Classy co-eds, today we’re going to tackle a challenge I’ve been hearing pretty frequently around campus at my school (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) — “I want to take studying abroad as an opportunity to intern in a different country!” Simply stated, doing that isn’t as easy as it might sound. Most foreign countries have very different unpaid labor laws from what exists in the United States. But don’t worry. CL is here to help you take the necessary steps to landing and legally accepting an internship abroad.
In this day and age, interning has become an essential part of college life. One of the easier ways to intern abroad is to apply for a program that specifically places students in internships. Check out The Atlantis Project, which is a program that sends students to the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal to intern at one of four internships. The Atlantis Project has three different 6-week sessions during the summer, so you can select the session that works best for you. The internship options include shadowing teachers in an English as a second language class in a K-12 school, teaching English at a summer camp and shadowing doctors at a local hospital.
If Portugal doesn’t strike your fancy, look into Boston University’s study abroad programs. Many of them include internships abroad, and you do not have to be a BU student to apply. Program options include internships in Argentina, New Zealand, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, England, Spain, France, China and Australia. Many of the programs are offered both during the school year and over the summer. BU’s programs also give you direct guidance on what (if any) visas you will need to both study abroad and intern in your host country.
Interning in a foreign country can be tough because different countries have different unpaid labor laws. For example, in France you can work without pay for a maximum of two months. In England, it is illegal to work without pay unless you have a special student visa. If you are hoping to apply to a study abroad program through your home university and then independently set up an internship — like I am for next semester — be sure to ask your study abroad adviser what visa you will need to intern in you host country. Acquiring the proper visa can be costly, so you might want to look at the necessary requirements for all the countries you are considering interning in before you apply to a study abroad program or a company. Just know that it is possible to intern abroad, but it might take some extra time and research to ensure you go about the process legally. Best of luck and intern on!
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