UW-Madison recognizes that Parents & Family members are a very important partner in your student’s success. The International Internship Program (IIP) strives to reach students from all areas of campus to support them in doing an international internship as part of their undergraduate career.
We hope that you will use the resources on this website to learn more and also use the extensive Parent & Family resources provided by our sister office, International Academic Programs (IAP), who we work with for students doing internships abroad for credit.
Value of an Internship Abroad
In an increasingly competitive job market, an internship abroad can help a student set themselves apart as a candidate with important skills employers seek such as verbal and written communication, adaptability, teamwork, and problem solving. We provide support from advising on the search process to pre-departure orientation, Skype check-ins, and re-entry programming as they translate the experience to their job search.
There is a lot of flexibility in the details. Internships may be paid or unpaid, depending on the country or organization. Students may receive credit or not (more on this below)! Internships can fit in with students in any discipline and help them gain valuable skills, explore a potential career, and also build essential cultural competence skills for the global workplace.
We offer the Worldwide Internship Program, an online seminar for students interning abroad, which provides academic context to the internship experience as well as a peer and instructor support network throughout. We encourage any students interning abroad to pursue this option as research and our experience have shown that regular reflection on the internship and cross-cultural experiences better prepares students to understand and articulate the value of their internship abroad. Being enrolled for credit can also help with logistical issues related to visas and make students eligible for financial aid or scholarships to help fund the experience.
A huge benefit and challenge of internships abroad is that they are often very independent. While there are also more structured program options that offer group programming, internships tend to be a more individual experience. Safety and security are priorities so we have students enroll in international health insurance, instruct them to register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), offer orientation, and do a Skype check-in while they are abroad. A level of comfort with independence is required, though. As a parent or family member, it is important to make a plan of how often you will check-in with your student while abroad so you both have clear expectations during this independent experience.
We look forward to working with your student on an amazing internship experience!