With an internship you will work for about 3 months to maybe even 6 months at a company which is active in your field of study. Most common is to do research, but depending on your study other activities are possible.
When do you have to start organizing your stay abroad?
6 months to 1 month prior to the execution of the internship.
What do you need before you can go abroad?
Preferably a Bachelor degree diploma while studying towards your Masters degree. Depending on the study you follow, you could get an internship while you’re studying a Bachelor.
When will your stay abroad start?
Can be at any time of the year.
An internship is the easiest way of going abroad, but also the shortest. Because you will stay at a company, you will learn about that company’s vision, their way of working and their way of looking at problems. Depending on the size of the company and how internationalised it is, you will see a reflection of the country’s culture. However, you do have to work all the time, most likely only tackling one problem or working on one item because of the limited time.
It is a worthy experience though, because you will gain the experience in how to bring theoretical information from your studies into practice. Some studies require you to do an internship, often performed within your country of residence. ‘Why would I go abroad then’, you ask? Exactly because of the extra experiences: you’ll be surprised how much of a difference you’ll see while being in another country.
Because an internship can start at any time of the year, you can also start your organisation at any time you want. If you want the perfectly suited internship, you’ll need to spend more time finding and organising it. Large companies often have a list of open internships, easy for you to apply for. Of course, never forget to consult with the internship office and/or international office of your department. For studies requiring internships, approval by the department is necessary to obtain credit for it. Even when an internship is not required in the curriculum, they do need to know that you won’t be studying for that period.
In short, you’re certain to visit the internship office. The office is also useful in that they have internships available already, but they can also inform you about how to organise your internship. They know how internships abroad work, and can help you with the planning and organising of your trip. The easiest way of finding an internship is to choose one from the list the office has available, in which it’s possible to start your internship after approximately one month.
Finding an internship yourself is of course a bit harder, but you can look for one you really like. You can browse the net, looking for internship websites or at the websites of the companies you’re interested in, look at posters, go to symposia, etcetera. Depending on how picky you are in selecting the available internship, and of course how fast you find them, expect to need about 1 to 6 months.
There is an even harder way: asking companies directly if you can do an internship there. They might not have one available, but they could be interested in you and prepare one for you. You can imagine this would take more time: expect about 3 to 6 months for sure. Why would you do this? Well, you will have an internship perfectly suited to you at a company you like.
Finally, it is not always possible to get paid for internships (internships in countries where it’s part of the curriculum are often unpaid). This is highly dependent on the company you’re going to, the current economic state, and how urgently they need the internship work done. If you need to do an internship for your curriculum, getting paid is always a nice bonus. If you don’t require one but want to go simply for the experience, it’s probably best to find a paid one.
A short overview of what you need to do:
- Inform: consult with the internship office. They know a lot about internships, also international ones.
- Select: limit your search to a continent or country. You can browse for all internships all over the world, but this will be very difficult and take a lot of time. Unless you take the list of the internship office as start.
- Search: find lists of internships or browse for individual internships. You could even ask companies if they don’t list available internships.
- Decide: make a choice and consult with the internship office again for approval.
- Organize: create a schedule for when to start and finish, often in cooperation with the company. Make appointments.
- Go: transport yourself to wherever you need to be, work at the company and have a unique experience.