Since the beginning of the decade (and perhaps even earlier), internships have become nothing short of inevitable for many professionals. Often, internships are a necessary step to completing a college degree, as many programs across various fields require practical experience before granting a diploma. Other times, internships serve as networking tools that soon-to-be or recent graduates can use to get their foot in the door—AKA, the magic formula that ends the need-experience-to-get-experience circle so many of us face.
Whether you’re a current student, recent grad, or looking to change careers, an internship could work wonders for your future job prospects. Wondering how to sign up yet?
Well, it just so happens that internships are a great reason to travel abroad, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the best international internship programs around the globe across many fields (psst—and some of them come with a paycheck in tow!).
What makes these the “best” international internship programs?
We’ve found the best international internship programs, yes, but what does that mean? We’ll keep it simple: These are comprehensive, unique, and safe experiences. With these international internship programs, your responsibilities will go above and beyond coffee runs. You’ll be out in the field getting your hands dirty (sometimes literally), perhaps problem-solving or managing, and building skills in an environment that will easily shed light on your own flexibility and adaptability. Plus, these programs will make sure you return home in one piece, too. Neat!
Internships in Europe
If you arrive in Europe as an uncultured ruffian, you surely won’t leave that way. Europe stirs up images of magnificent cathedrals, winding cobblestone streets, and tiny bistro tables with croissants on them. Here you’ll find the best international internship programs across the entire spectrum of the arts.
Fancy yourself Ratatouille? If you’re looking for an internship that will challenge your culinary skills and make your resume downright impressive, escar-go on a culinary arts internship with Gastronomie France. You’ll be placed in Michelin star restaurants, and serve under the tutelage of experienced and prestigious chefs. If you’re lucky, it may be possible to negotiate payment in the form of bread and cheese during internships in France.
- Where: France
- What: Culinary Arts
- More info: Read Gastronomie France reviews
Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael—Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, yes, but also some of the greatest painters and sculptors to ever live. A tailor-made art history internship in Italy with World Internships will not only shed light on David’s butt, but also on the stories, techniques, and practices behind talented artists and their timeless magnum opuses.
- Where: Italy
- What: Fine Arts
- More info: Read World Internships reviews
Where else would you go for a theater, drama, and dance internship but the home of Shakespeare himself? With the intensive West End Musical Theatre Training in London, England with Performing Arts Abroad, you’ll be stage-ready in no time. Included in this program are backstage tours, tickets to shows, and mentorship from current and past performers at West End. Break a leg!
- Where: England
- What: Theater, drama, dance
- More info: Read Performing Arts Abroad reviews
Internships in Asia
Asia is perhaps unparalleled in the range of quality internships on offer, as well as in topography, languages, and cultures. Considering the scale and scope of the continent, it can be daunting to narrow down where you want to intern abroad. If it’s any consolation, you’re almost guaranteed delicious food, curious customs, and a stellar experience pretty much anywhere you choose to go with these best international internship programs.
It’s no secret that Indian society struggles with women’s rights, and interning in Women’s Empowerment Programs in India with ELI Abroad will prove to be mutually beneficial. Not only will you gain firsthand experience in reporting and grant writing (ideal for those interested in a career in the nonprofit sector), but you will also have the chance to touch lives by working closely with public health campaigns and women in shelters.
- Where: India
- What: Social work, nonprofits
- More info: Read ELI Abroad reviews
For technology internships abroad, you could do a lot worse than the home of Samsung and LG. Asia Internship Program will help you find internships with some of the top technology companies in South Korea, and connect you with those who, like you, also sleep, eat, and breathe tech. Plus, if you can pick up some strong Korean skills, you’ll have an even greater advantage over the competition when it comes time to send out job applications.
- Where: South Korea
- What: Tech
- More info: Read Asia Internship Program reviews
Flashy signs, quirky commercials, and colorful ads—a marketing, advertising, and PR internship in Japan will show you a whole new (and very different) side of the field. Internship in Japan is the premier company for finding useful and relevant internships in Japan, and they’ll ensure you leave as the sensei of customer satisfaction. Bonus points if you can make Ichiban go mainstream.
- Where: Japan
- What: Marketing, advertising, PR
- More info: Read Internship in Japan reviews
Internships in Australia/New Zealand
Welcome to one of the most indescribably beautiful regions of the world. Around these parts, it will feel like your internship is doubling as a vacation, and it’ll be necessary to resist the temptation to call in sick to go surfing. Sunny weather, beautiful coastlines, and fun accents will all beckon you to Oceania for some truly once-in-a-lifetime internship experiences.
If you’re headed to New Zealand, you’re going to want to spend most of your time outdoors—trust us. A horticulture internship with ISA Internships will be the perfect excuse to spend a semester exploring the unique New Zealand topography. Expect your days to be long and exhausting, but spent amongst plants along mountainsides, coastlines, and lush forests. Can we come too?
- Where: New Zealand
- What: Horticulture
- More info: Read ISA Internships reviews
Sparkling cities, thick jungles, rugged beaches, and that rough-and-tumble Outback...In Australia, you’ll have more than enough subjects for a custom-made photography internship with the aptly-named Global Experiences. Interning in Australia would present an incredible opportunity to expand your portfolio, as well as add Uluru to your carefully curated Instagram. We’re kanga-rooting for you!
- Where: Australia
- What: Photography
- More info: Read Global Experiences reviews
In an age when the oceans are under dire threat from human pollution and negligent governments, a marine conservation internship in Fiji with GVI will grant you both experience and a sense of purpose. Assist with research and contribute to coral reef conservation efforts firsthand while living in the embodiment of heaven on Earth. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
- Where: Fiji
- What: Marine conservation
- More info: Read GVI reviews
Internships in Africa
Interning in Africa will be beneficial and life-changing for those who have do-good attitudes. Nonprofit internships are abundant on this continent, so if you’re more interested in having the chance to make an impact (responsibly) and expand your perspective, and less interested in air-conditioned cubicles, this is where you’ll find your gig.
If you’re looking to grow professionally in a field that is globally relevant and doubles as one of the best international internship programs, look no further than an internship in sustainable development in South Africa with VACorps. In a part of the world that is still developing, the knowledge you gain on your internship will be invaluable to the communities you become a part of (and, of course, it won’t look too shabby on your resume either).
- Where: South Africa
- What: Sustainable development
- More info: Read VACorps reviews
Kaya Responsible Travel is making it possible to intern abroad on the savannah in Swaziland. We repeat: You are able to gain valuable work and life experience on the savannah in Swaziland. Africa-1, rest of the world-0. Here the emphasis is on ecology and conservation, and you’ll be working closely with biologists and ecologists while learning how to research wildlife and analyze data.
- Where: Swaziland
- What: Ecology and conservation
- More info: Read Kaya Responsible Travel reviews
The Holistic Horse Management Internship in Zimbabwe with African Impact grants the opportunity to live on a game reserve while improving your management skills through the running and maintenance of the on-site horse stables. Interns are also able to walk with lions that are on the reserve, and help care for rescued elephants. Just in case you weren’t sold already, overnight horseback safaris are in the mix too.
- Where: Zimbabwe
- What: Management, animal conservation
- More info: Read African Impact reviews
Internships in Latin America
Home to the Amazon Rainforest, the Andes Mountains, the Inca Trail, and more historical sites and artifacts than you can count on your hands and feet, Central and South America are both substantial and affordable. Although the region is still largely developing, that hasn’t stopped plenty of career-making internships from cropping up around most countries.
It’s a metaphorical walk, but an archaeology internship in Argentina with Connect-123 still sounds unreal. Home to the world-renowned fossil of the largest animal to ever walk the planet, the Titanosaur, Argentina is more than appropriate as a backdrop for aspiring paleontologists. Indiana Jones and Ross Geller have nothing on you—especially if you remember to pack your khaki (and everything else you should pack for internships abroad!).
- Where: Argentina
- What: Archaeology
- More info: Read Connect-123 reviews
As the former center of the Inca civilization, going to Peru for an internship in anthropology is a no-brainer. Linguistic Horizons make it possible to immerse into a local indigenous community, and learn about their culture while interning for a Peruvian company. In such an intimate setting it’s practically guaranteed that you’ll return home with Spanish skills to brag about (and photos of you hugging a llama).
- Where: Peru
- What: Anthropology
- More info: Read Linguistic Horizons reviews
Brazil is a homerun location for international internship programs in economics or business. The Brazilian Experience will place you at reputable Brazilian companies, and allow you the opportunity to gain skills in Portuguese, as well as network with professionals in your chosen field. If you want to gain a leg up in the world of globalization and international finance, understanding a powerhouse economy like Brazil’s can only benefit you.
- Where: Brazil
- What: Business, Finance
- More info: Read Brazilian Experience reviews
Want to be outstanding in your field while out standing in a field? Choose to intern in Costa Rica with CISabroad and you’ll spend sunrise to sundown in freshly dug earth, learning about endemic plants and species, weeding (let’s be honest, this is a big part of any agriculturist job!), and getting a comprehensive look at what it means to work in food production in a foreign country.
- Where: Costa Rica
- What: Agriculture
- More info: Read CISabroad reviews
*Paid* internships abroad
Ka-ching! You can thank us later. Here are the best international internship programs when it comes to getting p-p-paaaaaaid. We <3 paid internships abroad, too!
USEH International Inc. offers quite a few paid internships abroad (and great options for internships abroad for recent graduates!), and it sounds like one of their best is in New Zealand interning in hospitality and tourism. Compensation depends on the employer, and while you shouldn’t expect to be raking it in, you’ll still make enough for the essentials. Paid internships abroad for college graduates? In New Zealand? We’ll pinch you if ya want, but we promise it’s not a dream.
- Where: New Zealand
- What: Paid internships in a variety of sectors
- More info: Read USEH International reviews
Notoriously friendly and considerate, is there anywhere else on Earth where you would be not surprised to learn paid internships abroad are ripe for the picking? Canada is where it’s at (and by “it’s,” we mean amazing ski slopes, syrup, hardcore hockey fans, and epic paid internships). Paycheck aside, web design and informational technology internships with Latitude International Education offer untold benefits of their own as society becomes more and more dependent on the Internet and computer know-how.
- Where: Canada
- What: Web design, information technology
- More info: Read Latitude International Education reviews
Paid international internships don’t have to involve strict schedules and stuffy offices. Working as an Au Pair with Cultural Homestay International in Germany will be right up your alley if you’re interested in child care or early childhood education. Pay is nowhere near livable, but considering you’ll be living with a host family, accommodation costs shouldn’t be much trouble. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to gain language skills with this internship.
- Where: Germany
- What: Au pair internships
- More info: Read Cultural Homestay International reviews
PIC Management offers paid internships abroad in accounting and finance, as well as affordable program fees. Many of their placements include other benefits such as free meals and accommodation, deferring costs even more! Your paycheck will be decent, but it’ll still be wise to limit your nights out at the pub—happy hours with your new coworkers in Ireland can add up quick, especially when you’re quick to “treat yo’self” to a pint of Guinness on the reg!
- Where: Ireland
- What: Accounting, finance
- More info: More info on PIC Management
All-expense paid internships abroad are few and far between, but you’ll get pretty darn close in teeny tiny Malta. Thanks to their booming tourism industry, SWS Group is able to offer paid internships abroad in hospitality. For this particular program, you would be working in a four-star seaside resort with meals and accommodation included (on top of a monthly stipend).
- Where: Malta
- What: Hospitality
- More info: More info SWS Group
Popular summer internships abroad
Not everyone has the time or money to commit to an entire semester or full year abroad. Don’t worry, we’ve got the best summer break plans for you ever with this short-list of the best international internship programs for those short on time.
If you have a penchant for high fashion, and a wide open summer, bypass Paris for Milan for a fashion design internship with IES Internships. In a field as competitive as this one, you’ll be grateful after graduation that you had a summer to network and learn a new language. Slink on catwalks and call the shots with these incredible professional learning opportunities in the fashion industry.
- Where: Italy
- What: Fashion
- More info: Read IES Internships reviews
PINC International offers 8-week summer internships abroad in Spain that are customized to fit your career goals, and designed to propel your Spanish skills into the stratosphere. Creative writing? Journalism? Music? Graphic design? The world (and this internship) is your oyster—and is best served with a tall glass of sangria and a fierce, supportive girl-tribe who has your back every powerful step along the way.
- Where: Spain
- What: A variety of sectors; women-only
- More info: Read PINC International reviews
It might not be realistic to expect to learn Mandarin in a summer, but it’s worth a shot, right? In the meantime, ImmerQi will match you with a company in Shanghai or Beijing, China that will complement your career goals, and add some meat (—preferably served in a cute little spicy dumpling—) to your resume.
- Where: China
- What: Variety of sectors
- More info: Read ImmerQi reviews
Going to school to be a nurse is intense to say the least, so why not consider summer internships abroad that will make it incredibly easy to blow off steam? The nursing internship with Atlantis Fellowship in Panama is well-rounded, AAMC-compliant, and only part time, so there will be plenty of time for beach parties. You’ll return home relaxed, experienced, and ready to take on the medical world.
- Where: Panama
- What: Medical internships
- More info: Read Atlantis Internships reviews
Pick your program and go!
There are literally hundreds of options for internships around the world, and that fact can make searching for the right internship seem too daunting to be worth it. However, once you narrow down your career goals, as well as where in the world you would like to set up camp, the entire process becomes much more manageable. Once you know what it is you’re looking for, all the other details will fall into place.
More helpful resources:
- 5 Reasons to do an Internship Abroad
- How to Pay for Your International Internship (And what do fees generally include)
- How to Pick the Right Internship Program Provider
- Most Affordable Places for Student Internships Abroad
- What to Pack to Be Taken Seriously as an Intern
With paid internship options, and year-round start dates, there’s almost no valid excuse to not take your interning on the road. Build yourself a better future, and intern abroad!