International Internships: 8 Tips for Getting Started

Posted on Jul 24, 2019 | 0 comments

International Internships: 8 Tips for Getting Started

Calling all students enjoying a current summer break: This is a great time to begin thinking about lining up your internship for next summer, especially if you want to secure an internship in another country.

While “next summer” might seem light years away, many competitive internships require substantial applications and have early deadlines. Time spent investigating different internship options and finding the best fit is important. Once the academic year begins, you can be sure other classwork priorities will leave you little extra room in your schedule to spend on this sort of research.


Internships are a great way to gain real world experience in your field. Internships can validate your career choice and assist in developing a professional network. In a highly competitive employment market, the experience gained from an internship can provide an important edge.  In addition to a well-rounded education, employers are looking for individuals with practical skills, professional development, work experience, and industry contacts; a good internship can provide all of these things.


International internships offer additional value. They provide the opportunity to experience life in a new country or culture from a secure vantage point. An international internship adds impact to a resume and lets future employers understand you are a person willing to take risks, try new things, and leave your comfort zone. It shows you can adjust to a new culture, figure out visas and job paperwork, and excel despite being thousands of miles away from family and friends. Improving skills in a foreign language or learning a new language is an additional benefit for your CV.


Starting the Search

How should you get started? The number of available internships may be related to the timing of your search.  Some internship programs are highly competitive and have deadlines 9-12 months prior to the start of the internship, so planning should begin early. Here are 8 steps to get you going:

  • Research organizations and companies in your field of interest and research what cities are best for your industry.
  • Reach out to your university career center, professors and academic adviser for assistance in identifying the best internships for your major. Most universities cultivate relationships with employers to help place their students in internships.
  • Develop a strong resume and cover letter template. Spend time learning about the different expectations employers in various countries have for employment paperwork.
  • Assess your language skills: English may be the most useful language globally, but if you have ability in other languages as well consider where they might be the most marketable. Now is the time to brush up on your skills if they’ve gotten rusty. (We’ve got a great list of language learning apps!)
  • Consider your budget: Can you afford to live in Tokyo and accept an unpaid internship? Is the budget so tight that once abroad, further travel will be impossible?
  • Consider passport and visa requirements for various countries and what limitations that may present for your travel.
  • Prepare for your interview and be ready to promote yourself. Your interest in the company and industry will be apparent by your application and interview.  The employer wants to know how you will contribute to their organization and help out the team.
  • Begin identifying internships that will work for your situation. A list to get you started:


AIESEC: AIESEC is the world’s largest student‐run organization with placements in over 110 countries and with over 60,000 members. It offers students the opportunity to be get experience and skills by working in a foreign country in areas of management, technology, education, and development. Internships last from 6 weeks to 18 months. The salary typically covers living costs.

Erasmus+: An organization of the European Union that includes traineeships, work placements, internships, and more. The opportunities on Erasmus+ are available to students and recent graduates.

Go Overseas Internships Abroad: A portal with hundreds of internship opportunities by time period, country, and a wide variety of industries. This portal offers international education and travel databases and resources. Its database of international internship opportunities is updated daily and the site offers a comprehensive range of relevant resources and tools. Another resource – is a part of part of

IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience): IAETE arranges paid internships in engineering, computer science, mathematics, natural/physical sciences, architecture, and agricultural science in over 80 countries. If you’re looking to change the world, this site focuses on opportunities at NGOs and other organizations across the globe trying to make our planet a better place.


It’s important to intern with an organization or company in a sector that aligns with career goals and offers substantive opportunities to develop professional skills. Ask questions during the interview process to help determine whether or not a specific internship will provide the opportunities for learning and skill development and how you’ll be able to contribute meaningfully to the company or organization.

Now is the time to begin your search! A bit of early effort can result in amazing opportunities later on.


Interested in learning more about internships in a new country?

Passport Career provides more detailed career information and extensive resources about networking, finding an international job or internship, country-specific business protocol and culture, alternative career opportunities, writing country-specific resumes/CVs, cover letters and interview strategies for other countries. If your university/college, organization, company, embassy, library, or other institution would like access to our country portfolios and global career training program (50,000+ pages of expert content for 90+ countries and 275+ cities) to share with your students, employees, spouses/partners, and others managing a national or international career transition, please click here to contact us (or send email to: regarding a free, live, online demo and details on how to obtain a license to access Passport Career. Individuals making a career transition are also encouraged to contact us for a free demo of our portal.



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