How to Get an Internship: Top 4 Tips for International Students

Getting an internship can be a pretty challenging task. It’s the first step into one’s future career. 

Once you get your degree (and sometimes even in the course of studying), looking for internship opportunities becomes a number one priority. 

And while your local area should have some options available, it might make sense to look far beyond what your country has to offer.

Luckily, traveling and communication has never been easier. Technological progress has made it not only doable but very much plausible to secure yourself an opportunity abroad. 

The US, in particular, has seen a 0.05 percent increase in international students in 2019, pushing just over a million. Many of them have managed to get an internship.



Why Go Abroad?

There is this aura of prestige that surrounds education and work abroad. But is it actually as good as people say it is? What are the actual pros and cons? 

The main advantage of expanding your scope beyond the borders of your country is, of course, flexibility. The amount of possible options increases infinitely once you start considering a planet-worth of vacancies.

Another positive aspect is the independence you acquire. Heading into the unknown all by yourself can be scary. But being chucked into the deep end can help you develop useful skills, responsibility, and discipline. 

Being forced to rely only on yourself is a great gateway to independent life. Learning how to handle yourself in this situation will benefit you greatly in the long run.


Getting Accepted

Once your eyes are on the prize, you can start getting yourself prepared. Making a good first impression is very important. And a resume is the first thing your potential employer will see. 

By this point, you should have at least a vague idea where you want to work. Choose a field and customize your resume accordingly.

Include things you think will make the hiring company interested. Throw in language skills (preferably the language of the country you’re going to), traveling and working abroad experience, international university projects, anything of the sort.

One should have a particular resume for each application. Tailor it accordingly for every opening. Add to each a persuasive cover letter explaining why you’re a good pick for this specific position. 

And don’t become discouraged if you don’t get it on your first try. Don’t obsess over one specific company. Cast a wide net, and you’ll get noticed, sooner or later.


Where to Look

For most of those who are thinking about getting an internship abroad, the hardest thing is to start. Once you stop thinking theoretically and start thinking practically, the process will go much faster.

There are many different ways you can go about finding a perfect internship. Some colleges and universities have established programs that will allow successful students to get an opportunity abroad. 

Visit career fairs, ask your professors or administration. More likely than not they’ll be able to either get you where you want to be or at least point you in the right direction.

Sometimes there are no options available at your college. Sometimes they won’t spark interest in you. Sometimes you don’t qualify for whatever reason. Don’t worry, that’s not the end of it. 

The magic of the Internet allows you to seek internship opportunities without the constraints of your locale. Plenty of sites out there offer a platform that will help employers and foreign applicants find each other.

Lastly, if you know for a fact where you want to work – consider contacting a company you’re interested in directly. Keep an eye out for any openings they might have, prepare your application, and go for it.



There are a bunch of things you should take care of when applying for an internship. The most common ones are:

  • Visa
  • Passport
  • Traveling schedule
  • Culture gap

The most important part is, of course, the travel paperwork. For instance, when applying for an internship as a foreigner in the US, you should have a certain type of visa

If you don’t have it and your passport is ready, you simply won’t get into the country. If you’re already a foreign student, your current visa can allow you to apply for certain types of internships. Researching the red tape behind all this should be your first priority.

Once you’re done with that, you’ll have to pay close attention to your further plans. Traveling out to your working area to adapt may seem like a good idea. But if you’re on a work visa and not actually working, this may cause some problems. 

The allowed buffer is typically 30 days between the moment you get into the country and start working.

Apart from the bureaucracy, you’ll have to think about how you’ll integrate into a new environment. Moving to another country with a different culture, language, and customs is a challenge. 

Make sure to do at least some basic research. This will save you quite a bit of headache.


Sooner is Better

An important thing to keep in mind is that everything takes time. The hiring process is likely to be full of deadlines you will have to follow closely. 

The earlier you start your preparations, the better. Make sure your documents are all in order and have a least a week-long buffer to cover emergencies. Nothing is worse than losing an internship because of a visa issue.



Final Words

Traveling abroad can be intimidating. 

A lot of things have to be considered and taken care of before you can even start going through with it. But mostly it is not as bad as it seems. 

Dealing with all the paperwork and procedure is like climbing uphill. It’s tiring and at times frustrating. But once you’re on top, you’ll see that positives outweigh the negatives.


Leave us your thoughts on the comment section below. Head over to to unveil your next job opportunity.

Carys Carroll is an experienced academic researcher and dissertation editor at Her main areas of interest are book reviews, which explains why she has written a number of articles on the representation of Symbolism in American novels. Carys has also helped hundreds of students with their research paper topics. Always willing to learn more, Carys is also passionate about painting and snowboarding. 

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