Tips for an Internship Abroad
If you want to do your internship abroad, you should plan this well. Below you will find tips on how to prepare for your stay abroad, how to search for an internship and how to apply abroad.
You should start your preparations for an internship abroad as early as possible. Since not only the search for a suitable internship can take several months, but also other formalities usually take more time than for an internship in Germany, you should plan ahead at least 6 months up to one year.
In order to prepare your search, you should first of all be clear about your goals (gain professional experience, improve your language skills, personal development ...). Based on this, you should consider which type of internship (or possibly another stay abroad such as study abroad or a language course) suits you best. You should clarify the following points, for example:
- Desired duration
- Desired location (region, country, city)
- Preferred employer: economy/industry or research? Branch of industry? Field of activity?
Get an overview of important basic information and requirements for your internship abroad right at the beginning of your planning. Find out, for example, whether a visa or work permit is required for your desired country and how important knowledge of the respective national language is.
You should also pay special attention to the financing of your internship abroad. Find out about the cost of living in your target country and draw up an overview of the costs you will have to pay during your internship, but also during the preparation phase (visa, apartment search, travel, etc.). Is only a paid internship possible? What other financing options can you rely on?
Further information on financing an internship abroad can be obtained from the KIT International Students Office.
In order to find a suitable internship abroad, the same search options are available to you as for a German internship. If you are interested in specific employers, you can search for job offers directly on their websites. You can also find appropriate internship offers on country-specific or international job portals. Often, relevant information can also be found at the Chambers of Industry and Commerce of the respective countries.
Your personal network can be particularly helpful. You may have contacts from previous internships or jobs that can help you in your search for an internship abroad, or there may even be specific job offers from your former employers to which you can apply. Friends, fellow students, lecturers or alumni are also valuable contacts who can help you in your search. Beyond your personal network, online networks are also recommended. International career networks such as LinkedIn are particularly useful for making contact with companies and finding job offers abroad.
Further information on the search for internships abroad as well as internship offers are also available from the International Students Office (IStO) of the KIT and, for example, from the Central Placement Office for Foreign Students and Specialists (ZAV) of the Federal Employment Agency, the DAAD, or the student exchange organization IAESTE. You will find reports on internships abroad on the IStO website.
You can find detailed information on the preparation of application documents, both in German and in English, in our application tips. Applications abroad and in Germany are similar in many aspects. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you research any special features of applications in your target country. In general, you should pay close attention to which documents are required in the job description. You can use the following guidelines for orientation:
- The requirements for the cover letter are very similar in most countries. However, you should take country-specific standards into account when formatting your letter.
- It is particularly important to describe your individual motivation for the respective country in addition to your motivation for the position and the company.
Curriculum vitae (CV):
- In English-speaking countries, you can follow the standards for the English or American CV or resume.
- In most other countries, CVs are more likely to be used as in Germany.
- If you include grades in your CV, make sure that you convert them to the typical national grading system if necessary.
- Your LinkedIn profile, which you should keep complete and up-to-date, can be used as a supplement to your CV. You can include the link to this profile in your CV.
- Certificates are usually not sent with the application abroad. Here, too, you should pay attention to the exact information in the job description.
- The concept of "job references" is generally not known in (non-German-speaking) countries. Often, references are used instead, which are contacted when necessary. It is therefore best to have some personal references, e.g. a supervisor from a previous internship, lecturer, or a letter of recommendation.