Best Countries for STEM Internships Abroad

by Emily Hurt

The call to travel abroad can be heard by many, and for STEM majors looking to experience another corner of the globe while staying on track professionally, interning abroad can be the best of both worlds, literally. Interning abroad will be the adventure of a lifetime; any STEM internship abroad will combine career ambitions in the fast-paced science and engineering industries with new sights, sounds, and people, which undoubtedly accompany any international travel experience. 

STEM subjects are global areas of study, with fields of practice located all around the world, providing students with many options. So, if you’re a STEM major and you are sold on interning abroad but can’t decide where to go, start by considering one of the best countries for STEM internships abroad. Each one of the countries listed below is a true mecca of industrial applications when it comes to technology and science. 

1. Taiwan

Dahu Park in Taiwan

Dahu Park, Taiwan

Often overlooked, Taiwan is a hub of all things STEM; this small, scenic island off the coast of China is the ideal place to live and intern abroad. Taiwan’s main industries are information technology, electronics, machinery, and petrol, and, as one of the fastest growing countries economically, there are abounding opportunities for those looking to start their career abroad. Taiwan ranks at the top of this list because of more lax visa restrictions, which allow international interns, in some cases, to be compensated for their internship work; careful, advanced planning is a necessity to ensuring salaried work in Taiwan, however. 

It’s possible to intern with both up-and-coming companies exploring new technologies on the market or well-established engineering or research firms in Taiwan. Mandarin is the main language spoken in Taiwan, but many math and science based internships only require English proficiency, a huge bonus for interns with limited language skills.

Engineers and other scientists find the culture surrounding work life in Taiwan to be focused and driven without being stressful, which is why satisfaction with internships abroad in Taiwan is soaring. Culturally, this country is as unique as you can get. Famous for its lantern festivals and open-air night markets, where you can sample new cuisines, your life outside of your internship in Taiwan is sure to be as fulfilling as your work itself. 

2. Italy

A cultural capital renowned for centuries for art, math, and science achievements, Italy is a premiere location for internships abroad. By reputation, Italy is an excellent place to study fine arts and liberal arts, so many people never think of Italy as a top destination for structured sciences, like engineering or information technology; but there is indeed a bustling industry in need of interns in this beautiful country.

Rome, Milan, and Monza are all industrial cities and homes to large branches of multinational corporations operating all over the world. Italy’s education system widely accepts international students, even ones solely completing internships in Italy rather than study abroad programs. Many STEM internships in Italy even offer interns the chance to take up to three months of Italian, at a subsidized cost, which is a great opportunity for those looking to learn or improve their foreign language skills during their internship abroad.

It’s certainly not difficult to find a reason to travel to Italy, with some of the most famous food dishes, richest wines, and temperate year-round climate. Interns can work in a large city with the amenities of well-funded research facilities, technology magnates, or government projects, during the week, and visit the lovely Italian countryside, explore the Mediterranean, or take a train to a neighboring nation of the European union, on the weekends. 

Top Rated STEM Internship Areas in Italy:

3. Thailand

There are unique benefits to interning abroad in Thailand, a country that is in many ways still a developing nation. Many scientists, engineers, and mathematicians can easily forget the effect their work has on improving the lives of people across the world, or in their own country for that matter. However, those who intern in Thailand will be able to see the fruits of their labor. Engineering interns will see how their work assists Thai people in living easier lives. Technology interns will be able to reflect on how they are contributing to the globalization of Thailand. Science and math research interns will be able to help improve the health of Thailand’s citizens. 

Pink elephant statue in Bangkok, Thailand

Pink elephant statue in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo by Annie Bierbower

Other benefits of interning in Thailand include being a part of hands-on research available nowhere else in the world. For example, Thailand has excellent programs investigating ways to make structures more impervious to earthquakes, storms, and other natural disasters, because South Asian countries are particularly ravaged by these events. 

Often referred to as “The Land of Smiles,” Thailand is an especially friendly country filled with picturesque beaches, pristine ocean water, and tropical landscapes. STEM majors are invited to step out of their comfort zone and into this oasis, where they have the freedom to work in an internship that can truly impact the lives of others.

Top Recommended STEM Internships in Thailand:

4. China

If you’re looking for the best of the best, China is the place to look for your STEM internship abroad. As a global leader in science, technology, engineering, and math applications, China is a step ahead of every country in laboratory resources and ongoing research projects, of magnitudes large and small. From emerging biotechnologies to tried and true architectural engineering projects, this large country is the land of opportunity for many young STEM interns. 

Most who decide to intern in China are looking forward to up-and-coming projects in the highly profitable arenas of genetic engineering, biomedical technologies, and pharmaceutical research. The draw to get in on the ground floor of developing technological advancements leads many to Shanghai and Beijing. Business in China is often conducted in English, so language requirements are rarely an impediment in internships in China. 

Certainly there is no shortage in STEM internship opportunities in China, which is a rapidly growing and modernizing country. In fact, China is changing the scene of international business, largely due to the investment it’s making in STEM fields in order to become a global leader in new technologies. STEM majors who are truly passionate about their studies are certain to find friends and colleagues in China with similar interests and ambitions.

Top Rated STEM Internship Types in China:

5. New Zealand

Lake in Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand

If your scientific applications intersect with the natural world in any way, New Zealand is the perfect spot to fulfill your STEM internship abroad. Research and conservation projects into the natural sciences take the spotlight on the nation of two islands, as natural beauty is around every corner. 

Those interested in the agricultural sciences and even economics can find the internship of their dreams in New Zealand, a country especially welcoming to international travelers. The large cities of Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington have recently seen a rise in technology internships, mainly focusing around information technology to keep up with growing demands of the business world. 

If natural beauty appeals to you, you are sure to fall in love with New Zealand. Even those interning in computer science, research labs, or behind desks, will find solace in the aesthetics of these Pacific islands. Though you’re certain to be introduced to the diverse culture of the country, many interns are comforted by the fact that New Zealand is an English-speaking country too.

Top Rated STEM Internships in New Zealand: