The truth about unpaid internships

Unless you’re living self-sufficiently off-the-grid with the ability to apparate around the world, you’re probably just as tangled up with juggling finances as the rest of us. This means, that if you’re looking to intern overseas, you’ll want the best bang for your buck, as well as an amazing outcome.

International internships allow you to see the world and gain great experience, while the benefits offer interns a competitive edge in the job market. To many, an overseas internship is an investment in employability, personal development, and professional resilience.

The truth about “free internships” is that the costs of interning abroad can be no different from the typical costs you’d expect to encounter when traveling internationally. To prepare for this exciting investment in your career, we’ve listed invaluable advice for planning and funding your internship abroad!

Benefits of summer internships abroad

Beginning to plan your internship abroad

Ready for the first step? Research how much it costs to intern abroad to learn about how to prepare, plan and budget for an international internship. Once you’ve checked out affordable internship destinations (that may have a cheaper daily cost of living than what you’re currently spending at home), then it’s time to put your goals into action.

To give yourself a boost and kick-start your travel savings account, consider having a spring-clean and selling on any stuff you no longer need or use. If you can live without Netflix, score student discounts (with an International Student Identity Card), pack your own lunches, and consider downgrading bills (such as mobile plan phones or gym memberships), then you’ll find that you’re already on the way to saving some serious dosh for travel!

Let’s check out the steps…
  1. Plan ahead
  2. Communicate
  3. Funding
  4. Budgeting
  5. Travel costs
  6. Travel hacking
  7. Interning for credit

The steps to intern internationally

How to fund an internship overseas

  • Plan ahead
    It’s never too late to intern abroad, although starting to plan early will ensure you’ll have time to budget for your dream internship and secure an amazing placement. Starting to save is the first step, as even if you haven’t decided which internship you’ll choose, you’ve still made the conscious decision to set money aside for the experience. When you begin to research how much it costs to intern abroad, remember that additional costs can also include your flights, travel insurance, a travel visa, personal spending money, and any vaccinations.

  • Funding - Check out scholarships, grants, awards, fellowships and competitions
    Don’t think “I’m not scholarship material” because criteria are not always based on study plans, study fields and academic achievement. Other criteria may be focused on community service or involvement, your region, sports, industry or trade, essay or photographic submission on a specific topic, etc. Use a search engine to see what kind of scholarships are out there. If you’re not sure where to begin, try using social media to do a hashtag focused search on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin (try hashtags like #scholarships and #grants). Speak to your university Head of Department, Financial Aid/Scholarship Office, Study Abroad Office, and Careers Center. Fellowships can be competitive, but if you are a high flyer, get stuck into applications!

  • Budgeting - Dreams don’t work unless you do!
    To fund your internship abroad, whether you have financial support from your family or not, it’s a great idea to leverage your own skills to help budget for the experience. If you have a knack for photography, graphic design, social media wizardry, accounting, software design, blogging, editing, videography, virtual language lessons, or translating, then use your talents and check out some freelancing gigs. Freelancing can be a wonderful way to build up some extra currency to help fund your dream internship program overseas. Google “freelance work” or “Upwork” to check out options and get started! To use a professional fundraising platform for sharing your goals and soliciting support, check out an option like Fund & Seek.

Dreams don't work unless you do

  • Travel costs - Research the cost of flights
    If you don’t have a huge budget for flights, then consider internship destinations that are geographically closer to you (as opposed to on the other side of the world). Utilize Airpoints schemes and speak to your bank about the best travel credit cards. Think about the destinations you’re most interested in, and sign up for airline alerts that will notify you when special rates are available (flights are often cheaper to book on Tuesdays!) Always check what’s included though - it’s no use getting cheap flights, if hidden fees pile up in transit (e.g. having to pay extra to check your luggage, expensive food and drink charges).

  • Travel hacking - Work smarter, not harder!
    Once you’ve attained the funds you need to intern overseas, you’ll want to speak with your bank to make sure you get the best milage out of your budget as possible. Investigate student credit card options but, more importantly, look into cards that avoid foreign transaction fees. If you can obtain a credit card that’s a member of the Global ATM Alliance, you can use this network of banks abroad to avoid withdrawal fees.

  • Interning for credit? Using your global internship for course credit
    Intern Abroad HQ programs are non-credit bearing, which means that the program fees are significantly cheaper than alternative internship programs that provide a certain number of credits. However, this does not mean that Intern Abroad HQ programs cannot act as a platform from which course credits can successfully be obtained. Every institution has a unique policy for granting internship credit, so it’s important to ascertain eligibility by speaking with your academic or study abroad adviser. You may find that you’re able to save significantly on expensive tuition fees! Feel free to contact Intern Abroad HQ for more guidance.

Best intern abroad programs Summer 2018

Ready to get started?

  1. Apply online first. The application process is non-obligatory and free!

  2. After applying, we’ll email you the details on how to confirm your internship placement and answer any questions.

  3. To confirm, you’ll register online after your application has been accepted. This means taking care of the US$299 Registration Fee, which enables us to provide services and pre-departure support. Program fees vary (depending on destination and duration). You can review them online.

  4. Once you’re registered, the adventure begins! Your Internships Manager will support you with planning and you’ll receive a comprehensive information guide, preparing you for a fantastic internship abroad.

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How to intern

An overview of the user-friendly process

Ready to start?

Submit your internship application