Whether you’re determined to invent the hottest new social media app or you want to learn about investment banking from the best, San Francisco is the ideal city for an internship. Not only will you be surrounded by enthusiastic go-getters in the workplace, but you’ll also have a chance to discover one of the United States’ most well-loved cities, from its steep streets and cable cars to the famous Golden Gate park. Just like the early prospectors who arrived in the City by the Bay searching for gold, you’re sure to find treasure as an intern in San Francisco.
What You Need to Know to Intern Abroad in San Francisco
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a coding guru in order to benefit from an internship in San Francisco. While Silicon Valley is right down the road and many young professionals do work in the technology sector, this city in California offers options for all types of internship seekers.
Popular types of internships in San Francisco. As a major business hub, San Fran is heavy on internship opportunities in certain sectors, but don’t let that deter you if you’re not studying business or technology. The city is also home to many marketing firms, and as a major tourist destination, there are tons of options in the hospitality sector, too. Even interns who want experience in fields as diverse as environmental issues or human rights will find dozens of hard-working non-profits that could use a hand in the Bay area.
Short term internships and summer internships vs. long-term internships in San Francisco. Internships come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s up to you to determine the best fit. When thinking about how long your internship should be, it’s important to consider factors such as your school calendar, budget, and learning objectives. Sometimes a short-term internship is all you can manage, and while it’s certainly better than nothing, if you’re able to swing a six- or twelve-month internship, go for it! The longer you spend in SF, the more you’ll learn about your industry, the city, and American culture.
Unpaid vs. paid internships in San Francisco. It’s important to consider payment when applying for internships, as life in San Francisco is not cheap. Many internships here are paid, which can help with costs like rent and meals. Opportunities in smaller organizations are more likely to be unpaid, so you’ll need to be honest about your budget before accepting an unpaid internship offer.
Life in San Francisco, USA for International Interns
San Francisco is a great place to gain professional experience, but it’s the time you’ll spend outside of the office that will make you fall in love with this hilly, foggy city. Not only will you get stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific ocean on the regular, you’ll also have access to an endless buffet of world cuisine, live music every night of the week, and more parks than you can realistically visit during your time here.
The Bay Area has a diverse population, meaning you’ll quickly feel at home while interning in San Francisco as you explore its various neighborhoods. Spend a day walking through Chinatown or try some Dungeness crab in Fisherman’s Wharf. Once you’ve ticked all of the tourist boxes, spend some time getting to know your own neighborhood and check out the local cafes, shops, and bars. San Francisco is one of the most walkable cities in the country; delightful surprises are around every corner if you take the time to look.
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop for Interns in San Francisco, United States
San Francisco is a popular city, and these days everyone wants to experience its magic. Unfortunately, this means that housing costs have shot up quickly and finding an affordable place to stay in the city proper can be difficult. Unless your employer has arranged housing for you or your internship provider has included housing in your program cost, plan on spending quite a bit on lodging, even if it’s a small room in a shared house. Luckily, with all the city has to offer, you won’t be home much!
International interns should also be mindful of the visa process required to pursue an internship in the United States. Most likely you’ll need to apply for a J-1 visa, which allows students and young adults the opportunity to participate in an internship for up to twelve months. There are many companies that can assist you with the application process, but keep in mind that it can take between six and ten weeks to complete the process and obtain your visa. Planning ahead is the best thing you can do to ensure you start your internship successfully.
Choosing to intern abroad in San Francisco is a great way to gain top-notch experience in your field and experience a laid-back, Californian city at its best. Not only will you come away with an impressive resume, you’ll also get a taste of American culture, from networking events to happy hours. You may even miss the long slogs up San Fran’s notoriously steep streets someday!
If you’re still not convinced that San Francisco is the place for you, check out other internship locations in this comprehensive guide to interning abroad in the United States.