Internships are often unpaid. Technical internships may be paid. They tend to be more directly related to a specific field of study or career and require a skill set or knowledge base particular to that position. International internships may or may not be for academic credit, and they may or may not be eligible for financial aid (depending on whether or not they are done for academic credit).
The Career Services office as well as the Buckman Center can provide a number of resources for you to explore and learn about international internship opportunities.
Follow these steps to begin your search:
1. Establish your goals for interning abroad.
2. Explore programs and positions in parts of the world you are interested in interning.
3. Contact programs to learn more about their internship opportunities.
4. Apply to an intern abroad program.
Before You Go...
- Determine if you will have help in your internship placement or if you have to find a placement independently.
- Research options. View websites and request information from each organization.
- 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". Internships as we define them often do not exist in other cultures.
- Clearly communicate your expectations in terms of pay and support (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.
Once You Arrive...
- Set goals for the experience with your supervisor, including what skills and knowledge you hope to acquire.
- Questions for Identifying Your Goals
- What is your intended major or areas of emphasis, and do you want to earn credits towards those while abroad?
- Do you have a senior project, honors paper, or second language requirement you could work on abroad?
- How do you want your experience abroad to impact your career and professional development?
- Questions for Identifying Your Goals
- 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.
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.
- Cultural Vistas (Argentina, Chile, Germany, Spain)
- Child Family Health International (Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, South Africa)
- Cross-Cultural Solutions (Brazil, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Morocco, Peru, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand)
- GlobaLinks (Australia, Chile, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Spain)
- World Endeavors (Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Nepal, Spain, Thailand)
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.
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:
- Cultural Vistas (Germany and Switzerland)
- American Scandinavian Foundation (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden
Let’s Begin your Search
International internships are a great way to further develop your knowledge and skills. As you research internship options, you may notice 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.
Search through other organizations that may provide placement assistance for internships abroad.
- Michigan State University's International Internship Funding List
- International Jobs
- Go Abroad
- EPA Internships in Europe
- Directory of International Internships*
*The Directory of International Internships is an online searchable database produced by Michigan State University. Internship sponsors include two and four year colleges/universities, government agencies, non-profit groups, private organizations, and corporations. You can search by specific topics and geographical locations listed by country. Each entry contains a description of the internship, including cost and eligibility information as available, and the internship provider′s contact information.