How to Find a Paid Internship Abroad

Three Parts:Choosing an InternshipApplying for Your InternshipStarting Your Internship

Going abroad is a rite of passage for many college students and new graduates. Traveling to different countries and experiencing different cultures can provide great opportunities for learning and growth. Paid internships offer an opportunity to gain working experience while exposing yourself to new places, people and cultures.

Part 1
Choosing an Internship

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    Make sure you understand what an internship is. An internship is a way to gain professional experiencing in an industry that you hope to work in and can be either paid or unpaid. Many people choose to pursue paid internships abroad to offset the cost of interning in another country.[1]
    • Internships are great ways to gain experience and add to your resume before you are ready to enter your chosen career field.
    • An internship can also serve as a “dry run” of sorts to see if you really do want to work within your chosen career field.
    • You can usually earn credits toward your degree through working an internship, provided it meets your school’s criteria.
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    Check with your school’s internship coordinator. Most schools have someone appointed specifically to help students find and apply for internships. Your school’s internship coordinator will know your school’s specific rules about internships as well as how to determine which ones will be good for school credit.[2]
    • In order to gain credits through your internship, it likely will need to be tied directly to your major. For instance, if you are a business major you should pursue an internship that involves business operations.
    • If your school does not have an internship coordinator, it likely still has a list of rules that your internship should adhere to.
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    Identify the industry you want to intern in. You will need to choose a career field or industry to focus your search on. You should base your search on your current major as well as what you hope to do once you graduate. If you have a specific job in mind that you want to pursue, try to find an internship doing that job or working directly with someone who has it.
    • Think about what type of work you’d like to get into after you graduate. You’ll want to look for an internship that is close to the position.
    • If you don’t have a specific job in mind, think about the industry you want to work in. Do an internet search for jobs within that field and keep those careers in mind as you look for an internship.
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    Choose a region of the world you’d like to intern in. If you intend to work in an internship abroad, it will help to narrow down the area that you want to search in. There are internships available in countries all around the world. If you don’t have a particularly country in mind, narrow your search to a continent like Europe or Asia.
    • Depending on the field you want to work in, some continents may be better choices than others. For instance, you may want to work in France or Italy if you are majoring in fashion.
    • Some industries rely heavily on international trade and having experience in a large market like China could benefit your pursuit of work with a business degree.
    • Being able to speak the language can be valuable, but is not always necessary for internships.
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    Put together a résumé to use when applying. In order to apply for most internships, you will be required to submit a résumé that shows your previous education and any prior work history. A strong résumé can help you stand out against other applicants vying for the same internship.[3]
    • You will need to put together a professional looking résumé.
    • If you do not have work experience to pull from, you can still put together a college résumé.
    • Don’t worry if you are lacking work experience; internships are intended to help those with little experience to gain it.

Part 2
Applying for Your Internship

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    Search for viable options online. There are many internship search databases online that you can use to find internships to apply for. Many of them allow you to search by keyword, job title or description, country or continent.[4]
    • Websites like offers lists of international internships by country.
    • United Planet provides a searchable list of internships at
    • Websites like offer a database of internships as well as other resources that may be valuable to prospective international interns.
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    Use social media and your relationships to identify internship opportunities. Social media platforms like LinkedIn can not only help you find internship postings, but they can be great ways to connect with people already working for companies that you hope to intern for. You may also know someone that works for an international company. Reach out to friends and family to see if they can connect you with the human resources department of a company you’d like to intern for.[5]
    • Creating a LinkedIn profile can help companies get to know you when you apply for internships.
    • You may have a much stronger chance at getting chosen for a paid internship if someone within the company can vouch for you.
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    Attend international career fairs. Career fairs aren’t only for those looking for full time employment. Often, companies that send representatives to career fairs have a need to fill internship positions as well. Search the internet for international career fairs in your area and contact your school’s internship coordinator to see if there are any scheduled on campus.[6]
    • Make sure to dress professionally when attending a career fair to put your best foot forward.
    • Bring copies of your résumé and be prepared to discuss your qualifications with people at the career fair.
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    Use your school’s alumni office to network. Most colleges and universities maintain relationships with their alumni for fundraising and professional placements for graduates. You may be able to use the alumni office to help you make contact with people who graduated from your school and now work overseas.[7]
    • Much like using LinkedIn to network, you don’t have to know someone ahead of time to seek their help with finding an internship.
    • Be professional, courteous and grateful for any help you receive when dealing with school alumni.
    • Networking is never a waste of time, even if you don’t find an internship as a result.
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    Apply for internships that look interesting to you. You will likely need to apply for more than one internship, as you may not be hired by your first choice. As you find internships you would like to pursue, apply to them based on the requirements listed on the internship posting.
    • Some internships may require that you only fill out an application, while others may require your résumé as well.
    • Some may require you to write an essay explaining your interest in the internship or talking about yourself. Make sure to proofread your essay well. You want to put your best foot forward in order to land the internship you really want.
    • Consider asking friends or one of your professors to look over your essay and résumé before submitting them.
    • Apply to as many internships as you like. It’s always better to have more options than fewer.
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    Gather the appropriate documents. You will need some forms of identification as well as proof of any certifications you may require for your internship. Depending on the country hosting you, you may want to pursue attaining a local driver’s license as well.
    • You will need a passport to travel outside of the country.
    • Ask the company you plan to intern for if you will need any type of Visa to come and intern in their nation.
    • You may be able to drive in some countries with a driver’s license from the United States.

Part 3
Starting Your Internship

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    Make sure you have enough money saved. While paid internships will provide you with some money while you work, they often do not pay enough to support living in another nation for a short period of time. You will need money for housing, food, and entertainment while you live in your host country.[8]
    • You will be responsible for the cost of traveling to the nation you intern in as well as your living expenses while abroad.
    • You may be able to use financial aid or student loans to pay for a portion of your expenses.
    • Regulations as to how much you must be paid as an intern vary greatly between industries and within each nation, so your need for savings can vary.
    • If you are doing your internship for school credit, don’t forget to include the cost of tuition in your savings calculations.
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    Find housing accommodations. If you are doing your internship through a school program, they often have housing options available to you with fixed costs. If you are looking for housing outside of a school sanctioned program, you will need to find housing for the term you spend abroad.
    • Each country has different rules and common practices when it comes to housing. Renting and leasing options vary as well as pricing and what is commonly included in a rental.
    • Communication with the company you will be interning with to see if they have any recommendations about housing that is available to you.
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    Find ways to reduce your housing costs. There are other options available to you as an international intern if you are concerned about reducing costs. You can find a roommate that will also be interning abroad to help distribute the cost or you can consider staying with a sponsor family that houses international interns.[9]
    • The Center for International Education Exchange is a non-profit organization ( that can help international interns find free or very low cost housing with families that agree to take them in.
    • If your school has an internship coordinator, ask them to help you find housing at your destination.
    • Inquire about other interns at the same company to see if they may be looking for roommates.
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    Make a good first impression. Starting an internship is just like starting a new job, so it’s important that you make a good impression. If you are doing your internship for credit, your performance at your internship may count for a grade. If not, you are still working in exchange for pay, so you’ll be expected to perform the tasks assigned to you in a professional manner.
    • Make sure to dress appropriately for the job you are doing. If it is in an office, dress in business or business casual attire. If your internship is outdoors, make sure you are wearing the appropriate clothing to keep you safe from the elements.
    • Be on time and prepare yourself to work hard in order to make a good impression at work.
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    Experience the culture of a new country. While working at your internship, don’t forget to get out and experience the city you are working in. Every place has a unique and dynamic culture and few people get to experience the way people live in other places around the world.
    • Meet people and go sight-seeing during your off hours.
    • Take part in adventure programs that are sponsored by your school if there are any.
    • Some companies offer trips or events designed specifically for international interns.
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    Be aware of the dangers inherent to where you will be staying. While living in another country can be an incredible experience, it’s important that you keep safety in mind while exploring. There are dangers inherent to any city in any nation around the world.[10]
    • Travel.State.Gov offers a list of travel warnings and alerts for any country you may be interning in.
    • Consider enrolling in the STEP program provided by the U.S. State Department. It will register you with the closest U.S. Consulate that can help you in the event of any kind of emergency.

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Categories: Studying Overseas | Internships