The integration of work experience and learning in tertiary education is a complex issue for different stakeholders, including students, institutions, and employers. The provision of course-related work experience for international students is far more challenging as it involves issues of visa status, different cultural expectations, recognition/misrecognition of skills and experiences across cultures, english language competency, and local employers attitudes toward international students. Even though there is a significant body of scholarly research on work-integrated learning in tertiary education, empirical research on this issue related to international students remains scarce. This article responds to a critical gap in the literature by examining the provision of course-related work experience for international students from both the teachers and students perspectives. It is derived from a 4-year research project funded by the australian research council that includes 155 interviews with staff and international students and fieldwork from the australian vocational education and training (vet) sector. Drawing on bourdieus notions of habitus and field as conceptual tools to interpret the empirical data, the research found work-integrated learning is unevenly distributed and inconsistently implemented across institutions. The article addresses the complex interplay between the student habitus and the habitus within the institutional field and the workplace field in shaping international students work-integrated learning access and experience. Practical implications for institutions on how to improve access and experience to course-related work experience for international students are discussed in light of the findings of this research. 2017, 2017 European association for international education.