When should you start preparing for an internship abroad?
That depends on the requirements of the country and company you are applying to. If you need to learn the local language, or obtain a visa/work permit:
- We recommend starting to organize your placement 12 to 18 months before the start of your international placement.
On the other hand, if you already comfortable with the local language, and you don’t require a visa or work permit:
- Preparing 6 months in advance should give you enough time.
Is an application on short notice possible?
Whether an application is possible at short notice depends on the specifics of the country, internship institution, and host organization. But we mainly suggest applying to grants, scholarships, and internships in advance because of tight deadlines.
When is the best time for an internship – during the summer or winter term?
What is the ideal duration for a stay abroad?
Faculties usually structure their internship timelines differently. In many study programs, a compulsory internship is already integrated into your studies. Internships that start in the 3rd year of studies are typical, because it allows you to apply the knowledge you’ve already acquired during your studies. You can also do an internship across two semesters or during your semester break (summer internships are usually popular). The combination of a semester spent studying abroad and an internship before or after the end of your semester is also a very popular option.
In general, you can either take an international opportunity in your postgraduate or undergraduate years. It all depends on your professional development plans and how many professional qualifications you desire to obtain. Your ideal timeline could also depend on country-specific aspects like lifestyle changes during seasonal weather fluctuations (ex: Hot summer in Barcelona vs Dark Nights in Scandinavian winters.)
You can decide the duration of the internship or let your host institution determine the dates. Depending on the structure of international scholarships programmes, a minimum or maximum duration could apply. For example, the ERASMUS+ scholarship requires a minimum duration of 60 days.
Depending on the country of your placement and previous experience, an internship of 2 plus months is recommended. You usually adapt to new workplace structures and procedures in the first few weeks. Besides, when your internship overseas lasts longer, you have more time to enjoy the local culture!
Semester on leave
In general, you can take a semester off to pursue international exchange experiences. Please check with your university on whether a semester off is possible for your internship.
What do you expect from your stay?
What goals do you want to achieve through the internship?
What are your expectations based on? To take advantage of the benefits of an internship abroad, try to sit down and write your personal goals. In addition to general desires (such as getting to know a specific industry or improving your foreign language skills), you can use the internship to get an idea of which field you’d like to specialize in. You can also gain practical knowledge for your thesis.
Investing time to determine your goals and expectations will help you find a suitable internship. You can also find detailed information on how to find an internship placement here.