Exploring Internships Abroad
Pathways to an Internship Abroad
There are multiple pathways to an international internship, as well as many models for internship experiences. They all offer different benefits and challenges, so it is important to explore them in light of your unique needs and conditions.
- UVA Global Internship programs (in-person + virtual)
UVA Education Abroad/Global Internships works with partners across Grounds and the world to offer academic internship programs for direct UVA credit in globally important locations and virtually. Each program has its own curriculum and features different internship placements, so be sure to explore all of the programs below to understand the full range of possibilities.
*PLEASE NOTE*: The portfolio of available programs for SUMMER 2023 is listed below. Program applications will open post-Thanksgiving 2022. Please check with the Education Abroad advisor or program director listed for each program for more guidance.
SUMMER 2023 PROGRAMS
In-person and virtual:
WHO: Each program has its own eligibility requirements, so check individual program brochures for more information.
FOR FULL DETAILS and TO APPLY: Visit each individual program brochure page to access the program application and submit necessary requirements.
APPLICATION DEADLINES: Each program will have a different deadline in early Spring 2023 (February 15th or March 1st).
FUNDING: Students participating in the UVA Global Internship programs listed above are eligible to apply for a UVA Global Internship Scholarship. Applicants to these internship programs will be asked in their program applications if they would like to be considered for this award. Applicants are also encouraged to complete the Education Abroad common scholarship application to be considered for other sources of ISO-administered scholarships. See the "Funding an International Internship" section below for more details and other sources of support.
- Outside academic internship programs
If you are interested in earning credit for an internship overseas and want to look beyond UVA's offerings, there are many academic programs run by outside education abroad providers. These are available as semester and summer term programs.
HOW TO SEARCH: The International Studies Office's Education Abroad division maintains a list of programs it has pre-reviewed to be suitable, safe, and legitimate. To search for these programs, first go to the "Search Programs" page on the Education Abroad website. Under parameters, find "program type," scroll down to highlight "internship," and then click the search button at the bottom of the page. You will then see a list of all programs with internships as a program component. UVA's programs will be bolded and at the top of the list.
Explore whichever programs interest you and follow the instructions given for how to apply (this will involve a dual application process in which you submit applications both to the program organization and the ISO). You may direct questions about the program and applications to the Education Abroad advisor listed on each program brochure page.
- IMPORTANT: Transfer credit is approved on an individual student-by-student basis and must be approved prior to your participation in the program. See Education Abroad's Academic Considerations page for more details.
- Unreviewed programs: If you come across an academic internship program elsewhere in your search that meets your needs but is not already on the ISO's pre-approved list, you must submit a petition to participate to Education Abroad. Review of petitions is two-fold. First, the student is reviewed for eligibility to participate in education abroad activities. Second, the program criteria (academics, housing, on-site support, etc.) are reviewed for one-off approval. Search for "petition" in the Program Search to locate the appropriate application for your destination. You will also need to apply through the outside provider organization for acceptance to the program.
- Other internship programs
Brooke Albertson and Ky Nguyen- Siem Reap, Cambodia (Summer 2018)
Students can participate in other fee-based internship/volunteer placement programs outside of their role as UVA students. These programs will place you in an internship in your chosen field and location. There are hundreds of such programs and they vary greatly in terms of types of placements, support offered, locations, fees, supplementary learning, and so on. The organizations running these programs will require you to pay a program fee to participate.
UVA Global Internships does not partner with any non-UVA internship/volunteer placement organizations and does not advise students about them.
WHO: You may consider this path if you are keen on…
- A placement in an internship in a particular field of your choice and/or in a particular location (and UVA doesn't offer options that fulfill your goals)
- Guidance on matters related to living and transportation abroad
- Not having an academic component to your internship abroad
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
- Program fees (in addition to those related to living and transportation)
- Varying quality of internships and/or program offerings
- Varying quality of health, safety, security, and other on-the-ground support
FUNDING: See the funding section below and consult the Career Center’s Funding your Internship page for more details.
- On your own
Many students secure their own internships abroad and we applaud their initiative. Here is some advice for those who are thinking about setting down this path.
THINGS TO CONSIDER: You will be responsible for the following and more:
- Steering the course of your internship search
- Costs: travel, living, visas, etc.
- Accommodation and work arrangements
- Acquiring a visa (if necessary) and necessary paperwork
- Preparing yourself for a wholly independent experience abroad
SEARCHING: The UVA Career Center is available to assist UVA students in their job and internship searches. They have put together a wonderful page on Global Career Searches. It includes links to great databases to which you have access through Handshake: GoingGlobal and Career Insider by VAULT.
Additionally, UVA students have secured their own international internships by:
- Conducting online and/or Handshake searches
- Inquiring with professors and departments to identify opportunities
- Networking through friends and family
- Connecting with internationally-based UVA alumni through UVA's international Clubs
- Searching LinkedIn
- Engaging in mentoring programs
- Inquiring about opportunities abroad with local organizations that also have international offices
FUNDING: See the funding section below and consult the Career Center’s Funding your Internship page for more details.
*IMPORTANT* If you receive financial or hands-on practical support from UVA representatives in arranging for your internship abroad on your own, you are subject to the University Policy on Student International Travel.
Funding an International Internship
An internship abroad is likely to be a valuable experience, both personally and professionally, but it will require investments of time, energy, and financial resources. While some internships abroad may come with salaries, stipends, or (in the case of UVA programs) academic credit, many opportunities may be unpaid.
Each path to a global internship will have different associated costs. You are encouraged to think about how much you can personally afford to invest in an experience abroad as well as sources of funding both within UVA and beyond. We suggest you think of funding your global internship as a matter of “co-investment:” others may be able to offer support but you should expect that you may need to contribute as well.
- UVA Global Internship Scholarship
Kenza Lo- Ghent, Belgium (Summer 2019)
These grants were generously established by the Vice-Provost of Global Affairs to support the experiences of financially needy undergraduate students at the University of Virginia who are participating in one of UVA's global internship programs.
Students may apply for support to cover the costs of participation associated with their internships abroad, including program fees, travel to and from the international internship location, tuition, and/or living expenses.
Grantees may be awarded up to $3,000. The review committee operates with the dual commitments of offering support to the most financially needy applicants and to the greatest number of needy students. Thus, the majority of grants bestowed are partial.
ELIGIBILITY: You must be a student who is participating in a UVA-administered Global Internship program (in-person or virtual) or a UVA Independent International Internship to be considered for this award.
TO APPLY: When completing your application for a UVA Global Internship program, please complete the scholarship questionnaire to indicate your interest in being considered for this award.
- More funding opportunities and resources
- The Charles H. Koch Jr. Scholarship provides financial support up to $5,000 to help cover the expenses of internships related to foreign affairs to students in the College of Arts & Sciences. The judges of the competition will give priority to funding internships requiring travel abroad. In order to maximize the assistance provided by the fellowship, they may decide to divide the funds among more than one student.
- The Larry Simpson Internship Scholarship was designed to encourage rising 4th year students in the College of Arts & Sciences to participate in summer internships. It is administered in a collaborative arrangement between the UVA Alumni Association, University Career Services, and UVA Financial Services.
- The Parents Fund Internship Grants are $3,000 grants offered each spring to 16 students who have secured unpaid public service internships.
- The Z Society Gilbert J. Sullivan Award offers a $2,000 scholarship awarded to a returning undergraduate student of the University. It is intended to provide an opportunity to take a summer internship otherwise unattainable because of financial constraints.
- The Institute for Practical Ethics offers scholarships of $2,000 to students who secure internships which relate to the integration of ethical theory and practice.
- The Sydney Elizabeth Owens scholarship, administered by the Alumni Association, will support a current first-, second- or third-year student who has designed with faculty approval or input, a transformative experience to take place over the course of a semester or summer. The amount of the award for 2018 was $6,000.
- The Hannah Graham Memorial Award is offered to support a year-long educational engagement related to a topic or issue relevant to promoting health and development and/or to reducing the incidence and/or severity of violence against women and girls. The engagement will include coursework or independent study during the semester preceding the field placement to prepare for research or service work in the chosen community.
- The Dee Family Global Scholarship was created to support UVA student participation in innovative student learning through study or research abroad that demonstrates well-constructed plans, partnership with the local community, and the potential for continued inquiry.
- The goal of the IRC Study Abroad, Travel, & Learn Award Program is to strengthen the international character and interactions of IRC student members while ensuring a strong focus on academics. The award specifically provides $500-1000 travel expenses for qualified study abroad expenses during the January Term, Spring Break or Summer Session.
- The Royster-Lawton Fellowship in Social Enterprise provides $3,000 in funding to support summer internships in social enterprise. Staff can match you with a social venture according to your interests, or you can choose your own. Fellows also benefit from career coaching, resume and cover letter development.
- Small Research and Travel Grants from the College of Arts & Sciences are for students conducting research, engaging in artistic activities, or presenting their own research at professional conferences.
- The Center for Global Health’s University Scholar Awards support and cultivate the design and implementation of interdisciplinary research projects mentored by faculty and conducted at Center for Global Health International Partner sites or in other settings.The CGH-University Awards are open to undergraduate, graduate and professional students in all departments across grounds at the University.
- The Equity and Environment Fund, supported by the Civic Engagement Subcommittee, is available for students/student groups for community-based initiatives or projects that sit at the intersection of equity, justice, and sustainability. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.
- The Marshall Jevons Fund was established to make awards of up to $1,000 to undergraduate students at the University of Virginia to support research projects and academic travel in the field of economics. Current undergraduate students in any year of study who are enrolled in an economics course or who are engaged in research related to economics in a program outside the Department of Economics may apply.
- The Raven Society established the Raven Fellowships to encourage undergraduate and graduate student pursuit of scholarly, intellectual, and creative projects. The Raven Society endeavors to bring together outstanding students, faculty, administrators, and alumni of the various schools of the University so that they may derive the benefits of mutual acquaintance in pursuit of diligent scholarship and intellectual activity beyond the limits of systematic work in the classroom.
Visit the sites of our knowledgeable colleagues around UVA to educate yourself about other funding opportunities related to research, internships, fellowships, and education abroad. These offices can point you to both internal and external competitions.
- UVA International Studies Office- Scholarships
- UVA Office of Citizen Scholar Development's Undergraduate Research unit
- UVA Career Center
The following are a few external websites to continue your search. This list is just a starting point and UVA Global Internships does not endorse any of the following sites.
- Diversity Abroad– provides a scholarship directory, searchable by field and location. The website also provides information about loans for studying an interning abroad. This is a good site to peruse if you are looking for scholarships given by particular education abroad provider organizations (e.g. IES, API, etc.).
- GoAbroad.com offers an internship scholarship search with results for national scholarships/fellowships and program-specific scholarships.
- GoOverseas.com offers its own scholarships for work, volunteer, and study abroad.
The Unique Benefits of a Global Internship
- Why do a global internship?
An international internship will provide you with employer-desired experiences and skills, and it may prove a valuable means to the end of enhancing your employability.
We have all heard facts and figures about the impact of certain experiences during college upon a new graduate’s employability. While the ultimate outcomes of paid and unpaid internships are proving a complex matter of study, employer desires are fairly clear. Increasingly, they appreciate two types of experiences when evaluating candidates: previous work and cross-cultural. 95% of employers surveyed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) say candidate experience is a factor when making hiring decisions. A majority of employers want candidates with “intercultural knowledge” and “knowledge of the U.S.’s role in the world and cultural diversity (within and outside the U.S.)” [American Association of Colleges and Universities, 2010].
Often, alumni report back to us that their global internship experiences featured prominently in successful interviews with employers. Whether your internship is directly related to your present course of study or an exploration into another professional future, you will develop transferrable skills that are valuable in the job marketplace.
- Makayla Palazzo (French & Economics, ’17)— My experience at a think tank in Rabat, Morocco was a formative professional opportunity that taught me how to work and succeed in a cross-cultural context. Between office norms, communicating in a different language, and the research I completed during the internship, I can say I am much better primed to pursue a job in a foreign country than I was before last summer.
- Genevieve Agar (Economics, ’17) The opportunity to purse an internship abroad was both incredible and necessary: so much of what we learn in our classes at UVA is theoretical—by venturing out into the real-world, we finally get to see the theories in practice. Without my internship abroad, I wouldn’t have connected certain ideas from class to the real-world, and also have this experience shape my career path after UVA and forge greater connections both at the University and abroad… Without the GIO, I would never have gone and this summer internship has shaped my views on Economic Development and Aid work in a way that no class ever could.
In an international work environment, you will have the chance to explore your place in a network of relationships that extend far beyond Grounds.
The skills you will practice in communicating across difference, negotiating uncertainty, and cultivating curiosity in new social settings will serve you throughout your life. Many interns report that they made friends and contacts during their internship who have continued to enrich their lives, personally and professionally, long after their experiences abroad.
- Katy Miller (Global Studies- Environments and Sustainability, ’17)— The opportunity to have such an immersive and extended internship experience was invaluable to my personal and academic goals. I met amazing people, was inspired by incredible supervisors, and have formed lasting relationships. I would never have been able to complete these internships without the connections of Global Internships and the financial assistance provided. It gives the opportunity for students who may not have otherwise to have abroad experience to work abroad, especially in their field of interest.
Working in a different cultural context will give you lived experience with the reality that different worldviews, practices, beliefs, values, and imaginaries exist across the globe.
Culture is robust. It roots the lives of all humans and is enacted in the everyday. Unless you seize the chance to learn how to function another cultural context, you may not appreciate the fact that you do indeed have a cultural worldview that you carry around; while that worldview is continually reinforced in your native surroundings, it is not universal.
In a work setting, in one form or another, you will be asked to accomplish something; how you manage to do this (or not do this) across human difference will yield insights into how culture inflects and continually creates diverse worlds. We hope this will encourage you to display acceptance and appreciation of alternative ways of being.
- Heather Thompson (Economics, ’17)— The Global Internship program here at UVA gave me an amazing opportunity explore places I didn’t think of as options for me before. I was able to immerse myself in another culture. My experience in India last summer definitely changed my course of study here at UVA, as well as my future plans; I’ll be going back to India this summer.
An international internship will give you the chance to develop perspective on your current academic/professional track with reference to the rest of the world.
In working alongside colleagues with diverse professional and personal lives, you will be better able to appreciate the many alternative paths to meaningful work that the world has to offer. You might be asked to learn about a topic or field that you had no prior knowledge of and it may open up a whole new future of learning and work. You might discover that your prospective career looks and means something very different in a non-U.S. context. We hope you will take the chance to reflect upon how your colleagues are, like your professors, helping to educate you and that they have invaluable knowledge to share.
- Anna Davis (Speech Pathology M.A., ’18): Being able to actually work in another country and meet the professors and students in this is field invaluable. It was an honor to be selected to perform this internship in its first year of completion. I would recommend the trip to any graduate student in the speech pathology program and I hope this internship opportunity is available to other students in the future to help us develop as professionals who can learn about our profession on a global stage.
- McKenzie Cromer (Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, ’18): The GIO has given me the confidence and connections required to fulfill my dream of working abroad. The personalized attention I received helped me to ensure I had a great experience during my time in India that I might not have in a study abroad program. My internship last summer has helped me make better decisions about my academic path and my career options abroad, and for that I am incredibly grateful.
- Aija Crawford (Speech Pathology, ’17): I appreciated the workplace environment and mission of my research/social services organization because it afforded me the opportunity to learn about ongoing field research for children and adults with different emotional, behavioral, intellectual, and physical disabilities… As a future speech-language pathologist, I will be working with individuals who have different emotional, behavioral, intellectual, and physical disabilities and my internship helped me understand how policies and laws affect these individuals, so then I will be able to help improve their overall quality of life.
A global internship is an unbeatable opportunity to get to know yourself better.
In addition to developing skills that can be transferred directly to the workplace, you will most certainly be granted the opportunity to learn about yourself as a fledgling adult during your internship abroad. Your internship experience is likely to be highly individuated and challenging, and this means you will need to draw upon your inner reserves to continue to cultivate your own independence, resilience, and curiosity.
- Brady Straus (Global Development Studies, ’17)— When looking back at my time at UVA, I’ll cherish all the wonderful moments on Grounds, but my time I spent abroad in Pune, India facilitated through the GIO will always be a special and especially fond memory… My global internship allowed me flexibility and independence to fully experience living in a foreign, often intimidating, setting. Through this opportunity, not only did I gather real-world experience working for a non-profit, but I also garnered self-confidence and comfort in complex circumstances that will serve me well next year for life after UVA. I hope fellow university students recognize the amazing opportunities available to them through resources such as the Global Internships Office.
Emily Broghan Kelly- Pietermaritzburg, South Africa (Summer 2017)