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Internship Abroad - FAQ

Here you will find a selection of the questions we are asked most frequently. If your question is not answered here, please feel free to phone or email us. We are always pleased to take new suggestions on board and expand our catalogue of questions.

These questions relate to the programmes through which the internship placement is coordinated by us.

Money and Bank Account

In order to cover all personal expenses, we recommend that you take a credit card with you (Mastercard or Visa are most widely accepted) or a Maestro debit card (which can be used in ATMs in most cities to withdraw cash). Your bank will be able to inform you about fees for the withdrawal of funds abroad. It is advisable, in any case, to take some local currency in small denominations for the first few days of your stay,
If you are staying for a longer period, it may make sense to open a bank account in your host country. Ask your bank in your home country if they have a partner bank in the host country, with whom it may be easier and less complicated to open an account.

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What do I have to organise before my departure?

As participants on this programme come from many different countries and different situations, it is important that you familiarise yourself with what will be necessary for you to do before leaving for the host country. The following suggestions are just a guide.

  • Health insurance: if you are privately insured in the UK, you will need to contact your insurance provider here to inform them that you are leaving the country for an extended period of time. They will be able to inform you of which steps should be taken before your departure and on your return to the UK.
  • Contact your bank to inform them that you will be living abroad for an extended period of time, and that you may be using your debit/credit card - they will be able to inform you about related fees.

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What sort of company will my internship be in? What sort of company contacts are there?

Our partner organisations have numerous company contacts in their countries and can organise internships in a variety of different fields. The companies depend on a thorough selection process and wish to establish contact with the applicants afterwards. This is the reason that we do not publish a list of companies.

Most companies are smaller, locally-operating organisations with 5 to 15 employees. The majority have flat hierarchies, are active and work closely together with interns. In these circumstances, too, you will have the best chance of working independently on projects.

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Dress Code

It is best to over-dress than to turn up dressed too casually on your first day. No one expects you to bring several suits in your luggage. But smart trousers (no jeans), shirts or nice tops, as well as a pair of smart shoes (no trainers) are generally acceptable in most companies.

As you will have been matched with your organisation before your departure, you should discuss the dress code with them in more detail before departure.

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Pay

The internships are mostly unpaid, for several reasons: the company does not know you personally; you will have to be trained and are only staying with the company for a short time. In addition, you may not have much previous experience and/or may not be a native English speaker.

As the internships are unpaid, our partner organisations can better incorporate your interests and abilities into their search for the perfect internship for you. An internship gives you an insight into the company and the business know-how of the country; you are not just there to carry out simple tasks or to stand at the photocopier all day long. Also, please bear in mind that unpaid internships are the absolute norm for students and graduates from the host country too. 

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Integration into the Company

The staff at your internship company will have worked together for months or even years. You are entering into an established company culture. Don't be too shy to take the initiative and approach your new colleagues. Why not suggest a casual meeting at lunchtime? And if you are invited to join your colleagues socially, accept!

Many smaller companies and organisations have a flat hierarchy. It is not unusual to come across the owner him or herself taking care of the data entry or book keeping. There is no "boss mentality", instead, you will find team spirit with a capital T! Next, you will probably be assigned some simpler tasks. The more challenging tasks will normally be given to you once you have picked up the basics (and in the case of non-native speakers, the better your English is), but the duration of the internship and your own prior knowledge will also impact on this, of course.

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Holidays During the Internship

There is no holiday allowance for the duration of the internship. In the case of longer internships, it may be possible to take (unpaid) holidays. This must be discussed directly with the employer.

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What if I have problems with my internship?

If problems should occur, in the first instance speak to your supervisor in the company. Your second contact is then whichever of our partner organisations has placed you. A change of internship must only be undertaken with the agreement of our partner organisation.
If you should lose your internship through no fault of your own, our partner organisation will do their best to help you find a new one. Time can play a part in how easy or difficult this task is: e.g. if you are only going to be in the country for another few weeks.

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Certificate of Participation

You will, as a rule, receive written confirmation from your company, of your participation in the programme. There are, however, companies that for good reason are unable to give you a report. It is best to ask your supervisor at the company what verification of your participation they will be able or willing to give. We are also happy to provide a certificate of participation upon sucessful completion of your internship, on request.

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