An internship abroad is a wonderful way to learn practical applications for your studies, gain work experience, build your professional network, develop your language skills, and more.
Your first step will be to decide what kind of internship you’re interested in, and where you’d like to go. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, you can find available internships and apply for them, keeping in mind the practical considerations below.
Special funding is available for international internships in Europe!
Internships within Europe are eligible for Erasmus funding. As one of the few programs that fund students regardless of their nationality, this is a great opportunity for international students! See the central TUM International Office’s pages on Erasmus internships for details.
Get in touch with us for advice and guidance throughout the internship application and assignment process.
Finding an Internship
There are generally three routes you can choose when looking for an internship:
- going through the Erasmus program,
- finding one on your own, or
- using the services of an agency specializing in international internships, usually for a fee.
For funding opportunities for international interns, see the central TUM International Office’s pages on Erasmus internships.
Some ideas for finding internships independently are:
- Search via the TUM Career Service
- Search via a German company with branches overseas
- Search via an international company in Germany
- The following databases, programs, and organizations may also be of interest:
- Vulcanus: EU program offering internships in Japan
- AHK: internships at German Chambers of Commerce abroad
- Monster: job and internship database
- Praktikum.de: internship database
- Join the Best: international internships at MLP
- PRABO: internship database
- Academic Work: jobs and internships in Scandinavia
- International Placement Center e.V.: international internships
- Let's Bridge IT: internships in India
The following agencies and organizations offer internship positions for a fee:
Applying for an Internship
Once you’ve found an internship you’re interested in, it’s time to prepare your application. Application standards can vary greatly among countries, so make sure to investigate the correct way to format an application in the relevant country. For instance, there may be a preferred way to format your CV, or certain conventions to keep in mind for your cover letter.
Europass offers extensive advice on applying for jobs and internships in EU countries.
After being offered an internship position, keep the following in mind:
Leave of Absence
In order to take time out of your studies for an internship, you must apply for an official leave of absence. Contact the Matriculation Office for details on how to apply for a leave of absence. The academic advisors can issue a certification for the Matriculation Office to support a semester of leave; they need your contract, your job description, and your TUMonline transcript of records.
- Internships within the EU: Within the EU, your German health insurance covers you as long as you order a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). However, we also recommend arranging additional insurance to cover repatriation in case of emergency, as this is not covered by the EHIC.
- Internships outside the EU: Outside of the EU, you must arrange health insurance independently.
- Liability insurance: We also recommend arranging for third-party liability insurance for possible damages incurred within the company you where you will be completing your internship.
Visas and Residence Permits
Begin to investigate visa and residence permit regulations as soon as possible after arranging for your internship abroad, as the application processes can be lengthy and complex.
To find visa regulations in the country where you plan to intern, contact the country’s embassy in Germany; usually visa information can be found on the embassy’s website.
Also bear in mind that there are usually fees associated with applying for a visa.
Note: For internships in the United States, the US Embassy is not responsible for issuing internship visas. Rather, certain organizations like the College Council, Cultural Vistas, or the German-American Chamber of Commerce will process your visa application. Contact these organizations directly for details and to apply.
Language and Culture
It is vital that you have a strong command of your company’s workplace language, both written and oral, before beginning your internship. This will allow you to successfully communicate with your colleagues. We strongly recommend that you spend time brushing up on your language skills and studying job-specific terminology in advance of your internship.
Also keep in mind that the language used at your company is not necessarily the same as the language spoken in that country; many international companies use English as a workplace language even if English is not an official language in their country.
- The Language Center at the TUM offers courses in many languages to help you prepare.
- The DAAD also provides scholarships for language courses in various languages
Additionally, we strongly recommend that you take time to read about the workplace culture in your host country, as cultural norms, particularly in the professional world, can vary greatly. The Vocal Project offers insight into workplace language and culture in a variety of EU countries.