Learn how to spend your summer combining experiential learning with life-changing travel through a paid internship abroad.
By Colin Murchison
Published December 20, 2021
International internships are one of the best ways to gain skills in the field of your choice, and international placements make it easy for you to gather experience from world-class organizations. In addition to the work experience, going overseas is a great way to learn other valuable skills from stepping outside your comfort zone.
If you’re interested in combining travel with on-the-job experience this summer, here is your comprehensive guide to finding the international internship of your dreams.
What are the advantages of interning abroad?
An internship is an opportunity to gain real-world work experience and try out a potential career field without committing fully to it. Traveling overseas provides a culturally immersive experience that will push you to become more independent, grow your perspective, and challenge your preconceived notions.
Interning abroad allows you to combine the benefits of on-the-job work experience with an immersive travel experience. Additionally, it will boost your resume. According to Diversity Abroad, interning abroad will differentiate your resume from other candidates by developing desired skills in a global environment and establishing you have completed a cross-cultural experience.
What are the advantages of a summer internship?
Summer internships are most popular among current university students, as the work won't interfere with classes. Additionally, summer internships tend to be between 10 to 12 weeks. Due to the shorter timeframe, summer internships likely won't be filled with busy work, so your assigned tasks will be highly relevant and valuable for your learning experience.
Interning abroad during the summer allows you to fit in leisure travel before or after the internship begins without interfering with your coursework. Since you'll already be overseas, it's much easier and cheaper to quickly hop on a bus, train, or plane and experience more places than just the city your internship is in. Also, you won't be consumed with homework or studying during the weekends, allowing you to spend that time growing a newfound friendship group in your home abroad.
Interning abroad is a wonderful networking opportunity. You will make personal and professional connections that will last long past the summer. Be sure to stay connected with these contacts by adding them on LinkedIn or other various social networks. You never know when they'll come in handy!
How to find a paid internship abroad
Finding an internship can be an intimidating task, and finding one abroad is an even more significant challenge. There are a few basic steps you should take before applying. To begin, ask yourself the following questions:
- What industry will give you the most relevant work experience?
- What countries have a need or job market for that type of work?
- Do you speak another language, and do you want to intern in English or that language?
- What countries can you receive a visa to participate in an internship legally?
Once you have narrowed down the internship type and countries that fit your goals and capabilities, it's time to button up your resume and prepare to start applying.
How to apply for internships abroad
There are two general paths to finding a paid summer internship abroad. The first is to go through a program provider, who will assist you through the entire process, from placing you with an organization to helping navigate the visa application, to helping ensure you have a safe and successful experience. Some providers may offer their own internship programs, or they may be a conduit between you and the host organization.
There are distinct benefits of interning abroad through a program provider, including the expert knowledge and support system they will provide you before, during, and directly after the internship. Your provider may also help you earn university credit for your internship. That said, all of this comes at a cost. Program providers charge a fee for their services, both for paid and unpaid internships.
Note: Qualified candidates may be able to find scholarships or financial aid for interning abroad.
Many young adults will benefit significantly from the assistance and support program providers offer. That said, highly experienced travelers willing to forgo the expertise offered by program providers may want to apply directly with international organizations.
Applying directly will require more front-end work. Instead of a provider placing you with an organization, you will need to do all the research yourself, including qualifications, visas, housing, and transportation. You will also be competing with all the other candidates applying for the internship. Those taking this route will need to understand the requirements for interning in the country they're applying in and have some local knowledge to have the best chance of landing an internship.
There is the obvious cost-benefit of applying directly to internships with organizations overseas. Additionally, directly applying is a good route for those trying to enter the hiring pipeline for highly competitive corporations. Internships often conclude with full-time job offers for high-performing interns.
Popular summer internship program providers:
Global Experiences Internships in Madrid, Spain
International Internships in Madrid with The Intern Group
3 new reviews
Global Experiences Internships in London, England
Popular companies that offer paid summer internships abroad:
- Adobe Research hires graduate students to "collaborate on state-of-the-art technologies." In summer 2022, they are hiring interns in the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK
- Google hires interns in software engineering, UX, product management, and other technology-related fields. Internships are available in the UK, France, Switzerland, Ireland, and South Korea
- JPMorgan Chase & Co. hires student interns for finance, leadership development, banking, and other finance roles in the USA, Mainland China, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK, Bahrain, Japan, Germany, and the Philippines
- Apple offers various internships to both undergraduates and postgraduate students in China, Germany, France, England, Switzerland, Japan, Italy, Austria, Spain, and the US
- Tesla offers internships and apprenticeships in engineering, sales, visual design, business development, and many other categories in the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Mainland China, Hong Kong, and the US
When to apply for summer internships abroad
Since the application and visa process can take some time, it is important to apply well ahead of time for your summer internship. You should start your research four to six months before the start date and begin applying for open positions two to three months beforehand. Expect to spend time during the spring participating in interviews. Once you have an offer, start your visa process immediately.
Qualifications for summer internships abroad
The great thing about internships is that you're expected not to have much industry experience. An internship is an educational experience, and while you may get paid, the real value is experiential learning.
That said, you may need to be enrolled in a relevant university program, especially if you're applying directly with international organizations. Other qualifications may include:
- The ability to speak the language (if not an English-speaking internship)
- No criminal history
- The ability to pass a health screening
Program providers may also require you to carry travel or health insurance that will cover you while overseas.
What are the best destinations for a paid internship abroad?
Go Overseas tracks trends in the travel industry. One way we do so is by paying attention to what our community members are adding to their wish list. During 2021, Go Overseas community members wish listed internship programs across the globe, with China, England, Spain, and Australia being the most popular destinations throughout the year.
To take it a step further, we also follow what countries have the most internship programs offered by providers and use this information combined with our industry knowledge to choose the best countries to intern abroad and the best cities to intern abroad in 2022.
While these destinations may be the most desirable for most prospective interns, that doesn't mean they're the best for you. We encourage candidates to take on new challenges and find the program that best fits their goals.
Get experience, get paid!
Paid internships give you the opportunity for a hands-on experience that can’t be found in a classroom. Through international internships, you’ll have the chance to see your field with a global perspective, learn from experts, and enjoy new and exciting experiences as you adapt to life abroad and immerse yourself in another culture. Put your summer to work this year and gain skills that will stay with you no matter where you go.
Once you've completed your summer internship, don't forget to put it on your resume!
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Can you get paid to intern abroad? ›
Plenty of internships abroad are paid -- but not all. While the idea of unpaid work can be initially unappealing, you may want to strongly consider unpaid internships too. Some offer even more value than you think. Paid internships provide either an hourly wage or program stipend.Can I get a summer internship for abroad? ›
Find a paid internship abroad
You could make money a non-issue by looking for an international internship that pays you. While these opportunities are comparatively rare, they do exist. A lot of internships now pay almost the same as an entry-level full-time job.
Career Advisor at Your School
This is probably the easiest and most obvious place to begin your search for an internship abroad. Talk to an advisor at your school about the kind of opportunities that you're after. Some business schools partner up with companies for internships, some of which can be abroad.
The answer is yes without hesitation.
And it will look great on your resume! Employers love candidates with international experiences and they will be blinded by the light reflecting off your international internship experience. There's no need to further question the worth of paying for an internship abroad.
Do you need a visa for an internship in the UK? All foreign nationals who are not settled workers or do not otherwise have permission to work in the UK will need a visa to undertake a UK internship. This is known as a T5 (Temporary Worker) Government Authorised Exchange visa.Are internships in Israel paid? ›
In general, internships in Israel are unpaid, with a very small possibility of finding a paid opportunity. However, most internship programs will provide at least some accommodation and meals for interns.Can you do an internship while studying abroad? ›
The answer is absolutely. Many providers offer opportunities to add internships to an overseas experience. In some programs with study and intern abroad components, students typically spend a portion of their time abroad in classes, followed by (or in some instances, concurrent with) an internship placement.Can I do internship outside India? ›
Yes, there are definitely paid internships abroad. However, it will be far more common to find unpaid internships. Depending on your field and destination, paid internship opportunities are few and far between, and tend to be a lot more competitive.How can I get a job abroad? ›
- Use international job boards to search for positions abroad. ...
- Send an application tailored to your destination country. ...
- Apply for a visa. ...
- Pack your bags and hit the road.
The answer is absolutely. Many providers offer opportunities to add internships to an overseas experience. In some programs with study and intern abroad components, students typically spend a portion of their time abroad in classes, followed by (or in some instances, concurrent with) an internship placement.
What does international internship mean? ›
According to William Nolting and his team at NAFSA, an international internship is defined as: “A short-term (one month to one year) work experience with an organization abroad that allows participants to apply theoretical classroom knowledge in a real-world setting, and gain a better understanding of a given field in ...Can you intern abroad after graduation? ›
An international internship is your answer. There are many reasons why interning abroad should be your next move right after graduation. Here are our top five. One of the reasons we hear the most from interns or alumni is that their internship helped them decide if that's the career they want to pursue.How do I get an internship abroad Quora? ›
- Send out mails to the possible organizations.
- Do not expect all organizations to revert back.
- Send out internship request emails at least 3 months before getting accepted.
- Consider various organizations that are open to internships.