I should preface this by saying, this is mostly for currently enrolled university students looking for summer internships in Europe or the USA, but for those that have recently graduated, you may find this helpful as well.
Working in Europe as an American, or in America as a European, can be quite difficult once you graduate from college and start thinking about long term job prospects. If you’re still a student or are about to be a graduate this May, opportunities for summers in Europe abound.
This post outlines all the visa options and programs that assist with job placement throughout Europe (and a few other countries too).
For those of you that are well past your student days (myself included!), I’ll be following this up with another post for job and visa opportunities in Europe in a few weeks.
Working Holiday Visa in Ireland
I wrote about this visa in my Working Holiday Visas post a few months ago. This is a visa that Americans can get if they are currently enrolled in full time studies OR if they are within 12 months of having just completed post-graduate studies. You’ll have to show proof of enrollment from your home university to apply.
The beauty of this visa is that you don’t have to get a job in order to apply for the visa. It means you can work anywhere in Ireland in any job that you choose for up to 12 months. If I were going to choose a favorite option on this list, it would this one. It gives much for flexibility for your summer in Europe and is ideal for those that are just about to graduate.
Dream Careers is an internship placement company that has opportunities all over Europe. It’s currently calling for applications right now (deadline Jan 31st!), but has different opportunities throughout the year.
At first I thought it might only suit those looking to go into more corporate settings, but the opportunities are endless. They have internships for sport, arts, dance, theater, event planning, photography, and more. I think if finding a summer internship is your top priority, getting onto this site and applying can only do you good.
They have opportunities both in the US and in major cities in Europe (London, Paris, Barcelona). Do note that there is a fee charged for their services, but if they cannot find you a position you are 100% happy with, they will refund your fee.
Apply Here (deadline for US and China roles is Jan 31st!)
Similar to Dream Careers, Global Experiences is a go-between for students and companies to help place people in jobs around Europe, the US and China. There are tons of opportunities, so many fields of interest (including fashion design and interior design!), your bound to find a project you like in a city you’ll love.
The thing I like about this site is that you can choose to browse by country, by city, by industry or by all three at once.
Maximo Nivel offers internship programs in education, tourism, human rights, medical fields, veterinary science, and business, so there’s really something for everyone.
They offer programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru specifically, so if immersing yourself in Spanish while gaining valuable career experience sounds like something for you, be sure to check out their website and get your applications in!
BUNAC is a program specifically for Americans looking to work in the UK. You are eligible if you are either fully enrolled in a university or have graduated in the last twelve months. It allows American students (or recent grads) the opportunity to work in the UK for up to six months.
This program is crazy popular and of course there are tons of opportunities here. They will walk you through absolutely everything from applying for your visa, to getting a job, to finding a place to live, to getting a SIM card for your phone. They answer all your questions and help you setup your life in the UK. The price tag fits the amount of work they’ll do for you – $755.
For me, I see both sides to this. If you’ve never lived abroad or you see this as your opportunity to “study abroad”, this isn’t actually that much money. I spent much more than this to study in Switzerland for five months. It guarantees that you’ll be placed somewhere and you will have someone to answer all your questions along the way.
BUT – if you simply want to go it alone and try to work abroad wherever you can, the other websites I listed above will cost significantly less.
Have a read of the program and see for yourself. Only you know your comfort zone and what you will want most.
This program is slightly different to the others I’ve mentioned. CAPA call themselves the Global Education Network. They help students apply for not only internships, but also study abroad placements in London.
If you are enrolled in a small college that doesn’t have many options for studying abroad, this is a great place to turn for guidance. They will help you ensure that the program still works towards your degree requirements at home. They can also find internship programs that will do the same.
I would have loved to do a summer internship that gave me college credits. What a genius thing! That being said, all the programs are in London. A great city, but expensive (especially on a student budget!).
I like Connect 123 because they mostly work to place students and recent graduates with local companies (rather than big corporations) in different countries around the world. They currently offer opportunities in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Dublin, and Shanghai.
They have opportunities for everything from accounting and architecture to web development and youth sport internships.
But (and in my opinion this is a BIG BUT) the programs cost upwards of $2,500 USD. This doesn’t include your housing costs (they only help you FIND an apartment, not pay for it) or other living costs. I think this is a very high price tag for what you get, but the experience could be much different and far more fulfilling than some of the others.
IAESTE United States
IAESTE is a program that helps students from other countries obtain internships in the USA or American students obtain internships abroad – both situations require that you are at least two years into studying a “technical field” at university level.
While I’m not exactly certain what “technical fields” encompass, many of the positions include architecture, engineering, and computer sciences.
The program has fee which will only be taken if you are placed in an internship. You must be fluent in English to apply.
This is a great volunteer and internship company that connect you with NGO’s and companies around the world. People from all over the world can apply and is a great opportunity for students to spend their summers making a difference using the skills they’re learning from their course of study.
Similar to some of the other agencies I’ve mentioned, World Internships helps you on the job search from start to finish. They help place you in an accommodation. They also guarantee they can get you an internship in a country of your choice (of the ones that they deal with).
Like the others, there is a fee involved, but World Internships allows you to select different levels. If you just want help with an internship it will be cheaper than if you want their help for setting up your housing there. They have opportunities in numerous fields and in countries all over the world, not just in Europe.
Companies that Accept International Interns
In addition to the agencies I listed above, there are tons of international companies that often look for interns for their bases around the globe. I highly recommend searching the websites of companies that you admire and seeing what opportunities they have available for students.
KONE is an elevator company that offers international internships to those that apply.They look for students studying all types of disciplines. From the information available it seems like a pretty great opportunity.
H&M hire summer interns from around the world who are studying business or engineering. You must be graduating in the next two years.
Interested in learning more about interational politics? Fluent in English or French? A current bachelor’s student in their final year, just graduated, or enrolled as a masters or PhD student?
You can apply to one of the many international UN offices (NYC, Geneva, Vienna, Beirut, Bangkok & more!) as a summer intern. What an experience that would be!
I really like GoAbroad.com for basically all information about moving abroad as a young person.
They have experts who have actually made the move to each country writing the articles. They help with internships, teaching abroad, and working holiday visas. It’s a really great resource for finding an international internship.
Like I mentioned before, it’s worth checking up on individual company websites to see what internships they offer.
Speak to the careers office at your college or university or with the international office. Tap into the alumni list for your current university and see if anyone is located in a country you might be interested in.
You’d be surprised what sort of opportunities come available to you when you reach out in a genuine way to people.