Many university students choose to gain experience in their field of study by seeking summer internships abroad. The idea of working abroad may sound very attractive, but the search for a desirable internship can also seem overwhelming. Where do you begin?
- University Career Office-The best place to begin searching for a summer internship abroad is at your university's career resource center. These resource centers often post recruiting schedules that have been sent to them by overseas companies searching for interns. In some cases, these resource centers actually conduct interviews for the recruiting company, and then suggest specific interns for positions that the company might have available.
- Alumni Offices-Your university's alumni office is another excellent resource for finding summer internships abroad. Alumni associations often have branches in other parts of the world, and they work with graduates to find employment opportunities and internships as well. Your university may maintain an alumni registry that gives contact information for the country in which you are interested. If so, you should be able to contact that branch of the association either through a letter outlining your degree and internship preferences or through e-mail.
- International Student Organizations-Many international student organizations offer students searching for summer internships abroad a wealth of information and resources. These organizations can put you in touch with corporations willing to host summer interns, as well as companies who recruit college students and graduates for internships, some of which are even paying positions.
- International Cooperative Education Programs-These programs provide training for student interns, and are excellent choices for students searching for summer internships abroad. You can typically find these internships online or through your university's career resource center.
- Independent Proposals-Don't overlook creating your own internship proposals. While some companies may not recruit or even advertise for interns, they are often open to suggested proposals, and a summer internship may work well for their company. Be sure you do some background research into their company, so that when you write a letter of interest, you sound as if you are already familiar with the company.
- Governmental Opportunities-The U.S. State Department offers a limited number of internships abroad, and some of these may be specifically designated for the summer. There are specific application deadlines, so be sure and apply in plenty of time. The number of applicants typically far outweighs the number of internships awarded every year. While most of these internships are non-paying positions, you may be given public housing to offset your expenses while you live abroad.
- Peace Corps-One of your best options for a summer internship abroad is through the U.S. Peace Corps. The Peace Corps typically pays all of your expenses and may even award a stipend at the end of your service. A stint with the Peace Corps looks great on a resume and offers you valuable experience that will continue to benefit you throughout your career.
- Multinational Organizations-Organizations such as World Bank and the United Nations also offer summer internships abroad. Some of these internships are for those students who are still a year or two away from graduating, although these are typically non-paying positions. Graduate students may be able to find paying internships through one of these programs.
- Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs)-Finally, there are many other private volunteer organizations, such as World Teach and American Friends Service Committee, which offer summer internships abroad. While these internships may not offer monetary supplements, they may give students the opportunity to defer educational loan payments.