What does it take to intern abroad? If you’re wondering how to prepare, plan and budget for an international internship, then read on! We’ll go through the steps and break down the details, so you can discover a flexible and affordable internship program that’s right for you.
Here are the steps:
- Research - Need help? Contact the Intern Abroad HQ team for advice!
- Budget - No one likes surprise costs! Especially when you’re on a budget
- Apply - Applications are accepted year-round for weekly start dates
- Register - Register once accepted to confirm your international internship
- Prepare - Your Internships Manager will guide you through preparations
- Depart - Receive guidance from recommended travel providers
- Intern - Join meaningful internship programs from just 2 weeks
- Reflect - Build personal and professional skills through experiential learning
How to research & budget for your internship
Researching and budgeting for your internship abroad is a really important first step. No one likes surprises when it comes to money (unless you’re getting something for free) so you need to consider what your expenses are going to be and what you can afford.
Researching internship opportunities can help you to understand what options there are to choose from - but you also want to know what the requirements are, what’s included, and what outcomes you can expect in return for your effort.
Who should I intern abroad with?
As an intern, you’ll want to feel confident that your host organization has your best interests, safety and well-being at heart. It’s also important to feel satisfied with the level of support and service that’s provided to you before, during, and upon completing the internship program.
Internships abroad should be focused on fostering your personal and professional development. This means that, as well as having the opportunity to gain relevant experience within your field of interest, you will also want to understand how the internship can enhance your employability.
You’ll also want to ensure that the internship abroad takes a responsible approach, by enabling you to engage with meaningful projects that operate according to local community leadership.
Thinking about your budget, goals and time
If your schedule is tight and you won’t be available to join an internship program with a long-term duration requirement, then you’ll need to consider opportunities that have flexible start dates and short-term program options.
On the other hand, if your budget is limited, programs that offer short-term internships can also enable you to participate without breaking the bank. Intern Abroad HQ offers internships from a minimum duration of just two weeks (up to 3 or even 6 months).
If you’re not sure kind of internship program might be right for you, take a quick fun quiz to help narrow down some ideas!
Understanding your internship fees
It’s important to understand what fees you’ll be expected to pay and what they’ll cover - so that you can assess whether the fees are affordable, reasonable, and to also determine what you’ll need to budget for additionally.
If you’re fundraising to support the cost of your program, you’ll want to have this information so that you can provide your supporters with a transparent break-down of what they’re assisting you to achieve.
When choosing to intern with Intern Abroad HQ, you’ll know in advance that there are just two fees for your internship program:
The registration fee of US$299 - This enables Intern Abroad HQ to operate and provide heavily discounted internship program fees. It secures your internship placement, while also encompassing complete pre-departure services and constant management of program safety and risk management. All registered interns are connected with an experienced Internships Manager to guide them through the pre-departure process.
Your program fee - The total will depend on the destination and duration that you choose. It covers your experiential learning program during the internship, as well as the in-country services associated with your internship program - your airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals, and 24/7 in-country support. You can start your research now by reviewing the affordable Intern Abroad HQ program fees online.
How to confirm an international internship
When you apply to intern abroad, you can select your preferred destination, internship program, start date and duration. After it’s been submitted, you’ll receive an email confirming that Intern Abroad HQ has received your application. You’ll then hear back from the Internships Manager within 48 hours (two working days). It doesn’t cost anything to apply, and being accepted to intern abroad doesn’t mean that you’re obligated. However, it helps us to provide further guidance, answer questions, and outline the next steps on how to proceed.
Upon being accepted for an internship position abroad, you will receive details on how to pay the US$299 registration fee, which is required to confirm your participation. Once registered, you’ll receive dedicated support to help you plan and prepare for the upcoming internship program. You’ll receive a detailed program guide, checklists, and be introduced to the team in-country who will be hosting you during your stay abroad.
How to prepare for your internship abroad
Even though you’ll be guided by your Internships Manager once you’re registered - you still probably want an overview of what you can expect. Preparing for your program may mean that you brush up on your second language skills before traveling or get involved in fundraising activities. But it also means taking care of additional costs before you begin the journey. Preparing well, and allowing enough time to take care of necessary pre-departure tasks, will help ensure you have a stress-free experience that’s as enjoyable as possible.
Booking affordable flights
Once you’ve registered to confirm your affordable, professional internship program, then it’s an appropriate time to lock in some cheap flights. Finding the best deals can require some research, which is one of the reasons why we recommend planning your internship experience in advance. The cost of flights can represent the biggest cost for interning abroad however, you can be savvy and obtain a really great deal (especially if you take advantage of student discounts). To begin, you can request a flight itinerary quote from the STA team via our STA Flight Booking Form. Once you have completed the form, you should receive an email quote within 48 hours (2 working days). If you have an International Student I.D. Card, it can help secure a discounted rate.
Internship travel insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all interns on an Intern Abroad HQ program. We’re dedicated to keeping all program participants safe, healthy and happy - so this is a really important requirement. (And if you’ve ever experienced flight delays or cancellations, lost luggage, or an expensive trip to the doctor overseas, then you’ll understand!) Having great travel insurance ensures that you’re in a position to receive assistance to overcome any unexpected setbacks or inconveniences when you’re traveling and away from home. It covers more than just medical emergencies, which is why a separate travel insurance policy is needed, even if you have good health insurance. Interns are welcome to choose their travel insurance provider, but we recommend World Nomads (Lonely Planet recommends them too). Begin by completing their short online form to get an idea of what to budget for affordable and comprehensive travel insurance.
Keeping yourself healthy with vaccinations
All travelers need to think about vaccinations and general health, whether you’re interning or volunteering abroad, vacationing, or traveling for business. The only vaccination that’s typically required by law is for Yellow Fever (if you’re traveling through areas where it could be transmitted) but medical professionals will typically make additional recommendations, which can include vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B and Typhoid. All program participants are encouraged to speak with their doctor to discuss your personal health needs in advance of the international internship program. Health recommendations may include advice concerning vaccinations, but your doctor can also provide additional advice pertaining to your own medical history and the destinations you’re planning to travel through. It’s recommended to visit your doctor 6-8 weeks prior to your intended travel date. They will provide specific details about the cost of the consultation and any necessary vaccinations/medications.
Will you need a travel visa?
First thing’s first - check your passport! If your passport has not been recently issued, then check its expiry date. If it will be expiring within 6 months of your travel dates you will need to have your passport renewed. (Immigration officials reserve the right to deny entry to travelers if their passport will be expiring within 6 months). Secondly, check the visa requirements of the country (or countries) you want to travel to and the associated costs of entry (if any). These details typically vary depending on your nationality and the places you wish to visit. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, just contact our team for advice.
Obtaining a background check
To participate on an Intern Abroad HQ internship program, you’ll be required to provide a criminal background check. The background check requirement is a key part of Intern Abroad HQ Responsible Practice. Depending on where you’re from, the processing times on having a criminal background check issued to you can vary, so it’s important to take care of this requirement well in advance of your internship program start date. The cost of obtaining a check can also vary - they may be issued online or directly through a local authority. Interns can contact their local police station for guidance or ask their Internships Manager for advice.
Budgeting your spending money for travel
The internship program fees cover your accommodation and meals. However, you’ll need to budget for weekly expenses during your stay. For example, money for public transportation, snacks and drinking water, laundry services, and language lessons (if you will be taking classes). Intern Abroad HQ can provide you with an estimated weekly budget, so that you can calculate what you should expect to cover over the course of your internship. But don’t forget to budget for the tourism excursions you’d also like to do! Whether it’s a trip to Machu Picchu or white-water rafting in Costa Rica, planning the costs of your “Bucket List” adventures will help ensure you make lots of wonderful memories.
Knowing what to expect as an intern abroad
International internships are designed to promote accelerated learning. The more engaging an internship experience is, the easier you’ll enjoy and learn from it, becoming more equipped to achieve your career goals – whether that means building a great resume, articulating your strengths in a job interview, or being able to relate to others better within a multi-cultural workplace. Experiential learning internship internships offer:
- Enhanced accountability and intern-oriented services
- Assistance with obtaining course credit
- Internship role descriptions
- Specific learning goals
- Guided experiential learning activities
- External reviews, social media forums and networking opportunities
- Comprehensive risk and responsibility policies
- Pre-departure guidance and 24/7 in-country support
What to expect when you arrive
Upon arrival, you will be picked up from the airport by a representative of the local host organization. You’ll be escorted to your accommodation, where you will be introduced to the people who will be hosting you, and welcomed. On your first day of the internship program, you will join an orientation that covers further introductions, information about your internship placement, and general details about safety, transportation, culture, local tourism attractions, etc. You’ll receive 24/7 in-country support from the local team throughout the duration of program, as well as ongoing support from your Internships Manager.
What to expect during the internship
Intern Abroad HQ provides a guided experiential learning framework, which helps all interns to critically evaluate their time abroad, linking their internship experiences back to specific employability skills. You’ll receive weekly reflection exercises to help enhance your employability skills and develop personal competencies.
Your internship outcomes
After completing an internship, you’ll walk away with a portfolio of your experience. This professional document includes a certificate of internship completion, while also summarizing your internship goals, skill development, highlights of your program, and compilation of your program reflections. You’ll walk away with something tangible to show your next potential employer and won’t be at a loss when explaining what your internship achieved and how the experience was valuable. If you’re ever asked about challenges you’ve overcome, times you’ve taken initiative, achievements that you’re proud of, or personal attributes and skills that you can bring to a job - you’ll have a goldmine of relevant content and supporting documentation up your sleeve, regarding real-world workplace experiences. Apart from enhancing your resume or professional portfolio, you’ll also have increased access to international networks, friendship, and mentors within your field of interest.
Want more information? Here’s our guide on how to intern abroad. To understand why internships are important, we also break down the benefits and explain how you’ll be supported every step of the way. Have questions now? Please feel free to contact us.