A fee-based internship placement program helps to match you to an internship opportunity in your field in the location of your choice. They charge a fee for the services they provide you in this process. There are many programs out there so it can be overwhelming to review and select one. This page will give you some things to keep in mind and ask when comparing programs and making a selection that works best for you. You can view this information here or download as a PDF.
Things to Keep in Mind About Fee-based Programs
- Location > Internship: Unlike applying directly to an internship position, you are applying to a program in a specific location and then being matched with your internship. If you are set on being in a specific country this can be ideal, but you do need to be ready to wait on the internship placement and be comfortable with some ambiguity until it is finalized.
- Placement timelines: Depending on the program and your field of interest you may get a placement fairly early, or you may not get final details until right before (or right after) you arrive.
- Compensation: Most internship placements with providers will be unpaid. There are some cases when lunch or a commuting stipend may be provided, but you should not expect payment as it is the exception.
- Extras: Some programs may include (or have optional add-ons) of local excursions, networking events, language classes, or other academic options. This is an important comparison point, depending on your interest in these extras.
- Scholarships: Some programs have scholarships available for students with financial need. It is good to apply early and ask about any opportunities.
- Academics: There may be language or other course options included, or they may be not-for-credit. If you need or want UW-Madison credit the Worldwide Internship Program is an option.
Internship Placement Options with UW-Madison
- Study Abroad + Internship: International Academic Programs (IAP) offers study abroad programs with an optional internship. You can earn a full semester or year’s worth of credits at an institution abroad while also engaging in a part-time internship experience. The internship is arranged by local program staff. There may or may not be additional cost for this, depending on the program.
- Internship Intensive Programs: IAP also has vetted and partners with several placement programs that help you find an internship that you do while engaging in academic work with a local course or the 3-credit online course that we offer with the Worldwide Internship Program. IAP has already vetted these programs for quality and reviews them regularly.You can find links to many of these programs in the IIP database.
- To find IAP programs with internships click “Internships” under Experience Type on the program search page. Both of the above types will be included. A Study Abroad + Internship program will usually have a title including the university name. An Internship Intensive program will often have the word internship in the title.
Non-UW Placement Provider Programs
There are many, many programs to help place you in an internship. Even though they have not yet been vetted by IIP or IAP that does not mean that there are not many legitimate ones out there. However, you need to practice due diligence and research and compare to make sure that the fee you pay is worth the services they are providing you. These questions will help you get started.
- What meaningful projects will I be asked to complete? Do you have examples of past internships in my field?
- What is the matching process? Will I be applying to specific positions or matched? Will there be an interview with the host?
- Will I be the only intern at my site or are there usually multiple students at each site? If so, how many?
- What language level, if any, is required? How does level affect my placement options?
- What are my options for duration?
- Will the internship be full-time or part-time? If part-time, what other things will I do while there?
- How many students are usually in this country/city at the time I want to go?
- Is there a guarantee of placement? When should I expect to hear about my placement?
- Is there an application fee?
- What is the total program cost for what I am seeking? What is included in that?
- What are my additional expected expenses beyond that cost (e.g. airfare, meals, local travel, etc.)?
- When is a deposit due? Is this refundable? When is the total balance due? What is the cancellation policy?
- Can I use financial aid? What scholarships do you have available?
- Ask yourself: how does the total cost of participating on this program compare to the time and cost of finding and coordinating an internship abroad independently (which may also be unpaid)?
- What are the housing options? How do the options affect cost? Will I be living alone, with a family, or with other students? Are the students local or other students from abroad?
- What visa is required? Will you assist with the visa process or will I do this on my own? (If you are not a U.S. citizen ask how your visa requirements may differ)
- Do you offer academic options like language classes, internship reflection, or culture classes?
- What other things are available such as local excursions, networking events, etc.?
- Is there 24/7 in-country support if there are problems at or outside my internship?
- Can I speak to a past participant about their experience? Are there UW-Madison students who have participated in this program before?
Where to Search
A search tool that offers listings for Intern Abroad programs (fee-based). Listings are not evaluated so this is an initial tool to identify programs that you then need to review critically.
Another search tool for fee-based intern abroad programs similar to the above. This website includes participant reviews, but they tend to be very positive so you also need to review each program for yourself.
International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA)
Listing of volunteer abroad programs with membership with IVPA, which requires adherence to professional standards of conduct for volunteer programs.