Twelve Steps for an Overseas Internship

  1. What are the goals and expectations you have for your overseas internship?

      As a rule, an overseas internship is always a good experience. So that the internship is successful, you need to consider the following points:

      • Language / country
      • Scope of work / line of business
      • Earnings
      • Accommodation
      • Size of the company
      • Hours per week
      • Cultural differences
  2. Financing

      There are many costs for an overseas stay. Keep these in mind:

      • Visa
      • Flight
      • Possibly a rental car
      • Higher cost of living
      • Travel costs

      Depending on your personal situation, it is important to think about financial support. It also looks good on your resumé. Aside from your earnings as an intern, here are some possibilities:

      • overseas Bafög for German students
      • scholarships
      • university or college
      • parents or grandparents
  3. Looking for a suitable training company

    The Internet has a lot of information. At first, it can be too much information. Organizations or student associations can help you with your search. Though most of the time, you must pay a fee. If you want to look for an internship on your own, we recommend:

    • Read job offers in the Internet, on notice boards in your college or university, in the newspapers or also at the Department of Foreign Affairs

    • Look at companies at home and then look for their partners or subsidiaries in the country of your choice

    • Tell friends and acquaintances - they often know of internships

    • Talk to people who have done an internship overseas. They often have useful tips

  4. Application process

    • "When in Rome, do as the Romans do". Find out what the local application process is. Pay attention to how you write the date.

    • Be yourself and have confidence in yourself. You are not the only one who will benefit from the experience. It is a two-way street, and the company also profits from your work.

    • Apply via post or online? It depends on the company. In the USA, the company expects you to call after you send your application and ask if it is possible for you to work there. Do not be afraid to phone people.

    • Be prepared for a phone call. Prepare yourself for a telephone interview when you send an application (popular questions are "what are your strengths / weaknesses?") Usually, an appointment is made for the telephone interview, however.

  5. Internship contract

    Congratulations, you succeeded! Now it is VERY IMPORTANT to sign the contract. This is a guarantee for both you and the company. Check that the contract mentions salary, vacation time and working hours. Otherwise, you can have an unpleasant surprise later.

  6. Visa / Passport

    As soon as you have found your internship position, the preparations can begin.

    • Whether you need a passport or an international driver's license depends on what your destination is and how long you want to stay. Make sure your passport is valid long enough.Some country's agencies or embassies require that your passport is valid for 2 ½ years after your arrival. Be sure to ask at the agency or embassy.

    • If you need a visa, be sure to apply early. A visa for the USA can take up to 12 weeks. Give yourself enough time and keep the extra costs in mind.

  7. Health insurance

    Health insurance is indispensable. Find out for sure if you need additional coverage. If you are staying in Europe, your own health insurance covers the costs in the event of illness. Most of the time you need additional health insurance coverage if you must apply for a visa. Be very careful that the insured amounts provide adequate coverage.
    For more information click here or continue on health insurance.

  8. Accommodation

      If you have to find your own accommodation, decide what is best for you. Book into a hotel at first and then look for an apartment, or look for an apartment while still at home. It depends on where you are going. Your company or former interns often can help you find a place. The Internet also has many websites to help you.

  9. Travel plans

      Depending on where you are going, you will need a plane, train or bus ticket. Be sure to book your plane ticket as soon as you get your visa (if you need a visa). Do not forget to include time for any extra travel you wish to do.

  10. Further Information

      • Do not forget to cancel or suspend contracts. For example, mobile phone, apartment rent, memberships, insurance policies.
        For more information click here.

  11. Packing

      • It is best to make a list before packing. Find out if things you need or do not wish to live without are available in the country of your choice. For example, medication, cosmetics or snacks.
        For more information click here.

      • Ask about a dress code or uniform in your company (for example, business clothes or special shoes).

      • Do not take too much with! You will probably buy many things during your overseas stay. All this has to be brought back home somehow.

      • When flying, always check what you can carry where in your luggage. For example, what can be in your carry-on, what must go into the luggage you check.

  12. Do not forget to relax and look forward to your new experience!