Finding internships and work experience abroad – some points to consider

iStock_000011532992Small International signs
Finding opportunities abroad can be a very different experience to job hunting in the UK. Knowing where to find jobs can be tricky without local knowledge, there may be rules in that country which you aren’t aware of, and finding paid work can be very hard.

So if you are thinking of finding work experience abroad, here are some points to consider:

Work experience providers that charge fees

  • Unlike in the UK, international work experience providers can (quite legitimately) charge you a fee for helping you find opportunities. Aside from access to opportunities, they may charge for support getting a visa, accommodation during your internship, language training, providing a local mobile phone, transportation, orientation advice, advice helpline, food and so on. If you can approach employers directly this may help cut down on these fees!
  • If you do go through an organisation that charges fees, it is important to be aware that the quality of service provided can vary between companies, so ensure that you research them in terms of their reputation, what services are included in any fees they charge and any other requirements they have from you.

Visas

  • If you need to obtain a visa as part of applying for the internship, ensure that you allow yourself enough time to apply and gain a visa.
  • Be realistic about your timeframes and always allow more time in your planning to get a visa than you expect. In some cases, it may already be too late to gain a visa before this summer and this will affect your options.

Placements & placement/internship agreements

  • You may be asked to fill in and sign a placement or internship agreement form. It is important to note that the university can only sign a placement agreement if the placement or internship is a part of your degree programme.
  • Read the small print of agreements and payment arrangements and keep copies of correspondence in case you need to refer to this at a later stage.

Salary and living costs

  • It is always important to be thorough and plan your budget carefully. Ensure that you have researched if the work experience pays a salary and what does this cover?
  • Do you know how much your living costs will be on placement?
  • Will you need to provide any financial support yourself for during the work experience, as a backup plan or for a holiday afterwards?

Insurance

  • When working and living in another country you need to ensure you have adequate insurance cover, whether this is for illness, loss of your belongings, or accidents at work.
  • Consider the details so that you are prepared, especially being in unfamiliar surroundings. Your safety, health and welfare are paramount. Check our website links below for more information on travel abroad insurance.

For further helpful advice and information on finding work experience abroad, take a look at our International Work Experience web page.

Alongside looking on CareersLink for possible vacancies, you may want to also look at our Work and study abroad pages which give useful information and advice on working in different countries and links to resources such as Going Global , and Prospects -Working Abroad pages.  You may also want to check out the resources on reference in the Careers Resource Centre.


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