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Study & Work International - Internship abroad

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Thinking about when to go?

When is the best time to go abroad?

Examination regulations aside, you should plan to do your internship at a point during your studies when you will have gained enough relevant knowledge to be able to put it into practice. This will allow you and your employer to get the most out of your work experience. The earliest you should consider is the end of your third semester and no later than when doing your Bachelor’s or Master’s dissertation.

How long should an internship last?

The longer you plan, the better. You will need time to acclimatise and integrate into a different lifestyle and business culture. In our experience, students generally feel “settled in” after one semester abroad. Spending an entire year doing your internship will give you the best insights, although this is not possible for everyone. You can do your internship abroad during your compulsory practical semester. Longer duration internships will help you to develop your language skills better.

How should I plan my time?

Searching for an internship abroad is often time-consuming so you should start planning about a year in advance. At the very least you must have started actively sending applications no later than six months before you intend to go. Internship organisers and grant providers have a long application period, too. The earlier you start to organise things, the better. Internships that come with a good level of supervision can therefore have long application processes. This is even truer if you need to apply for a visa.

Searching and applying for an internship

Searching for an internship

You should first decide on your aims. Do you want to work for an international organisation, a global business or a local company? Are you looking to do voluntary or compulsory internship? Before going ahead and giving money to a private internship agency, you should first get advice from whoever is responsible for internships in your faculty as well as the international office and/or careers service at your university. Your advisor should be able to answer any questions you have about doing internship abroad and to help you to achieve your objectives on your own. You will get:

  • personal advice from experienced staff with experience of living abroad
  • contact information for any overseas business partners or other partners your institution has
  • Hochschuljobbörse
  • reports written by other students about their internship
  • tips for updating your application documents and, where necessary, adapting them for the target country
  • information about how your internship will be recognised in your field
Only once you have had a look around and are familiar with what is on offer at your university will you know whether you should use the services of a private agency. And if so, you must be absolutely certain that you will be getting serious advice in exchange for your money. You can find out more about quality criteria on the impartial and public Wege ins Ausland website and in the placement agencies section. As well as the jobsearch on our website and the international office/careers service at your university, there are also international student organisations where you can look to find an internship:
  • IAESTE – International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience für Studierende der Natur- und Ingenieurwissenschaften, Land- und Forstwirtschaft
  • AIESEC – Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales
Hints and tips HHere are a few general tips to help with your search:
  • Apply to smaller companies – there will be a lot of competition for internships with large global corporations. Look for small to medium-sized businesses whose profile matches your experience, competencies and goals. You might also apply to Bavarian companies which have offices abroad. You should narrow down your choice to around 20 companies.
  • Depending on your areas of interest, you can, of course, also apply to charitable associations, universities, research institutes, public institutions (e.g. international department of a large city council) and international organisations.
  • Try to arrange a face-to-face meeting. It might even be possible for you to speak directly with company representatives at an international trade fair. A calendar of upcoming trade fairs, such as Messe München, can be found online. Or conduct a search for any other trade fairs happening around the world: www.auma.de You can also check our Recruiting Events to fnd career fairs, competitions and other career-related events.

Sources of information

Once you have gathered your ideas and goals, you can go to your international office/careers service to find information about searching and applying for jobs in the country you are interested in. Make sure you find out about working life and customs in your country of choice. Along with our own country information, here are some further links with information about various destinations:

Placement agencies

Please note: Organisations that arrange bursary-financed placements can be found in the “Finance” section.! There are many charitable and commercial organisations that can arrange an internship for you in exchange for a fee. The scope of their services can vary from being a complete package, including flights and accommodation, to help with individual aspects of the process. Whether or not you should use an agency depends on your personal circumstances, aims and finances. Selection criteria When choosing an agency, you should consider carefully which services you require. What should you be looking for? The fees charged by agencies can vary widely. You should read through the service contract very carefully. Consider the following criteria:

  • Have you got any information about the placement organisation and their experience? How long have they been operating and are you able to get in touch with any previous customers to find out about their experiences?
  • Does the agency provide you with a contract? This is highly recommended.
  • Does the organisation offer any useful preparation (seminars, intercultural training, etc.)?
  • Are they transparent about the costs of their placement services, programme and other costs, such as visas, cost of living, etc.?
  • In which sectors do they arrange placement?
  • ((What is the lead time for placement?))
  • Do they guarantee a place and when will you be informed about the employer offering the placement?
  • Do you have any say in the arrangement process or does the agency decide for themselves which employer is “most suitable”? This is particularly important if you are doing a compulsory internship that needs to be officially recognised.
  • Do they guarantee that they will meet your requirements for things such as duration or required fields of activity, references needed?
  • Do they also arrange paid internships?
  • Under what conditions are you allowed to turn down an offered place and will you receive any alternative offers?
  • What is specified in the agency contract? Do you have to pay their fees when you register or only once they have found you an internship? Will the fee be refunded if you choose not to take the placement?
  • What are your rights if the placement they find does not live up to your expectations, if the employer does not keep to what you agreed, or conflicts arise between the staff and you? What kind of support do they offer if such circumstances should arise? Will they offer an alternative placement?
  • Do they have an emergency contact? Do they have someone who can provide support locally?
  • Are service elements such as travel and health insurance or language courses optional? Or are expensive elements like language courses an integral part of the package?
The Wege ins Ausland website is run by nine independent educational institutions and gives a good overview of the quality criteria you should look for.. The DAAD has a comprehensive list of free portals and paid placement organisations.

Applying

Sources of information Precise instructions for writing an application can often be found on the website of the national labour agency for the country you are interested in. Another good source of information is the careers services’ website at universities in your chosen country. The international office or careers service at your university may even be able to provide some training on the application process for your country.

  • In Europe you can create a Europass CV. Bear in mind, though, that not all employers are familiar with this new format.
  • The LMU language centre has a comprehensive set of tips for applying to English-speaking countries.
After being accepted If you are accepted you should try and get a contract, even if the internship is unpaid. The international office may be able to provide you with the Erasmus programme contract template if the employer does not have their own. You may also need this contract to open a bank account or rent a room. The contract also clearly sets out that you have been accepted for the placement and what it will involve. Get advice from the relevant office at your university to make sure that the internship offer you have received meets the requirements for a compulsory internship, and whether you need the employer to sign anything for the purposes of recognition by the university. It might be complicated if you needed the employer to send you documentation once you have returned home. Job references are not always provided in other countries, but you may be able to ask your employer if they can issue something similar.

Funding

Funding for self-organised internships

There are various options for financing or subsidising a placement abroad. In addition to your savings and/or student loan, you can also apply for international student loans (Auslands-BAföG) and various scholarships and travel grants. On the DAAD website you will find a database that you can use to search for funding programmes. Depending on the destination country or subject area, there may be suitable funding available. Erasmus Internship Scholarships For an internship of between 2 to 12 months in the 33 countries participating in the Erasmus+ programme, you can apply for a monthly grant from your college/university and also access support services for preparatory activities such as online language courses. Please check with the International Office for the general application deadlines, as these scholarships are administered by the colleges and universities. Graduates please note: This offer is still applicable to graduates within one year of completing their studies (Bachelor, Master, Diploma, State Examination, Doctorate). The Erasmus funding period lasts for a maximum of 12 months. If you were abroad for five months during your Bachelor's degree, you can still receive seven months of support as a graduate. PROMOS Grants Within the framework of the PROMOS programme, the DAAD awards funds to colleges and universities, who distribute them to increase student mobility. This funding primarily supports placements outside of Europe with monthly scholarships. Travel allowances are also available through this scheme. Please contact your International Office for information on application deadlines, funding and target countries. Funding opportunities offered by Bavarian Higher Education Centres The Bavarian university centres for South America, China, India, France, Eastern and South Eastern Europe support internships with a one-off mobility grant. You can find more information about the respective centres on the website.

  • BAYLAT – Mobility grant for South America
  • BAYHOST – Mobility grant for Eastern and South Eastern Europe. On the BAYHOST website you will also find an internship exchange with company offers which you can apply for.
  • BayFrance – Mobility grant for research internships with application deadlines of 15 April and 15 November each year. On the website of the Bavarian-French University Centre (BFHZ) you can also find information on funding for internships in France through the Franco-German Youth Office.
  • BayIND – Mobility grant for internships with application deadlines of 15 April and 15 September each year. On the BayIND website you will also find an internship exchange with company offers that you can apply to and other funding opportunities for the target country India.
  • BayCHINA – Mobility grant for internships with application deadlines of 15 April and 15 September each year. On the BayIND website you will also find an internship exchange with company offers that you can apply to and other funding opportunities for the target country India.

Scholarships with internship placements

Some scholarship programmes not only offer funding, but also arrange the internship. RISE Worldwide This DAAD programme offers funding to Bachelor students from the fields of biology, physics, engineering, geosciences, medicine and pharmacy and related disciplines, as well as a place for a research internship at institutes worldwide. If you want to take part, you must register in the programme database. In November/December you will be able see all the available vacancies and apply for a maximum of three positions by mid-December. The research internships take place during the lecture-free period in summer. RISE internships in Canada are awarded in cooperation with the Canadian organisation Mitacs. Here, the application deadlines run from July to September, because the internships sometimes start as early as May. In addition to a unique experience abroad, RISE also gives you access to the international science network. Carlo-Schmid-Programme Applications are open to students and graduates of all academic disciplines who deal with international topics in their studies. Programme line A supports applicants who apply independently for internships in international organisations at EU institutions and selected non-governmental organisations. Programme line B allows you to apply directly for internships advertised on the project website. The internships on offer are always published in mid-December. IAESTE Die IAESTE has been arranging remunerated internships worldwide since 1948 for students from the following disciplines:

  • Natural Sciences
  • Engineering Sciences
  • Agriculture and Forestry
Local living costs are covered by the payment. In addition, the local IAESTE committee of the host country will take care of your accommodation and social support at no additional cost to you. For internships outside the EU, you can also get a travel allowance from the DAAD. AIESEC AIESEC varranges paid internships in the areas of 'Marketing & Sales, Teaching, Administration, Information Technology and Engineering'. While you must observe application deadlines for the travel allowance offered by DAAD for this programme, you can contact AIESEC at any time about the internship placement itself. Vulcanus in Japan The Vulcanus programme is open to natural sciences or engineering students who are in their fourth year of study or higher. Depending on your degree course, this usually means that you must have completed at least the first year of your Master's degree. The New Kibbutz This programme has been running since 2015 and is sponsored by the Israeli State General Consulate for Southern Germany, the federal states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. The participants of this programme will be given the opportunity to work in a highly innovative business location. Internships will be available in an Israeli companies or start-ups in the high-tech, IT or life sciences sectors for 2 - 6 months. From the 4th month onwards, there is a subsidy payment available for your stay. Bavarian students can apply to the Bavarian Youth Association (Bayerischer Jugendring) for funding to cover travel costs. For internships starting in August, the application deadline is in May of the same year and for internships starting in January, the deadline is in October of the previous year. You can find out more on the page of the German-Israeli Chamber of Industry and Commerce (Deutsch-Israelischen Industrie- und Handelskammer).

Taiwan Summer Institute Programme This short scholarship programme is aimed at graduates (including Bachelor's students) in natural sciences and engineering and it offers an introductory seminar in Taiwan, excursions to the areas of interest in the country and an approx. seven-week internship at university or research institutes, occasionally also in industry.

Overview

It is not always easy to find an internship and this may require a certain amount of planning. This naturally also applies when looking for an internship abroad. Here you will find important information and valuable tips to make your search a success. Your internship should be related to your area of study. If an internship is a requirement for your programme of study, please make sure beforehand that your department will recognise your internship and find out what requirements need to be met. To ensure the quality of the internship, an agreement has been made as part of the EU’s Erasmus programme that defines the aims of internships. These can also be used as a good foundation for non-European countries. Your international office can supply you with the version used by your institution. When you start planning, get in touch with your student advice service, international office and/or careers service.

Country Information

The information, in particular on entry regulations, has been composed to the best of our knowledge. Since these can change regularly and at short notice, you should always check the currently valid regulations when planning your internship.

Country Information is available in German only: