International internships are a great way to further develop your knowledge and skills. As you research internship options, you may notice that the distinctions between Work, Intern, and Volunteer programs are not always clear. Rather than focus your search on one specific type of program, search all WIV categories, as you might find the best program fit under a different heading.
Typical Characteristics of Internships
- Internships are often unpaid. Technical internships and some others may be paid.
- Internships tend to be more directly related to a specific field of study or career.
- Require a skill set or knowledge base particular to that position
- May or may not be for academic credit
- May or may not be eligible for financial aid (depending on whether they are done for academic credit)
The Learning Abroad Center provides a number of resources for you to explore and learn about international internship opportunities. We offer internship placements, but we do not place students in non-credit-bearing international internships. Utilizing our website and other resources will be necessary for you to find the best type of internship. Follow the steps below to begin your search:
- Read through the information on the WIV web pages to learn about the types of internships and how to start your search process.
- Establish your goals for interning abroad.
- Explore programs and positions in parts of the world you are interested in interning.
- Contact programs to learn more about their internship opportunities.
- Apply to an intern abroad program.
Intern Abroad Programs
Affiliate Internship Placement Organizations
Many organizations exist to help you find an internship placement overseas. These organizations can place you in an internship related to your field of study and often provide on-site support.
Independently Arranged Internships
If you are unable to find an organization that can place you in your desired field or country, you may want to consider arranging an internship directly with a business or organization. This requires more research and motivation but also has the benefit of offering you an internship that more closely meets your needs.
How to Find Internship Placements
- Ask University of Minnesota faculty for contact information of colleagues, businesses, or organizations abroad.
- Search GoingGlobal through GoldPass.
- Use professional associations (e.g., American Nursing Association).
- Search online newspapers for job/internship listings.
- Inquire with US companies about positions in overseas offices.
- Search in-person after arriving in the host country.
Questions to Consider
Before You Go
- Decide whether you will have a program assist in your internship placement or if you will find a placement independently.
- Research options. View websites and request information from each organization in which you are interested.
- Determine what information you need to provide on your resume/CV and your cover letter. Many countries will require information that is not included on a US resume (i.e., date of birth, personal photo, marital status).
- Provide organizations of interest with your contact information.
- Be clear and specific about what your expectations are and what skills or knowledge you have that could benefit the organization.
- Be cautious in using the word "internship" when arranging an independent internship abroad. Internships as we define them often do not exist in other cultures.
- Clearly communicate your expectations in terms of pay and support, such as assistance when you arrive (e.g., help finding housing).
- Clarify before you arrive to whom you will report, what your work schedule will be, and any time off you may need.
- Request the agreed-upon terms of the internship in writing (including evaluations).
Once You Arrive
- Set goals for the experience with your supervisor, including what skills and knowledge you hope to acquire.
- Keep a journal of your activities and reflections, particularly any professional or cultural insights you gain.
- Be open-minded and willing to revise your goals if necessary. Your experiences could lead you in a direction you did not plan and still provide new opportunities.
- Make an effort to learn about the culture and get to know your coworkers.
- Keep your supervisor informed of your activities, even if this does not seem required.
- Ask questions, do not make assumptions.
Preparing for Reentry
- Request a meeting or an "exit interview" with your supervisor. Discuss your initial goals, accomplishments, and the experience as a whole.
- Ask for letters of recommendation, as your supervisors may be difficult for future employers to contact.
- Formally thank people for your experience.
- If appropriate, provide feedback that might be helpful in the preparation and supervision of future interns.
- Revise your resume and document your experience immediately while fresh in your mind.
You should carefully research all entry and work visa requirements for the country in which you plan to intern. The US State Department provides consular affairs sheets for each country that provide visa requirements and contact information for embassies and consulates in the US. Obtaining a work visa for an internship can be difficult. Several organizations can assist with obtaining a work visa for students who have arranged an internship related to their field of study in several countries:
Search through other organizations that may provide placement assistance for internships abroad.