Interested in acquiring practical work experience while living abroad? An international internship is a great way to grow personally and professionally while gaining cross-cultural skills. An internship abroad experience is often considered a more individualized and independent experience than a typical study abroad program.
Find International Internships
Finding the right international internship and/or program provider will take time, so get started early! After researching some of the options below, make an appointment to see Kevin Hood, UM’s International Internship and Work Abroad Advisor (call the front desk at 243-2815). Also, be sure to make an appointment with your Academic Advisor, especially if you plan to get academic credit for the experience.
Students primarily seek out international internships in one of two ways. The preferred method is to use a third-party “internship provider,” organizations who assist students in finding appropriate internships and provide continual support to students while abroad. The other route is to find an internship on your own through databases or contacts abroad.
If you would like to learn more about volunteering abroad, working abroad, teaching English abroad, or if you want to know more about locally-based international organizations, check out the Academic Enrichment website.
Third-Party Internship Providers
For many reasons, students and educational institutions generally find using an internship provider is the best way to connect students with international internships. These organizations primary purpose is to ensure students have a safe and quality experience. Though this route is generally more expensive (see scholarships), most international internship organizations provide the following:
- Assist in finding a safe and quality internship abroad that is applicable to a students’ major .
- Prepare students for a successful experience through pre-departure orientations (i.e. develop realistic work expectations in a new culture).
- Assist with acquiring work visas and immunizations.
- Provide medical and emergency insurance.
- Provide housing or assist students in finding adequate housing.
- Monitor and support students while abroad, occasionally with in-country staff.
UM has partnered with GlobaLinks and IE3 Global Internships to connect students with quality internships abroad. These organizations are a great place to start when considering an international internship but we have included two additional databases that list many other accredited programs for you to review.
Developing Your Own Internship
For a student that is resourceful, mature, and processes cross-cultural skills, finding an internship on his/her own can be a viable option. Some students opt to create their own internship experience if they know that they will be abroad for a semester or more and/or the student already has connections to a certain country. It is important to research the labor laws and expectations of another country to ensure that the internship goes smoothly. However, it’s important to do your research to ensure an internship experience is possible and practical before pursuing it further.
It is also important to ensure the internship site has a support structure in place. For example, think about the following. What happens if I don't like my boss, or if I don't feel safe in my housing? What happens if I get sick? Does my medical insurance work in this country? These are realistic circumstances and it’s important that one is comfortable being able to solve such issues in a foreign country. There are many databases that will help you find opportunities abroad that you can develop into an internship, Idealist.com and the Academic Enrichment website are great places to start!
For information about immunizations, see the Curry Health Center website.