in our Career Preparation Activity. Develop your resume and interview skills and progress with confidence towards your career goals by putting your English into practice. 


  • Practice English with American colleagues and experience an authentic work environment
  • Learn industry-specific vocabulary and the casual English used in the workplace
  • Apply your skills and knowledge to host company projects and tasks
  • Learn interview skills and build confidence for your placement and future job searches


  • Stafford House Career Preparation Activity Certificate
  • A Reference Letter from an American host company (If activity placement requirements are met)
  • International experience for your résumé
  • Increase your network of international contacts


Key Facts

USA: All Centres
F-1 student visa
Standard or Intensive
Course length
Minimum 12-48 weeks
Start dates
2020 start dates: 6 Jan, 2 Mar, 27 Apr, 22 Jun, 17 Aug, 12 Oct (All USA Centres)

How it works

Part one:
Weeks 1 to 4: career preparation module

1. Take a minimum of Standard course for 4 weeks that includes a Career Preparation Module

  • Prepare your American style resume
  • Learn about American office culture and etiquette
  • Practice interview techniques
  • Research the host company

2. One to one meetings with the Career Preparation Advisor to discuss your goals, experience and career objectives to find the best host company for you

3. Stafford House Career Preparation Advisor schedules an in-person interview with a host company

Part two:
week 5- 12+ : career preparation activity

4. The Career Preparation Activity is an unpaid host company placement. Your placement is part-time (10-15 hours per week) and takes place in the host company alongside your Stafford House lessons either in the morning or afternoon depending on your schedule


CPA host company placements

Our placements are in small and medium sized host companies, start-ups, and even a few well known brand names, but the most important factor is that that students are involved in meaningful company activities and tasks and learn from business owners and leaders.

In these carefully chosen companies, you will practice speaking English with American professionals, increase your confidence and boost your professional development. Career Preparation Advisors match you with American host companies according to your interests, and abilities and where you will have an experience that will benefit your future careers.

*Placements are not to be considered employment or training in your area. Once accepted on the CPA a placement is guaranteed, but we do not promise placements in specific areas or companies.

Placement areas:

  • Business Administration
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Social Services (NGO)
  • Hospitality

A few of our favorite host companies:

Mosser Hotel San Francisco | Hosteling International Chicago and Boston | Young at Art (Children’s creative Institute) San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego | San Diego Habitat for Humanity San Diego | Digital Strategic Marketing San Diego | The San Hose Group Chicago | Asian Art Museum San Francisco | ISX World Boston


  • Carelly



    The part I liked most was learning about business language, self-promotion and the opportunity to work with native speakers. I also refined my skills with computer software.

  • Charles



  • Chia-Tzu



    I’m from Taiwan. I graduated from Business Administration last year. I decided to participate in CPA course because I wanted to learn America business culture and improve my resume with an American work experience with the goal to find a better job when I go back to my country or find a job in China or U.S.

  • Claire



  • Flavie



    I chose to participate in Career Preparation Activity because I wanted to improve my resume with an American work experience with the goal to find a better job in Journalism. My favorite experience was the networking events because it was the first time for me that I had the opportunity to work in the field of public relations and events and I'd always wanted to.

  • Luke



  • Patty



    I have to say my Career Preparation Activity exceeded my expectations. The company was very generous and my co-workers are very friendly to me.

  • Polyana



    The most beneficial part of participating in the Career Preparation Activity was learning how to work abroad and learning English in a different way. This experience will help me be confident when I apply to companies in the future.

  • Rachel


    South Korea

    On the first day in Career Preparation Activity, my boss asked me what do I wanted to do and I said something about marketing. Then she gave me whole marketing projects related to the company.

  • Riku



    I am a college student from Japan. I took a year off from my university to study abroad. I am taking Professional Certificates as regular classes along with CPA elective. I chose CPA to improve my resume and to experience an American workplace. I think it will help me when I look for a job because I wish to work for an international company in the future and it is good to know what American workplace is as well as how a global company works.

    Through this working experience at Blackstone Group, I learned a lot. My tasks were not the same everyday. They gave me many different tasks with different people so that I could do wide range of work and interact with many people. I also appreciate their supportive attitudes. They brought me interesting tasks and gave me helpful feedback on my work such as report writing and email to clients. Also when I was in marketing class at intrax someone in the market department shared their marketing plans with me and when I was in project management class I was working with a project team so I could make connections between what I learned in class and what is happening in the actual business world.

  • Ryota



    I work for a pharmaceutical company in Japan and study in Chicago for several months to improve my English. The reason why I applied CPA program is because I wanted to practice English more with native speakers and to have a working experience in an American company or organization. As I work for the pharmaceutical industry, I looked for a company or organization related to healthcare. Although there were few options, I got a opportunity to work with Imerman Angels fortunately. My ordinary responsibilities were to support management of donation, the list of volunteer contact, and brochure requests from people who are interested in our activities. Coworkers are very kind and they accepted what I wanted to do. I asked them to let me join some social events (Brunch Run/Walk 5K, Sweet Treat Socials, Wings of Hope Gala, and Lunch & Learn). Especially in the events called "Socials" in our organization, I visited some hospitals and talked with some healthcare professionals and many cancer fighters and caregivers. I'm impressed by their mission and activities. These experiences must be helpful to work in the healthcare industry around the world.

  • Severo



    I’m Spanish graduated in Business Management and Marketing, with 10 years of professional experience in Sales, Marketing and PR areas. I took the CPA program because I wanted to improve my English in a real professional English environment.

    I had the opportunity to work on a variety of dynamic projects, observing numerous aspects of Marketing, PR, and Communication. From preparing presentations for potential investors, researching information about hospitality groups in Chicago and different conferences and workshops around US, updating their partner database thru phone calls, writing articles about actuality issues related with entrepreneurial and law aspects, preparing possible questions for different speakers in workshops, writing a welcome letter to participants upcoming events and taking part in different internal and external meetings. At the same time, I had the possibility of learning about the US professional culture and the differences respect to Europe. But, now, the most important thing to me is all of these things have increased my self self confidence and adds important value to my resume.

  • Tsubasa



    I enjoyed my experience in the CPA program and was placed at Marriot San Diego. This experience is precious for me because I could talk with a lot of native speaker. Because of this school, I could improve my English skill and also get many friends from all over the world.


How to enroll

Take our Academic English Test to check your English level.

(A further Stafford House placement test must be taken before acceptance on the CPA is guaranteed).

  • Choose your start date:
    2020 start dates: 6 Jan, 2 Mar, 27 Apr, 22 Jun, 17 Aug, 12 Oct (All USA Centres)
  • Complete and submit our Application Form

Quick Quote


Use the fields above to estimate course fees.

Sample timetable

Week 1


Standard or Intensive
General English
Business English
Test Preparation TOEFL / Cambridge
Professional Certificates


Activity introduction and meetings with the CPA Advisor

Week 2


Standard or Intensive
General English
Business English
Test Preparation TOEFL / Cambridge
Professional Certificates


Meet with CPA advisor about placement and resume preparation

Week 3


Standard or Intensive
General English
Business English
Test Preparation TOEFL / Cambridge
Professional Certificates


Research the Host Company and learn about American office etiquette

Week 4


Standard or Intensive
General English
Business English
Test Preparation TOEFL / Cambridge
Professional Certificates


Practice Interview techniques

Week 5-12+


Standard or Intensive
General English
Business English
Test Preparation TOEFL / Cambridge
Professional Certificates


Placement begins in the Host Company


FAQ's - Your career preparation questions answered

Q: Can I book a Career Preparation Activity after I arrive?

A: Yes, you may register for the activity after you arrive, providing you have an F1 student visa and that you can start the programme on the official start date, with a minimum of 12 weeks available for the full course.

Q: Can I request a certain company?

A: We will do our best to match you with a host company according to your interests and abilities, and where you will have an experience that will benefit your future career. It is important to note that the purpose of the Activity is to give you the opportunity to practise speaking English in the American workplace.

Q: Can I do a full time placement after my course ends?

A: No, you must be a full-time student of Stafford House to take this course. This means you must take a full time programme of 25 lessons per week in addition to the Career Preparation Activity.

Q: Can I extend my course in order to do a longer Career Activity Placement?

A: Yes, as long as you are within your Visa allowance.

Q: Can I do the Career Preparation Activity on a Tourist Visa

A: No, in order to do a Career Preparation Activity with Stafford House you must study with a F1 Student Visa.

Q: Are placements guaranteed?

A: Stafford House will arrange a maximum of 2 interviews with a company according to your qualifications and best company match. If you do not accept a placement, or both companies do not accept you for the placement, a Stafford House Student Advisor will work with you on an alternative academic plan.

Q: Can I know my placement company before I arrive?

A: Placements are made during the 4-week Career Preparation Module. During this you will meet with the Career Placement Advisor who will discuss your placement and expectations. They will arrange an interview with a company and help you to prepare for that interview.

Q: Will I receive any payment during my placement?

A: No, the purpose of the placement is to give you experience speaking English in the workplace and should not be considered employment or training.


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