Details to Plan

Work Permits

Visa and work permit requirements and application procedures are available from the U.S. State Department website, from online service providers, or from the embassy of a specific country.

Applications for student visas or work permits typically require an employment offer and a letter from the employer verifying your affiliation in the host country.  Therefore, these applications can wait until you have accepted a specific job offer.  However, take care of work permit applications as soon as the necessary information is available.  Generally the hiring companies are willing to help with the visa and work permit.

BUNAC has work programs to assist with work permits in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and other countries.

Housing

Housing costs and arrangements are sometimes included in program fees through the host employer or may be left up to the individual student. This is highly specific to the situation of your internship. Location and expense of housing is very important and should be a high priority next step after accepting an offer. Availability of housing may have an impact on timing of your internship and timing of your travel arrangements.

Travel Arrangements

Make travel arrangements as early as possible to get the best air fares. Research air fares carefully. There are several discount travel websites available on the Resources page.

Timing

How long do you hope to spend abroad? Some jobs are summer internships, while others may extend up to a year. Work practices in each country may affect your decision about timing.  For example, a large percentage of the work force in France takes a four-week vacation sometime between July and August.  As a result, a summer internship in France may require a creative schedule or you might consider a time during the academic year as an alternative. Remember, overseas experiences that are going to count towards the International Minor for Engineers must be at least 6 weeks in duration. Think about your availability and personal schedule – it might not be a great idea to be working in Singapore when you know you are expected to be at your brother’s wedding!

Location

Is there a particular country or area of the world that you wish to be in? This may be affected by language skills, prior knowledge of the country, the type of work you hope to do and its relationship to local industry. Other factors that may affect your decision are living costs and health and safety issues.  The choice of country is a highly personal decision and probably will depend on numerous overlapping considerations.  Does the country under consideration have companies or other entities that offer work in your field of choice?  Are there personal or family considerations? Ask for advice from the IPE staff and from peers, faculty members or personal contacts who can tell you about cultural norms in a certain country. Learning to adapt to an international environment is a valuable component of an internship.