Europe or overseas? The right place for your internship abroad
A clear plus point for an internship in Europe, for example in London, is of course the short distance to your home country. Due to the quick arrival, you have the opportunity to personally introduce yourself to your future employer and get a first impression of the company. In addition, the organizational effort is significantly lower and the costs are often cheaper because you don’t have to apply for a visa for an internship in Europe.
If you are drawn into the distance and want to get to know a foreign culture outside Europe up close, you can opt for an internship overseas. Despite the bureaucratic hurdles, an internship in the USA, Canada, Chile or Singapore is a unique opportunity for you. In addition to professional experience in international companies or organizations, you will have breathtaking travel experiences and get to know a non-European culture.
Now or later? The right time for your internship abroad
When is the right time for an internship abroad? How useful is it to do an internship between a bachelor’s and master’s degree or during a semester on leave? Everyone decides for themselves when the right time for an internship abroad is. You therefore have to ask yourself what goals you are pursuing with an internship abroad.
Internship during the bachelor’s degree
Students who do an internship during their bachelor’s degree benefit from early professional orientation and practical experience. However, some companies and organizations require a certain minimum number of study semesters, for example the Academic Internship Council.
Internship between bachelor’s and master’s degree
An internship between a bachelor’s and master’s degree offers you the chance to take a break from your studies and at the same time gain important practical experience abroad. The internship allows you to find out what you would like to specialize in as part of your master’s degree and whether your dream industry really suits you. In this case, too, it makes sense to find out about the application requirements, as some internships or grants are only awarded to enrolled students.
Internship during the master’s degree
During your master’s degree, you often have the best chances of a really good internship: You already have a bachelor’s degree, acquired in-depth theoretical knowledge in your field of study and, ideally, already gained practical experience in Germany. In many master’s degree programs, a compulsory internship is planned in the study regulations, which can often also be completed abroad.
Internship after graduation
Even if you already have your master’s degree in your pocket and are planning to go abroad for a few months, you can still consider an internship abroad. During this time you will build up a professional network on the international job market and gain further valuable practical experience before starting your career.
Preparation of an internship abroad
The be-all and end-all of a successful internship abroad is early planning. It is advisable to find out at least three quarters of a year in advance about the often early application deadlines of the employer of your choice and the respective formalities of the international application.
Costs and financing options
Above all, the high costs of an internship abroad are an important factor that you should definitely take into account when planning. Depending on the country, there are different fees such as visa, foreign health insurance, vaccination and flight costs. In order to plan your budget realistically and to protect yourself from surprises, you should inform yourself in advance about the cost of living at the destination.
Since internships abroad are usually unpaid, it is important to clarify in advance how you want to finance your living abroad. There are a number of funding opportunities that are open to you. There is the possibility of receiving a scholarship for an internship abroad. Various organizations and various foundations award scholarships:
- Erasmus + internships in Europe
- Fulbright funding initiative for internships in the USA
- PROMOS grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
Another option for financing a stay abroad is the Auslands-BAföG for internships abroad. The prerequisite for this, however, is that the internship abroad is a compulsory part of your studies. Students who are not entitled to BAföG in Germany can also partially receive BAföG abroad. In any case, it is worthwhile to get information from the responsible BAföG office.
Those who do not receive a scholarship or BAföG abroad can finance their internship abroad with a low-interest education loan.