International internships are an excellent way to enhance language skills, build global connections, and experience the professional world. When considering an internship abroad you must start early to secure any required work authorization, plan for possible vaccines, travel and lodging, and other details.
- It is the student’s responsibility to research and secure any needed work and travel documentation, and any other requirements for work abroad.
- Sponsored outbound international travel for Yale College students is governed by the Yale College Travel Policy.
- It is the responsibility of the traveler to investigate and keep updated on country-specific requirements and/or restrictions that may hinder or make impossible travel to that location regardless of Yale’s Travel Policy.
Since world events are unpredictable, it is vital that students concurrently pursue alternative plans in the event they are unable to be abroad for any reason. International students must consult the Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) prior to pursuing international internships.
Seven Steps to Crafting & Securing Your International Experience:
These steps are a guide as you begin your search. Each student’s search is different and may involve fewer or more than the general steps listed below.
STEP ONE: Determine Your Goals
- Is the internship a way to try out a career field?
- Are you hoping to engage in research or participate in an independent study project?
- Do you want to improve your language skills or explore a new culture?
STEP TWO: Research the Country’s Requirements
This vital step takes time and must be done as early as possible. Students considering a summer internship abroad are encouraged to start this research during the Fall semester prior to the summer they plan to be abroad.
- It will depend on the country if you will be required to secure work authorization to accept an internship, even when the internship is unpaid.
- Students are encouraged to start this research very early, because in some cases these documents can take months to process, and may require sending your passport to a visa processing service.
- Start your research with the consular websites for each of the countries you are considering. Begin with the Consular Directory to start your search.
- CIBT Visas: Yale’s preferred vendor for visa needs. Discounted rates can be accessed by calling CIBT at 800-577-2428 and referencing Yale account: 40634.
- BUNAC (United Kingdom): Students seeking internships or other work in the United Kingdom must work with BUNAC as it is fully approved by the UK government. Students should contact them as early as possible. UK work authorization processing can take several months, and often requires submitting your original passport as part of the processing requirements.
- Contact Yale Travel Health Services for pre-travel advice and talk with your doctor about any needed prescription medication.
STEP THREE: Plan Your Budget and Funding Sources
- The Student Grants Database is a comprehensive, searchable resource for available grants and fellowships to support your initiatives.
- Yale College, Fellowships Office advises students and alumni of Yale College about fellowships, scholarships, and grants. These awards range from full to partial funding and can support international opportunities in summer research, public service, independent projects, and study.
- Yale College, Summer Experience Award: Yale College students on Yale financial aid who secure an international internship or research position abroad may apply to receive the Summer Experience Award. Eligible internships may include those offered by Preferred Yale Partners, those secured through your own search, or a third-party internship provider.
When planning your personal budget, students should consider costs for flights, health/vaccinations, and in-country transportation. Students also need to factor in costs for housing, any required visas, and food budgets. Below are some resources to help with your budget planning:
- Accommodation: the OCS housing resources may be a helpful place to start (not all countries are included).
- Food: 13% of the US State Department “Meal” per diem for your destination. Find the Meal and Incidental Expense (“M & IE”) rate for your destination, use the M & IE Breakdown chart to determine the total cost of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner) x .13 x Days in-country = Food budget
- Visa: use CIBT visas and consular websites for research, and talk to your employer
- Vaccinations: Visit the CDC Traveler’s guide to identify immunizations needed using ‘All Travelers’ and ‘Most Travelers’ for vaccines a student would not already have and then using the non-member Yale Health vaccination prices (or Passport Health if not offered at Yale Health).
- Refer to Yale Health Travel Services for more vaccine information and helpful resources.
STEP FOUR: Make Contacts
- Building professional relationships is essentially networking and OCS has resources to help you through this process on our Networking page.
- Connect with current students who have worked or studied abroad through the Summer Peer Networking Lists housed in Yale Career Link, Career Library
- Reach out to alums through Cross Campus (search by country), the Yale Alumni LinkedIn Group, and the Class Lists in the Career Library in Yale Career Link.
- Search the Yale World Fellows directory for current and past fellows and contact with them through the system. This group of experts come from around the globe across top government positions, Fortune 50 Companies, large global NGOs, and successful entrepreneurs.
- Connect with international alums through the Yale Alumni Association, searchable database of Yale Alumni Clubs around the world.
- Search the Yale Career Link for opportunities, especially among the Preferred Yale Partners, who offer opportunities across the globe.
STEP FIVE: Create Your Target Employer List
- Using the ‘Make Contacts’ tools above, follow the template to create a target list of potential employers.
- Expand that list by using Guidestar, CareerShift (Company Search), and the Employer Directory on GoinGlobal.
- Connect with alums abroad through the searchable database of Yale Alumni Clubs to ask their advice about organizations in your target cities.
- Still looking to build your target list? Consider working with a third-party internship provider such as CEA Internships Abroad, CIEE Internships Abroad or AIESEC.
STEP SIX: Apply, Interview & Accept
- Once you have your target list of organizations and contacts, it is time to apply.
- Use the OCS tools to prepare your resume and cover letter, create a LinkedIn profile, and practice interviewing with Big Interview, found on Yale Career Link (at the right on the Homepage).
- Visit our Interview Preparation site for detailed information on how to prepare for different types of interviews.
- International employers often accept applications on a rolling basis and begin interviewing candidates immediately. Students are encouraged to apply
- If you are asked by your employer to provide a letter of support for the internship, a letter regarding Yale’s policy on academic credit for internships, or if you want to learn more about PRAC 471 Practicum Fieldwork Analysis, please read our Academic Credit & Letters of Support page.
- Some applications may require a transcript. Usually, a Self-reported Grade Sheet is sufficient. If you need an official transcript, you’ll need to request one from the Registrar.
- Meet with an OCS advisor for help at any point!
STEP SEVEN: Register Your Travel and Plan Your Time Abroad
- Once you accept an experience, consider developing a Learning Plan with your supervisor, a document to articulate summer goals.
- As you consider summer housing options, ask your employer for recommendations or connect with peers through the Summer Peer Lists who previously lived in that country. Alums and the Alumni Clubs in that country may also provide helpful insight. Finally, OCS maintains a list of housing resources provided by other Yale students.
- Visit resources to help you think about your personal experience abroad, such as Diversity Abroad and Student-Athletes Abroad.
- Register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and Yale’s International Travel Registry.
Students must take personal responsibility for their own safety, security, and well-being while abroad, but Yale offers a number of helpful tips and resources. Review the Yale Travel Registry, which is part of Yale’s International Toolkit, and provides detailed pre-departure information, including:
- Learning about your safety and security coverage through International SOS Global Travel Assistance; ensuring that you have adequate international health insurance coverage
- Scheduling a health consultation for any needed vaccinations or medications
- Knowing what to do in case of an emergency
It is your responsibility to visit the Toolkit well in advance of your time abroad , and to fulfill any required steps before leaving campus.