10 min

How To Get an Internship in a Company Abroad

Internship in a foreign company is not only an opportunity to gain work experience and eventually get a full-time job offer. It is also a must for international students.

Often students don't understand how to start and where to look for an internship, let alone how to fit in at a new job.

Read this article to find out where to look for internships, who you should contact, and how to increase your chances.

Why Internships Are Important

Valuable experience. Apart from acquiring knowledge and solving problems, students also learn to communicate. For example, Oleg Velichko used to be an intern at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The internship made him see that hard skills are not enough to succeed in your job. He had to deal with problems the university had not trained him for. "Communication is an integral part of any job, and my summer internship at HPE made it clear." There is a whole article by Oleg where he shares his experience of looking for a summer internship and gives students some tips.

Networking. Few people manage to build up a list of business contacts by the time they graduate. An internship provides such an opportunity. Even if you don't stay at this company, useful contacts can help you in the future anyway. Maybe one of the managers will ask you to join an interesting project or make a job offer. You never know.

"Networking does work. Once, I was looking for a job and contacted a person. Our paths had only crossed a couple of times at my job. He invited me for an interview, told me about the duties, and, eventually, I was offered a job," Maria Ryabukhina, senior recruiter and operations manager at Beamery, a British HR tech, told StudyFree.

Employment opportunities. Internships often lead to a permanent job. "I stayed at the company as a Junior Logistics Manager after the internship. It’s a common scenario in Germany: you complete your studies, do an internship, and then receive a long-term job offer from this company," StudyFree mentor Valentina Yakupova told us.

Where To Look for an Internship

Keep monitoring company websites. Many companies have a section on their websites where they post job openings and internships. For example, the Google website has a separate ​​Internships+ section that contains information about available internships and other work opportunities around the world.

Find recruiters on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the key international platform for business networking. Having a presence there increases your chances to get a good internship. We have several articles on how to create a strong LinkedIn profile and improve the existing one.

Be proactive: add the person to your list of contacts. Text a short message about why you are interested in the internship and what you can contribute to the company. To do this, take a close look at the job description and other company sources, such as a blog and website, to understand what objectives the company has and how they are trying to achieve them, including with the help of an intern.

Follow team leads’ social media accounts and sign up for updates. If you want to be in the know about the latest news and career opportunities at the company, subscribe to updates from the heads of the departments you are interested in. They often post internships whose participants later become full-time employees.

Don’t miss career fairs. For example, UK universities regularly hold career fairs. Employers come there to find promising graduates.

Some universities have a department for international students where they can receive comprehensive help, from writing a CV and preparing for interviews and assessment tests to doing all the necessary paperwork after being offered a job.

There are also mentoring programs that you can qualify for. You need to submit an application, write a motivation letter, and come to an interview. The mentor will help you determine your career goals.

Join the company's community. Pick a company whose values you share and a department where you can fulfill your potential. For example, mentors join StudyFree every day who share their experiences of living and studying abroad. Some of them are now working with us. They help colleagues develop a startup, while their clients learn how to study for free using scholarship programs all around the world. 

“I Approached Companies Directly”: the Experience of StudyFree Mentors

Elizaveta Bashcheva, Netherlands:

"I would browse on LinkedIn for internships. Another option is to look for ones right on the websites of organizations and companies that you are interested in. Some of them are likely to have internship offers for students. If you find one, don’t hesitate to contact them, attaching a CV and a letter of motivation. I’m sure that things are going to work out for you.”

Ksenia Nikitina, UK:

"I used to approach companies directly. Besides, I went to student fairs. University career centers can be very helpful too, and I’m not just talking about the place where you study. Educational institutions often contact employers directly and have an extensive network of business contacts.”

Olga Kovalenko, Netherlands:

"Go to LinkedIn and Glassdoor. There are tons of internship offers there. Send your CV to at least 50 companies to increase your chances."