Internships Abroad

How to Get a Paid Summer Internship Abroad in 2023

Learn how to spend your summer combining experiential learning with life-changing travel through a paid internship abroad.

Four chefs in a kitchen.

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 by stepping outside your comfort zone and taking on new challenges.

If you’re interested in combining travel with on-the-job experience this summer, read on for a comprehensive guide to finding the international internship of your dreams in 2023.

What are the advantages of interning abroad?

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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?

Photo by Chloe M., PADI Divemaster Internship Academy Alum

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 budget-friendly 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

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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 companies that offer paid summer internships abroad:

  • Adobe Research hires graduate students to "collaborate on state-of-the-art technologies." In summer 2023, 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?

Two people working at their computers

Choosing the country that best fits your professional and personal internship goals can be challenging. There are many fantastic options, and the right fit for you will depend on various factors, like the language you seek to work in, the type of work you are pursuing, and the work culture that best suits you.

To help in your decision-making, we have accumulated various metrics like the popularity of destinations, the countries with the most internship programs offered by providers and our own industry knowledge to choose the best countries to intern abroad and the best cities to intern abroad.

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!

Photo by Adam R., Peru Internships -- Global Skills & Knowledge Alum

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 during 2023 to work this year and gain skills that will stay with you no matter where you go.

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