group of U of M Students in front of a windmill in Spain

Internships Abroad

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Why intern abroad?

    • Gain professional skills: communication, appreciation for diversity, leadership, and confidence
    • Understand daily work life in another country
    • Deepen cross-cultural understanding
    • Reflect and learn through accompanying the course
    • Use experience for obtaining future jobs

    What types of internships are available?

    Internships are available in a wide variety of industries and areas, and placements are available for students in any major. The specific internship placements vary by program. Program pages typically list example internships or typical internship fields. If you don't see your desired industry on those lists, ask the program contact. You can use the "Program Features" field in the program search or talk to an adviser who works on the program you are considering.

    Student Experiences in Internships Abroad

     

     

    What are the requirements of an internship?

    Class standing

    Some programs require junior or senior class standing. Sophomores may also be able to intern abroad. Check with your chosen program team.

    Language

    Many places do not require you to know the host-country language, but it is always useful to have some knowledge of the language spoken at your chosen destination. You will likely have more placement options if you know the host-country language.

    Previous work experience

    Your previous coursework, skills, and work experience will determine which specific internship placements you are qualified for. On-site program staff will work to match your experience with the needs of local businesses and organizations.

    Will I take classes and intern?

    Yes, you will do both while abroad. All internships abroad are supported by an academic class. You will earn credit from the coursework tied to the internship course, not the internship itself. On semester programs, you will take other courses to fulfill major, minor, and/or liberal education requirements. During the summer, some programs offer a six-credit internship experience and course. On this option, you will not take any additional courses.

    Are internships paid?

    No. Paid employment is not possible on study abroad programs. Visa requirements in most countries do not allow you to work for pay while visiting or attending school.

    How do I apply?

    Apply for internships at the same time you apply to the program. Most programs require a cover letter and resume. Find resources on your chosen program's webpage or contact a career office on campus.

    How does the placement process work?

    • Once you have been admitted to the program, your internship application will be sent to the in-country internships team for review.
    • The in-country internship team will review your application and, if it meets criteria, will process and send it to an appropriate site to secure you an interview.
    • You may receive preliminary placement information prior to departure or once you arrive on site. You are guaranteed an internship interview. Nearly all students are placed after this interview process, but make sure to prepare and be professional. You will receive guidance on this in your host-country.
    • If you complete your requirement applications and are flexible in your placement, you are very likely to receive an internship placement.

    How do I get the most out of my internship?

    • Be flexible.
    • Deal well with ambiguity.
    • Be proactive and look for ways to contribute.
    • Be professional (e.g., be on time, dress appropriately).

    Students often are able to contribute the most and gain the most experience at smaller companies and organizations rather than larger, well-known businesses.

    How do internships abroad compare to internships in the US?

    "Prior to the workshop, campus participants discussed what they expected to find during their internship site visits. It was anticipated that internships conducted through learning abroad programs would not match domestic experiences in terms of building relevant technical skills (i.e., those related to specific career needs), but would compensate by delivering personal and professional skill development (e.g., tolerating ambiguity, interpersonal communication). By all accounts this turned out to be wrong. Throughout visits to a variety of internship sites, career services staff were impressed with the substantial responsibilities afforded to interns. Students developed both technical and professional skills on a par or beyond those they might have experienced domestically."

    —Sara Newberg, Director, Career & Internship Services

    "Additionally, seeing the support and commitment of the internship supervisors and the on-site staff to our students' professional growth and career development has increased our confidence in encouraging students to engage in internship opportunities abroad."

    —Jeannie Stumne, College of Education and Human Development, Career Services Director

    Even if the internship is not in your exact field, you will learn about how the work world differs in other countries. Cross-culture competency is a skill that is difficult to learn in a US internship.

    How do US employers view internships conducted abroad?

    Employers often view an internship abroad positively. It is important to be able to articulate the experience to future employers. The most successful way to use an internship experience abroad is to be able to discuss the skills that you gained and how those competencies can be applied to your chosen career.

    What if I am not happy with my internship?

    The on-site staff will work with your job supervisor to either help you with your internship concerns or, if no resolution is possible, find you a different internship.

    Realities of internships/commitment (Do I want something like this?)

    • On-site staff put in a lot of work to arrange internships. Apply only if you're committed to undertaking an internship.
    • Most students are happy they completed an internship.
    • You will gain skills but will also have additional work, sometimes on weekends, meaning less time for travel.

    LAC programs offering internships

    Africa & the Middle East

    Americas

    Asia & Oceania

    Europe