If you choose to study in Europe, you can receive more than just an education. Many study programmes offer the possibility to do a work placement, traineeship or an internship as part of the curriculum. This way, you gain work experience and get to know your subject in a more practical sense. It is the perfect way to explore the European jobs market. Best of all: there may be a chance that if you perform well, your employer will hire you afterwards. So if you are serious about Europe and thinking of staying longer than just your study period, give an internship a try!
What are the steps you should follow?
- When choosing a study programme in Europe, check whether you can do an internship as part of the curriculum. Often, this is mentioned on the university’s website. If you are not sure, send an email to the programme’s contact person.
- When you are planning an internship, check if you need an additional permit. Most countries allow students to do internships on a student visa and residence permit, but there may be exceptions. If you want to do an internship in another EU country, it is sometimes necessary to apply for a new visa. The rules for this differ per country.
- Find an internship that fits your interests and study programme. Ask your student counsellor how an internship would fit in the curriculum and if he or she has any tips on where to start looking. Often, counsellors or lecturers will have connections to companies or organisations in the field. This is a great way to start your search.
- Start sending out application letters! There are often vacancies for interns in larger organisations and companies, so find one that suits you and get in there. Prepare to write a lot of letters, adapting each one to fit the vacancy you are applying for. Do not forget to send open applications as well. An important aspect of applying is your CV. It has to be up to date and neat. You can use Europass to prepare it – a widely-used format for CVs throughout Europe so your skills and qualifications are clearly and easily understood.
- Most internships are unpaid, but this should not stop you. There are grants you can apply for to ease the financial burden. Erasmus+ offers this kind of support if you want to do an internship in another EU country than where you’re studying. Sometimes you can apply for a university fund or a national fund to help you out. Make sure you check all available options, with help from your institution. There may be more than you are aware of.
Doing an internship as a part of your study programme is hard work. It means changing your daily routine, maybe skipping a vacation and working full time for a couple of months. However, the results will be worth it: you will not only improve your communication, language and intercultural skills, but also the soft skills highly valued by future employers, as well as become more entrepreneurial. You will meet new people and build a network while also working on your CV, making the most of your stay in Europe.
Are you an international student who combines study and an internship? Do you want to share your story? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.