Internships Abroad

Go Overseas is here to take the guesswork out of finding internships abroad.

Guide to Interning Abroad

Can you imagine completing college semester credits or earning extra cash just for temporarily living and working in an amazing country overseas? Interning abroad gives you just that opportunity!

If the idea of eating delicious international food, taking local transportation, and immersing yourself in a completely different culture gives you happy butterflies, you’re in for a treat.

When you secure an international internship you open doors to the possibility of academic acceleration, resume and networking building, language learning, and cultural immersion into a whole new local community.

The average intern is an undergraduate student or recent graduate / young professional looking for an opportunity to strengthen their work experience. Choosing an internship abroad allows you to balance your love for travel with a new experience that will help you learn and grow -- all while training you to become an ideal career candidate.

Whether paid or unpaid, short-term or long-term, interning abroad holds great value. It’s become so popular that we’ve dedicated an entire section of Go Overseas to helping you search internship opportunities around the world. Use this intern abroad guide to help you find planning tips, logistical advice, and expert insight about interning overseas.

What is an international internship?

If you’ve heard your school administrators or classmates discussing ways to boost academic performance and professional resumes before entering the career world, you’ve likely also heard the term “international internship” too. Perhaps your degree even requires a certain number of internship hours to graduate and you like the idea of doing it abroad.

An international internship is an overseas work opportunity, usually during school breaks but may also occur over the course of a school year or semester, that offers payment or school credit for field work related to your major. It is most common for students looking to fulfill an internship requirement before graduation or young professionals seeking hands-on experience before entering the workforce.

How to get an internship abroad

Interning abroad can be a great way to gain valuable professional experience, learn about different cultures, and expand your network.

Here are some steps you can take to start interning abroad:

  • Determine your goals: Consider what you hope to gain or learn from an international internship. Do you want to grow your skills or understand the inner workings of a specific industry? Are you looking to build your portfolio? Are you seeking mentorship?
  • Research potential internships: Once you have an idea of where you want to intern and where you want to travel to, start searching for internships in the country and industry that interests you. Take a look at all of the options available on Go Overseas to read verified unbiased reviews!
  • Apply for internships: Once you have found internships that interest you, apply for them by submitting your resume and cover letter. Some internships may also require a writing sample, portfolio, or letters of recommendation.
  • Obtain necessary documents: Depending on the country you plan to intern in, you may need a work visa or other legal documents. Research the visa requirements and begin the application process early.
  • Prepare for the experience: Before you depart for your internship, learn as much as you can about the culture and customs of the country you will be living in. Also, consider learning some basic phrases in the local language.
  • Make arrangements for housing and transportation: Look for housing options near your internship site, and consider transportation options for getting to and from work.
  • Pack for your trip: Pack the necessary clothes and items you will need for your internship abroad.
  • Enjoy the experience: Once you arrive, make the most of your internship by learning as much as you can, meeting new people, and exploring the local area in your free time!

Requirements to Intern Abroad

Internship requirements vary by job, so no one shoe fits all. Some internships have a school year minimum, others may have a major or class prerequisite. If you are hoping to intern in a country where English isn’t a primary language, you can bet you’ll need a certain level of fluency in the respective local language.

Other requirements for interning abroad include:

  • An up-to-date resume
  • A valid passport and visa (if necessary)
  • Academic credit transfer approval (not all internship credits may transfer; check with your advisor before applying)

Visas seem like a big headache when trying to land an international internship. Do you apply for a tourist visa? Do you apply for a student visa? Do you apply for a work visa if it is a paid internship?

Visa requirements vary by: the country, your nationality, and the work circumstance. Many countries will allow you to intern on a 3-month tourist visa, while others may require an invitation contact from the internship program before applying for your visa. This is where working with your school or an internship placement provider will prove useful. If that isn’t an option, each country’s government website should offer a breakdown of the requirements.

The Costs of Internships Abroad

When you intern abroad, the cost may vary dramatically. In theory, many people assume an internship shouldn’t cost anything -- but it is more complicated that.

  1. First, you have the higher costs associated with booking through your school or an internship placement program. For instance, you can find yourself paying about $5,000 plus flights for a placement internship in a country like Guatemala while paying $2,000 (all inclusive) when independently arranging an internship in Egypt.
  2. There is also the fact that not every internship is paid; many are academic credit-based, leaving you with living expenses to cover on your own from savings.

If you want to bypass the extra costs that come with internship placement, here’s a first-hand experience about how to secure an internship abroad for free.

Paid or Unpaid Internships 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. These opportunities are highly competitive because of their paid status, and often demand stronger experience to be accepted.

Unpaid internships are more welcoming to prospects with no work experience. If you are wondering whether you should take an unpaid assignment abroad, read this internship advice on whether you should take an unpaid internship abroad from one of our Go Overseas experts.

If you are set on securing a paid internship overseas, you’ll have your work cut out for you. Paid internships are highly competitive and can require a bit of extra elbow grease to get started.

Applying For an Internship Abroad

There are a number of ways to find internships abroad:

  • Contact your school’s designated study abroad or academic advisory office
  • Book through placement providers
  • Apply for internships directly on a company website
  • Search online job boards with an internship filter

This guide on how to find an international internship breaks down the different ways to secure the best internship for you.

Here on Go Overseas, you can search by country, term, or internship type, above to discover the many programs that can help you find the paid internship of your dreams. If all else fails, the Internet is your friend! Job listings, Google searches, and company websites can offer a fresh listing of paid internships to apply to.

Each route to finding an internship has its pros and cons. If you do the search alone, for instance, you may identify fresh opportunities that aren’t partnered with your school or third-party program. However, you will also lose the benefit of having an advisor guiding you along the way and support system while you’re overseas.

How Go Overseas Works

Go Overseas is your trusted source for travel abroad programs: here you can browse and discover thousands of vetted providers. Just like a trusted travel buddy, we want to help you find the right information and feel excited and confident about your first or next culturally immersive trip overseas. We know sometimes having an abundance of options can be overwhelming, so we have a few tips on how to use Go Overseas to find the perfect transformative travel program for you.

  1. Browse 16,000+ programs: Narrow your search results by using filters, such as program type, location, and length.

  2. Read 46,000+ Reviews: Real people have gone on these programs, and have experiences to share. Read alumni reviews on any program that interests you to get an idea of what it's really like to be on the ground, overseas.

  3. Read 5,700+ Interviews: For any program that really sparks your interest, read personal stories and in-depth accounts from travelers like you. If you'd like to reach out and hear more from the traveler who left an interview, let us know and we'll help connect you.

  4. Browse community photos: Pictures of food, accommodations, adventures, and people (oh, the friends you'll make!) in program community galleries will help you visualize yourself abroad.

  5. Wish List 💙: Not ready to commit to a program? Click the Wish List heart icon to bookmark programs and save them for later. Then, compare programs side by side.

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Frequently Asked Intern Abroad Questions

  • Can you intern in another country?

    Yes! Interning abroad is a great way to build a global perspective and improve your skills and cross-cultural communication. You can find international internships here on Go Overseas by browsing through program providers or our global job board.

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  • How do I find internships abroad?

    To find an internship abroad, you can either work with a program placement provider or search independently through online job boards and apply directly.

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  • When is the best time to intern abroad?

    The best time to intern abroad is while you're in college. Many students opt to do a summer internship abroad, since your work won't interfere with your class schedule and you'll have more free time to travel and really enjoy yourself as you're abroad, without having to worry about homework or studying. Summer internships usually run for 10-12 weeks, which means your internship will be brief but packed with valuable projects and helpful trainings, as they won't waste your time with "busy work".

    Another good option is interning while you're already studying abroad! Some program providers will offer students the chance to add on an internship, alongside their study abroad program.

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  • How much does it cost to intern abroad?

    The cost of interning abroad depends on whether you apply directly or through a program placement provider, where you choose to intern, and if the internship is paid or not. If you apply independently, you won't have to pay to apply, but you will have to handle logistics, such as purchasing flights, renting an apartment, paying for meals, etc. If you go through a program placement provider, you'll pay a higher price upfront but it will typically cover all of your room and board.

    Fortunately, there are plenty of scholarships and financial aid available for students looking for internships abroad!

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  • Which country is best for interning abroad?

    Some of the top countries for interning abroad include Australia, England, Italy, South Africa, and Japan. When deciding where to intern abroad, you should consider what countries specialize in your desired industry, check whether or not that location welcomes international workers, and make sure there isn't a language barrier that may derail your productivity. After all, you're there to gain valuable work experience and grow your industry knowledge!

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