Germans are widely recognized for efficiency in the workplace and cutting-edge advances in technology, medicine, and the arts. With an internship in Stuttgart, young professionals receive the training and skills needed to give them a competitive advantage in the job market, as well as immersion in a culture that prides itself in hearty cuisine, great beer, and a long history of influential intellectuals and innovators. The German education system focuses on tailoring students’ school path around individual skills and future career goals, and because of this highly specified curriculum, there are plenty of internships in Stuttgart for almost all career interests.
Internships in Stuttgart
As Germany’s sixth largest city and the “cradle of the automobile”, Stuttgart offers internship opportunities in several fields. Some of the most popular are: engineering, politics, business, and the automotive industry.
STEM. For interns pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM fields), Stuttgart is the headquarters for many big names like Daimler, Mercedes, Porsche, and Bosch. Therefore, internships are readily available in all divisions of STEM-focused companies in Stuttgart, from mechanical engineering to tech support to sales and marketing.
Politics. Looking to take that political science degree to the next level or just want to learn more about politics in another country? With the state legislature, the regional parliament, and the local council of Baden-Württemburg (the state in which Stuttgart is the capital) all seated in Stuttgart, an internship in politics would be well suited here.
Business internships in Stuttgart are available in a diverse range of internationally known companies. There are also plenty of small to mid-sized enterprises and family-owned companies that offer apprenticeships and practicums for interns interested in learning in a hands-on, more personal work environment.
Internships in Stuttgart typically range from three to 12 months and will vary in the hours worked per week, though usually do not exceed 35 hours per week. Due to the multicultural nature of the German job market, many internships in Stuttgart will not require previous German language knowledge; however, learning the language will certainly make it easier to navigate around your workplace, as well as transportation and everyday life.
Life in Stuttgart
In terms of an average workday in Stuttgart, interns can expect to begin work around 9 a.m. and should be punctual (if you’re on time, you’re late!). The workplace in a German firm may seem intimidating at first with the strict hierarchical structure, formal titles, and quiet productivity. However, officemates are always happy to engage in friendly conversation around the coffee machine or over lunch.
Meal time, typically an hour-long Mittagspause, is something of a sacred tradition in the German workplace. Taking a relaxing break in the middle of the day to enjoy lunch, take a walk around the block in the sun, or to visit a neighborhood bakery for fresh sandwiches contributes to a re-focused and productive afternoon of work.
Outside of internships in Stuttgart, life in southwestern Germany offers a range of opportunities and activities for every hobby or interest. Transportation is another of the many aspects of daily life that Germans have mastered in efficiency and accessibility. Purchasing a regional or national Bahn ticket for the extensive train system is a great way to take advantage of the many Brükentage, or bridge-days that result in long three or four day weekends. Some internships in Stuttgart will even pay for these tickets or passes!
Whether your interest is dancing late into the night at live concerts and festivals, enjoying a piece of traditional Black Forest cake after exploring the region where it originated, or relaxing along the mesmerizing Lake Constance, interning in Stuttgart will give you all of these opportunities within a few-hour train ride! Also, if your internship runs through the winter months, the Christkindlmärkte (Christmas markets) in Stuttgart and some of the quainter towns in southern Germany are not to be missed!
Salary & Costs
Internships in Stuttgart can be paid or unpaid depending on the field and the company. Some internship providers or employers offer monthly stipends to offset the cost of living for interns during their program.
Due to the competitive nature of the grocery stores in Germany, food and daily necessities are very cheap compared to other parts of the world. For less than $50 per week, you can have all of your groceries and still be able to enjoy a few delicious, German beers with new friends. An average meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant would cost about $30 to $40 with a pint costing between $3.25 and $4.00. It is also possible to live on a tighter budget due to the low cost of staple items, like bread, eggs, and vegetables.
Though the cost of housing within the city of Stuttgart can be more expensive, as in most cities, there are many neighboring Vororte and smaller towns that offer cheaper living accommodations and are only a short train ride from Stuttgart. If you prefer living in a smaller city, but still want the benefits of interning at a larger company, it’s not uncommon to live up to an hour away and commute each day. A single, one-way ticket costs about $2.90, so it is worth investing in monthly or quarterly passes, or you can always use alternative means of travel, like bikes and carpooling.
Accommodation & Visas
Accommodations for interns in Stuttgart can vary from homestays and apartments to dormitories or flats. Most young professionals live in Wohngemeinschaften, or WGs for short. These shared flats are a great way to have a live-in language partner and take advantage of local perspectives and advice about the area. Housing in Germany is minimalistic and focuses on privacy and having very little wasted space. Interns can expect to live a more modest life when it comes to living space. In WGs, roommates have their own room, but share a bathroom, kitchen, and typically have a very small living room, if there is one at all. As a rule of courtesy, all shared space should be kept clean and orderly and closed doors maintain a strict “Do Not Disturb” or “Please Knock” policy.
Students outside of the European Union will need a student visa or working permit to complete an internship in Stuttgart. With a student visa, interns are allowed to work 90 full days or 180 half days per year. This can have additional regulations, however, so find out the rules of your student visa before starting an internship in Germany. When completing the visa process, it is important to pay attention to all details and get help from a native German speaker, if possible. The bureaucracy within the German system can be very tricky and no fine print should be overlooked.
Also note that the law requires interns to be enrolled students at a university, unless they are between degrees. A foreign university is acceptable, although some programs may help interns enroll in local German universities in order to minimize housing and transportation costs, as students can receive discounts on monthly transit passes and live in student housing.
Benefits & Challenges
Holidays. One perk of interning in Stuttgart is that Germany has more public holidays than any other European country. Additionally, Baden-Württemberg has the second most religious holidays of the 16 German states.
Tough Social Scene. Of course living, and especially interning or working, in a new country can have a fair range of challenges, one of the hardest being forming relationships. Germans have created a club, or Verein, for nearly any hobby, skill, and sport imaginable. Look at the Vereine for the Stuttgart and Baden-Württemberg area to get involved with other locals; conversations become much easier when everyone involved can relate to each other through a common passion!
Cold Culture. It is often said that Germans can come across as unfriendly or cold. Just like in all cultures, though, it takes time to understand social cues and navigate conversations and friendly invites in Germany.
Easy Travel. Stuttgart is also the ideal hub for travel, as almost any direction within Europe takes you through Germany. Transit improvement plans are in the works for Stuttgart Bahnhof, in order to improve train travel to major cities, like Vienna and Paris, which will make it possible to go from one side of Europe to the other in a matter of hours, not days!