Immerse yourself in la dolce vita (the sweet life) and choose to intern in Italy! Known internationally for its mouth-watering cuisine and its ancient history and impressive sights, Italy gives you the opportunity to explore one of the oldest civilizations on Earth while gaining valuable work experience. Many internships in Italy are available with the option to be tailored to your own personal, academic, and professional goals depending on the provider.
For those on the outside, finding an internship in Italy without assistance or personal connections can be very hard due to their tight-knit work culture. If you are hoping to eliminate these types of problems, then taking the time to research different providers that will have someone organize it on your behalf can be very helpful.
- Fashion: Home to world renowned fashion designers such as Giorgio Armani, Missoni, and Versace, Italy is constantly at the forefront and is proud to continue their tradition of making long-lasting trends. With such a rich culture and an artistic history, there is no surprise that Italians are known for being cutting edge. If you are interested in being able to creatively express yourself while soaking up the Italian sun, then grabbing an internship in Italy's fashion industry is right for you!
- Hospitality/Tourism: With over 37 million tourists a year, Italy is ranked as the fifth major tourist destination in the world. This makes it a perfect location for an internship if you are looking to learn more about the field of hospitality or the travel industry. Expect to gain hands on experience by working in Italian restaurants and hotels or with tourism agencies and companies.
- Marine Biology: Have you ever wanted to work on both land and sea? If so, embrace the opportunity for a once in a lifetime hands-on experience in research, environmental conservation, communication patterns and more by choosing to intern along the coast of Italy. Many internship opportunities await those wanting to work with different marine mammals, such as dolphins, near the magnificent Mediterranean Sea.
When and Where to Look for an Internship:
For those looking to work in an exciting and fast paced environment, Milan, the fashion capital of the world, is a great place to immerse yourself in the culture especially if you’re interested in Fashion or Finance. If Marine Biology is more of your thing, then make sure to check out cities near the breathtaking Mediterranean. If that doesn’t suit you, you can always choose Rome or Florence, where a vast majority of internships in Business, Communications, Tourism, and Hospitality are available. While internships in Italy are generally available year-round, try to avoid working in August, when many businesses are shut down.
Cost of Living in Italy:
Most internships available in Italy take place in big cities such as Rome and Milan which means that the cost of living can be a lot higher than in the rest of the country. On average, the rent per month for a one-bedroom apartment in the center of a large Italian city is 600 Euros ($765). Try to avoid eating at restaurants and shopping at stores that are aimed at reeling in tourists. It is best to find yourself walking away from the sights, turning the mysterious corner, and supporting the many family businesses that are scattered all over Italy to get a more genuine (and cheaper) experience! For more information, visit Numbeo.
Work Culture in Italy:
- Etiquette: Italians are extremely intuitive, which means that first impressions are important. They prefer to do business with people that they know and trust. In the workplace, it is common to be interrupted while speaking or for voices to be raised. However, this is not because they are angry. Italians can be very expressive communicators, often using facial and hand gestures to prove their point. Dressing to impress is a priority as well. Men and women should aim towards wearing dark colored and conservative business clothing while keeping their accessories very elegant.
- Language: It goes without saying that the better you are at speaking Italian, the easier it will be to communicate with your colleagues in your new internship. However, there is always room to polish up your Italian with many internship programs providing intensive Italian-language classes and even private tutoring if needed. Being realistic about your language ability and willing to improve upon these skills is important to keep in mind once you arrive in Italy.
- Networking: Taking the time to build relationships with your colleagues is important since Italians are very big on working with people they can get along with. Most of the time, the goal of a first meeting is to develop an initial sense of respect and trust. Networking is often considered a full-time occupation since personal contacts can really help you get ahead.
There are many professional networking organizations that can help you find the right internship in Italy. These include:
- The American Chamber of Commerce in Italy
- The Bienvenuto Club of Milan
- The Professional Women’s Association
- The American Women’s Association of Rome
Work and Labor Laws in Italy
US citizens are allowed to stay in Italy for up to 12 weeks. After that, a student visa is needed. Due to visa regulations, all Italian internships are unpaid. However, some companies may offer a bonus, living allowance, or other types of perks for your efforts and this is at the discretion of the employer.