What are International Internships? Everything You Need to Know

Authored By:

College Study Abroad

@cieestudyabroad What’s an international internship? Here’s everything you need to know! #cieestudyabroad #ciee #studyabroad #internship #intern #internabroad #howtofindaninternship #summerinternship #college #careeradvice original sound - CIEE Study Abroad

Forbes Magazine deems college internships as “the ultimate return on investment for today’s college students.”  

Why? Because no matter what your academic or career goals are, an internship helps you gain valuable, hands-on experience in a discipline you’re interested in while learning directly from seasoned professionals.  

Better yet, get involved in an international internship program, and you will make your resume stand out with future employers and get you the skills you need to navigate our increasingly interconnected world.  

Learn more about the power of participating in an internship abroad and discover how you can really delve into your passions on an international scale.  

What are International Internships?  

An international internship is a work placement that takes place in a foreign country in person, or even virtually. CIEE currently offers amazing international internship opportunities in 22 countries around the world! Available internships range from six to 12 weeks 

If you’re considering applying to an international internship, we recommend finding one that involves an industry related to your academic or professional ambitions. And with the variety of CIEE internship programs around the world, we bet you’ll find one that fits your goals perfectly.  

And we’re not talking about positions where you’re stuck at a desk all day. You can help organize voter registration events in Paris, attend an industry networking event in Tokyo, explore archaeological sites in Jordan, or even work at an NGO in Chile. The possibilities are virtually endless.  

It should go without saying, but we’ll reinforce that CIEE internships aren’t all work and no play. Not by a long shot. While interning abroad, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore these spectacular countries. During CIEE-organized excursions, you’ll get to visit some of the world’s most famous attractions, meet people from all over the world, learn new language skills, and indulge in new and delicious cuisine. How’s that for a well-rounded experience? 

ciee interns in barcelona for medical internship

What do you do in an international internship?  

Your tasks and responsibilities will vary depending on the international internship program you choose.   

We’ll work with you to find a placement that makes the most sense for your goals and aspirations, but there are some common responsibilities you’ll have no matter which one you choose.  


  • Work alongside experienced professionals to learn new skills and gain hands-on experience in your field  
  • Support ongoing projects and tasks, such as research, data analysis, and report writing  
  • Explore the local area, participate in cultural events, and learn more about the community culture and way of life  

No matter what program you choose, with an international internship, you’ll be guaranteed to gain real-world experience, build an outstanding resume, grow a global network, and hone your cross-cultural communication skills. It’s a win-win-win! 

4 Types of CIEE Internships Abroad 

Worried an internship can’t fit into your schedule? CIEE offers a diverse range of options, including Summer Global Internships, Semester Global Internships, Part-Time Internships, and Virtual Global Internships. Our varied offerings ensure you’ll be able to choose an internship abroad program in an industry, location, and length that works best for you.  

And the easiest way to find the best internship placement is to use our Internship Search Tool! This convenient platform gives you the ability to search our catalog of open placements based on your city, occupation, and term preferences. We have HUNDREDS of placements available right now, and our list grows daily. Now, consider which of the following internship types suits you best!

Our Summer Global Internship program runs for more than eight weeks in 17 global locations throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America.  

Each CIEE summer internship abroad program combines a full-time internship with an integrated academic seminar to provide in-depth professional exploration and specific skills development. You’ll gain practical experience as you learn about local business culture, intercultural communication, professional development, and connections between local and global industry trends.   

summer interns with ciee

We offer Semester Global Internships in several countries. Each program lasts a full semester, with work experience lasting 12 weeks. As part of this program, you’ll complete an academic seminar that will help you make the most out of your internship. Seminar topics may include interviewing and negotiating, organizational culture and change, and career networking and design.  

The schedule for our Semester Global Internship is as follows: 

  • Weeks 1 - 6: You’ll take two academic courses and earn six credits.  
  • Weeks 7 - 18: You’ll work part-time, about 20 to 25 hours per week while taking a six-credit seminar. This is a perfect time to leverage your experience for professional development.  
  • Bonus opportunity: You’ll have the added opportunity to enroll in one or two additional courses, so you can earn up to six credits for no additional cost!  

Our Part-Time Internships are another great internship abroad choice. Through this, you’ll enroll in a traditional study abroad program while completing a part-time internship available in more than 20 countries around the world. Program disciplines range from architecture and design to communications and journalism to economics and sciences.  

Our Virtual Global Internships are designed to be flexible, online, and immersive. Our program, which includes personalized placement in more than 30 cities around the world, will help you build hard and soft skills convenient for your schedule and location.  

With a Virtual Global Internship option, you’ll: 

  • Grow your global network from anywhere in the world 
  • Gain real-life, project-based experience with global companies and startups 
  • Obtain a digital Certificate of Completion to post to your social and professional networks 

We offer for-credit virtual programs for up to six academic credits, as well as non-credit options. These internships are a minimum of 225 hours and can be scaled to meet specific individual or university requirements.  

Better yet, it’s customizable. The program length varies as well; you can select an eight-week program where you’ll work 28 to 30 hours per week or a twelve-week program working 18 to 20 hours per week. This program is designed to work with you, so you’ll have boundless options to choose from. 

virtual internship abroad with ciee

What Industries are International Internships in?  

The better question is, what industries aren’t international internships in?  

But seriously, our internship abroad programs run the gamut of industries from business, arts, and design to engineering, international relations, and more.  


Our business, management, and finance international internship programs take place in more than 20 countries throughout the world.  

In Rome, you can explore startup firms, non-profits, and even multinational companies where you’ll pick up valuable insights into Italian and international work environments. In Australia, you can dive into a hub for trade, finance, tech, and media production. In Singapore, learn about the city-state’s centuries-old international trade practices and thriving economy that embraces everything from finance and pharmaceutical to technology and tourism.  

This is just a snapshot of some of your options.  

Arts and Design  

Our arts and design international internships take place across the globe and offer a wide range of opportunities.  

In Ghana, you can immerse yourself in humanities and science courses while shadowing doctors and nurses during rounds at the West Africa AIDS Foundation and International Health Care Center, teach English or math and mentor children, and assist with research and advocacy governance.   

In Prague, you’ll have a chance to intern at advertising agencies, media outlets, vibrant startups, and more, all while gaining valuable insight into the Czech Republic’s professional and cultural norms and perspectives.  

Arts and design naturally fall into a ton of different industries, so you’ll have plenty of program and industry options.  

interns abroad getting ready for a presentation

Engineering and STEM Fields 

Our engineering and STEM field internships abroad span the globe and offer experiences like no other.  

In Barcelona, you’ll have the opportunity to work alongside professionals in the biomedical sciences, whereas, in Berlin, you get to take advantage of networking and lecture opportunities. 

International Relations  

Our international relations and legal studies internships take place in more than six countries and offer unique insight into how other countries approach their international policies and justice systems. These related internships take place in fantastic locations like Seville, Santiago, and London – just to name a few.  

Make sure to explore all industries of interest to truly find the best program match for you. (And we’ll help you navigate this too!) 

international relations interns with ciee abroad

A Few More Things  

Through our Personal Placement Process, you’ll have access to lots of great resources while preparing for your internship abroad. We’ll be there for you each step of the way to help you better define your academic and career goals, identify the perfect location for your industry of interest, source the perfect host, and so much more. We’ll make sure to draw from our global connections to provide you with pre-placement advice.  

Due to visa constraints and the need for work visas, all international CIEE internships are unpaid. But don’t let that stop you from making this once-in-a-lifetime experience a reality! We offer millions each year in scholarships and grants so that students like you, who want to study and intern abroad, can do so.  

Taking on an internship abroad will offer you advantages that will serve you for a lifetime. By gaining firsthand international work experience, you’ll stand out in the professional world, all while bettering yourself and stepping outside your comfort zone. 

Take the next step today!