How to Find Internships as an International Student

Many students today begin their internship journey during their undergraduate years. Some even do a short Summer internship before they leave high school. And, given the competition in the job market, this is a good thing. In this blog, we will discuss how can you find internships as an international student.

When Should the Internship Journey Begin?

As early as high- school! You can sign up for a 6-8 week Summer internship with any business, organization, family business, or NGO as early as high school.

What is the Benefit of Internships?

  • Exposure to the workplace environment.
  • Learning the discipline of time: planning for deliverables that you have been assigned.
  • Getting familiar with professional communication: interacting with teammates (as well as bosses!)
  • Handling critical feedback and difference of opinion.
  • In short, Internships build  skills to become job-ready

Internships should be an integral part of your higher-education journey. If you are an international student this is even more important. For a study abroad student finding internships and opportunities in a foreign country might seem daunting. But, we can make your journey smoother! My suggestions below are based on several years of teaching university students in the United States and India and helping them to pitch for internships, jobs, or more advanced degrees. First, an important point for an international student, finding internships is not the responsibility of your university.  You will need to secure the placement yourself. So as an international student, how do you begin the process of finding an internship:

  • Search for the Career Centre at your university.
  • They will help with professional Resume-writing.
  • Be ready with a Cover letter. This can be generic.
  • But do not send the SAME Cover Letter with each application.

What are the Types of Internships Available for International Students? 

Internships are available in a vast range of subject domains and categories:

  • Remote and In-person

If you are searching for internships for international students simply use these very keywords! Add ‘Remote’ if you want to work online. For students unable to secure internships, some websites ask for a fee and secure the internship for you.

  • Internships can be Unpaid, Paid or Fully-funded

Begin with applying for ‘paid internships’ or ‘fully-funded’ because some of the generous ones include transportation allowances which can help a student’s* budget!

Must Read: Top Tips to Build a Strong Profile

How Do I Apply for Internships?

 To apply you would require: 

  • A well-crafted professional CV or Resume 
  • Cover Letter.

How Can I Ace My Cover Letter for My Internship?

Do not send the same letter to every company. Customize it. If I am a recruiter, I want to see 2-3 sentences in your Cover Letter which tell me

  • What do you know about my business,
  • What you LIKE about us, and *how will you bring value to our business?

Tip 1

Even if you have no previous work experience, you can mention why you are interested in that industry, how it fits in with your long-term career goals and if you have held any leadership position in school or college which is evidence of your skills.

Tip 2

Research that company and mention specifically what you know about that company, and how their business model impresses you or aligns with some cause you care about (climate change, accessibility for all, etc).

Tip 3

Remember that you are competing with hundreds of other applicants. Reflect on your previous courses, certifications, or personal experiences to show your unique qualities as an international student.

Tip 4

Keep the Cover letter brief and interesting. Avoid saying ‘I’m hard-working’. Focus on the skills and values that you will bring to the internship  Once you are armed with this strategy, hopefully, you will hear back from a few potential recruiters.

How Do I Choose A Good Internship?

To choose a good internship first Ask yourself:

  • Is this relevant for the industry I want to join in the future?
  • Will this internship add something new to the coursework I am doing?
  • Will it challenge and upskill me?
  • Does this fit with my short-term goals or my long-term vision?  

 ‘YES’ should be your answer to the above!

Also Read: How Studying Abroad Can Help Make You a Global Citizen

What Should I Expect To Gain From My Internship?

 Below are the key learning outcomes of a good internship:

  • Learning Time management; Accomplish deliverables without getting stressed
  • Understanding workflow: The processes in your business or industry
  • Workplace etiquette: The art of professional communications
  • Interacting with colleagues (including peers and managers)
  • Developing relationships with teammates and handling cultural/racial and religious diversity
  • Collaborative work skills: handling conflict in team projects
  • Taking responsibility for specific tasks
  • Learning decision-making skills

As an international student, if you wish to make solid progress and learn from each internship, the above checklist should keep you climbing. We will be back next Friday with another amazing blog from Dr.Maina Chawla Singh. Till then, if you have any questions or suggestions, just drop us a comment and we will get back to you.