Find an Internship
Define your goals
Before you begin your search, you should think carefully about what you want to accomplish through your internship. Although it’s important not to limit your options too much, being clear about your goals will help to narrow the search.
As your first step, list your goals in order of priority. Keep them in mind as you start to explore opportunities. Not only will this help you to find the right opportunity, having clearly defined objectives will also impress potential employers during the application process.
Questions to consider
- Are there specific skills you want to work on, or professional knowledge you want to acquire?
- Are there specific companies that you would like to intern with?
- What kind of organization do you want to intern with? Nonprofit or for-profit, big corporation or small company, small office or large office? Is the type of organization more important or less important than the training you will receive?
- How long will you be able to stay?
- Are you looking to do an internship in a particular city or location?
Before You Start Applying
Narrow your internship search
What do you want to do? Does your passion point to a nonprofit organization, big business, or dynamic start-up company? An internship related to your area of study is a great opportunity to explore your planned career path. Choose something that interests you professionally and aligns with your long-term goals.
List places you would like to live and intern
Remember, CIEE Internship USA is about much more than the professional experience. Your time in the United States is a rare chance to visit places you’ve always wanted to see. Where would you like to live during your time in the United States? The high-energy atmosphere of New York City? The more laid-back coast of California? The Midwest heartland of America? Be sure to consider the location as well as the position.
Make a list of companies to get in touch with
After you’ve given it some thought, make a list of companies to contact. This will be your “A” list.
Finding Internship Opportunities
Finding an internship opportunity isn’t all that different from finding a job, whether it will be a paid or unpaid position. You should conduct your search accordingly.
If you’ve already made contacts in your chosen career field, you might know of a company that already partners with a U.S. firm to offer internship opportunities, or you may have heard about American businesses offering training in your discipline. You might be surprised at how many ways there are to find a U.S.-based internship position:
Ask friends, family and mentors
Many successful careers have been launched with a simple conversation. Someone you know may know of an opening or may have connections with companies in the U.S. who would be happy to help. This kind of personal networking is an important professional skill that’s well worth developing because it can lead to more opportunities in the future.
Use university and community resources
Your university or community may have a career center that lists internship programs in the United States and provides career counseling. Your professors also may have connections with potential host organizations.
Tap the resources of business or trade organizations
Just about every profession has one or more organizations serving the professional or educational needs of that particular group. These organizations often offer job-finding resources, which may also include international internship opportunities.
Go directly to companies that interest you
A visit to the websites of companies that interest you might uncover opportunities that are not listed elsewhere. If no openings are listed, don’t be discouraged. Find out the names of the human resources manager and/or the hiring manager, and contact them to ask about whether opportunities exist. You can also learn more about the organization by following it on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Work with your CIEE international representative
While CIEE international representatives can’t actually arrange an internship for you, they can offer resources and knowledge not available anywhere else. It’s also a good idea to ask your CIEE international representative to review any opportunity you find, as some positions might not be eligible for the program. Feel free to email your CIEE international representative with questions.
Job Search Sites Online
Make use of online job sites. Specifically look for internship opportunities to narrow your search. Here are a few good places to start:
Search onlineClick to Open
Visit CIEE's Available Internships Blog
Host organizations share available internship opportunities with us from time to time. We immediately post these opportunities online at available-internships.ciee.org and on Facebook.
We also provide information on your cover letter, resume and the interview process.