Top 8 FAQs About Internships Abroad Answered

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IES Abroad

Business internship abroadIntern in journalism abroad

1. Why should I intern abroad?

An internship abroad will help set you apart from other job seekers because of the global skills and experiences that it affords you. Interning abroad has unique challenges and opportunities. Examples include:

  • A new perspective on an industry or field
  • Experience with the global operations of an organization
  • A chance to improve your foreign language skills
  • Learning to communicate across cultures
  • Immersion in a new and foreign community
  • Opportunities to collaborate with international (and possibly non-English speaking) colleagues
  • The possibility of traveling to new cities and countries on the weekends!
  • Expanding your global network of contacts

Intern in Cape Town on Rooftop in Front of Skylinesports internship abroad

2. Am I eligible for an international internship? What are the requirements?

While each of the IES Internships abroad have slightly different requirements, below are some eligibility requirements that are consistent across the board:

  • 18 years of age
  • In good standing at your home school
  • 2.5 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • At least sophomore standing prior to application; rising junior status at time of program departure
  • Are enrolled in a full-time degree program, or you’re a graduate intending to begin your internship no more than 12 months after your graduation date

Application requirements include the submission of:

  • An online application
  • Home school authorization
  • Official transcript(s)
  • Cover letter
  • Statement of interest and goals
  • Résumé
  • Professional letter of reference (for visa purposes: London only)

Some internship locations abroad do require language proficiency, so it’s always good to double check eligibility and location-specific application requirements.

Archaeology internship abroad in romeMedical internship abroad in santiago

3. Can I intern abroad if I only speak English? Can I take classes in the local language while I’m there?

Yes, this is possible. Some programs like the Barcelona, Berlin, Milan, Rome, Santiago, Shanghai, and Vienna Summer Internships do not require any foreign language proficiency. Other internship programs may have modest language requirements, like Paris, or note that basic language comprehension and conversational ability is preferred for more competitive internship placements. Our London and Dublin Summer Internships require native English fluency or an IELTS score of 6 or above.

There are language classes available in Barcelona, Berlin, Milan, Paris, Rome, Santiago, and Shanghai.

4. Are all internships abroad unpaid? Will I get credit?

All of IES Internships’ programs are unpaid, but they do offer academic credit. To supplement the internship, you will also maybe enrolled in a required internship seminar for 3 or 6 credits.

Intern in Cape Town working in science lab Film intern abroad

5. Why do I have to pay to intern abroad? What’s included in the program fees?

It can be very difficult to find and secure an internship abroad on your own. Using an internship program provider offers you security and less hassle. Any internship abroad will cost you something—whether it’s flights, lodging, and food, or a more comprehensive program. IES Internships program fees include internship placement, an on-site orientation, housing, faculty, and health and safety support. Meals vary by location. View our complete list of what’s included on IES Internships programs.

6. Will I have any free time outside of my internship to travel?

Yes, this is possible. Many interns find themselves using the weekends to explore the country they are in, or venturing to a new destination. We also offer field trips at an additional cost should they not interfere with your internship schedule.

7. How competitive is the application process?

If you meet the eligibility requirements and have submitted all of the required application materials by the deadline, you are guaranteed a full-time summer internship placement in your field of choice, as indicated on your internship application.

Intern in Rome with presentationIntern in Sydney at desk in office overlooking Sydney Harbour Bridge

8. Will I be randomly placed with a company? When will I know what my placement is?

IES Internships has more than 300 partners around the world, offering personalized internship placements in a wide range of fields. Students are 100% involved in the internship placement process and will know their final placement at least two weeks before their program departs.


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