Virtual Internship Questions

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Do you have virtual internships?

Intern Abroad staff have collaborated with our many partner organizations to offer a number of virtual international internships, found in the International Internship Database. Virtual internships give students the opportunity to work in an international workplace from the comfort of their own home. Virtual internships are not eligible for credit through the Worldwide Internship Program (WIP) course. Contact your academic or career advisor regarding internship courses in your school/college.

Meet with an Intern Abroad advisor to discuss additional virtual international internship options.

Do virtual internships cost any money?

No! There are no fees associated with any of the virtual internships found in the International Internship Database.

Are there any paid virtual internships?

Although most virtual internships are unpaid, there are a small number of paid opportunities. You can find information on compensation for each internship at the bottom of their description page under the cost and funding tab.

Are virtual internships part-time or full-time?

Part-time. The majority of summer part-time international internships are within a 15-20 hour/week range while semester internships tend to range from 5-15 hours/week.

Am I able to earn credit for my virtual internship?

Yes. We encourage students to seek credit to reflect on their virtual internship experience through courses such as Inter-LS 260 or another course through your school/college or department. Speak with your academic advisor to learn about potential options. However, credit is not required for virtual internships.

Will IIP still offer virtual internships now that students are able to travel abroad again?

Yes! While we are happy to be offering in-person opportunities again, we plan to continue to offer and share virtual internship opportunities as well.

I'm an international student. Can I apply for a virtual internship?

Yes, however, international students in the U.S. on an F-1 or J-1 student visa may require employment authorization to participate in a virtual internship while inside the U.S. Meet with an ISS advisor if you have any questions about your F-1 or J-1 student immigration status.

General Questions

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What do you consider an internship?

We follow the NACE definition of “an internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.”

There must be also an internship supervisor and specific learning goals in addition to the description of the work to be carried out.  Internships may be in-person or virtual. If the internship entails 100 hours of work over at least four weeks abroad you can apply to receive credit through the Worldwide Internship Program

I want to do an international internship, but I don’t know where to start. What should I do?

There are several resources on campus that you should start with as you begin your search. Our Pre-Advising Worksheet is a good place to start.

  1. Talk to your Career Services office. They can help you with your resume and provide advising on internships and careers. In addition, they can help get you signed up for Handshake for job and internship postings.
  2. Check out the internships in the International Internship Database.
  3. Network with advisors, faculty, family, and friends – they may have ideas or contacts to connect you with opportunities.
  4.  Make an appointment with an Intern Abroad advisor to discuss internship abroad search strategies.

I have looked in the Intern Abroad Database and don’t see the country or field I am looking for an internship in. Where do I go now?

Check the resources listed in the previous answer. See our list of external search resources you have access to as a UW student. You may also try going to specific company/organization websites to see what opportunities they have available or contact information to develop an independent internship. If you have a specific country in mind the Wisconsin Alumni Association group in that country may be a resource for networking and reaching out as well. Fee-based placement programs are another route to consider. Also, be sure to check our database regularly for new opportunities.

We are happy to advise on these other options, and support with credit and/or scholarships if relevant, but you’ll need to take the lead on your search!

I am already accepted in a study abroad program and want to do an internship while I am abroad. How should I do this?

Whether you can do an internship depends on your program. Some Study Abroad programs allow you to add on an internship (or even have a built-in internship option – search for Internship as an Area of Focus or Academic Credit), others do not allow this. Talk with your study abroad advisor or program for more information.

If your program allows an internship, you may be able to work with the program directly to secure an internship after you arrive – talk to the international office staff or career services locally. If you would like to receive credit through the Worldwide Internship Program course and you are on an IAP study abroad program you can request that by the beginning of the term.

Can I still do a UW Signature internship if I am a senior and the internship will take place after my planned graduation?

Usually, no. However, sometimes students can do a UW Signature Internship (previously called “IIP Cultivated”) as their final undergraduate experience and graduate abroad, with departmental approval. The 3 credits from the WIP course will count as in-residence credit for graduation. Some opportunities may require that you be a continuing student (returning to campus) in which case you would not be eligible. Many fee-based placement programs do accept recent graduates.

I’m already abroad. Can I still get advising and apply for internships?

Absolutely. We are happy to advise via e-mail, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom and you can apply for opportunities while abroad. Monitor the International Internship Database and our Instagram to keep up on opportunities and deadlines. Be sure to research visa and entry requirements before applying and consider how being abroad may impact your ability to obtain a visa, if needed.  You should specify in your cover letter that you are abroad so that organizations can keep in mind the time difference for virtual interviews.

Many of the internships I see abroad are unpaid – why is this?

When possible, the Intern Abroad team works to develop internships with some compensation, unfortunately this is not always possible based on the type of organization, location, and visa requirements. Corporations may be able to offer interns a stipend, housing, meals, etc. to help with costs, but this is not possible for most non-profits. Some countries also have laws about the level of compensation that can or must be offered to foreign interns. These unpaid opportunities, however, still offer you valuable professional experience to develop your skills, network and expand your knowledge in a global environment. By incorporating the internship into your education with the 3-credit WIP course, you can also be eligible for scholarships and financial aid to help fund this.

Can Financial Aid apply to my internship?

This depends on your financial aid eligibility, types of grants, duration of the internship, and number of credits received. It is best to talk to the Office of Student Financial Aid to review your options and confirm eligibility based on your specific situation. If you are in the Worldwide Internship Program (WIP) course we will report your costs including tuition, insurance, airfare, and your anticipated in-country living expenses for financial aid consideration. For more information and resources please see the Financial Aid page from IAP study abroad.

What scholarships are available for internships abroad?

That depends greatly on your internship, major and level of financial need. Many internships, study abroad, campus, department and national scholarships are listed on our funding page. Note many scholarships require enrollment in credit during your internship. You should also check with your department to see if there are travel grants or scholarships for international opportunities. Visit WiSH for more university resources as well.

Are interviews required to get an internship abroad?

In many cases, yes. Often a representative from the organization will interview candidates they are interested in. Interviews are generally via WhatsApp, Zoom, or another video chat platform; occasionally via phone or in-person. We try to specify interview information in the internship posting, and you will be notified if one is requested. In some cases, offers are made without interviews.

When you apply to a UW Signature Internship (previously known as “IIP Cultivated”) an Intern Abroad advisor will typically meet with you during the application process to provide information about the opportunity and answer your questions. Meeting with an Intern Abroad advisor is not an interview as the host organization makes all final intern selection decisions, not the advisor.

I applied for one of the UW Signature Internship opportunities, but haven’t heard back yet. When do we find out?

We try to notify all applicants as soon as possible with updates from host organizations. If it is several weeks after the application deadline and you are waiting please feel free to contact us for an update. Please note that some opportunities take longer than others to make final decisions.

I’m an international student. Am I eligible for opportunities?

Of course! Many host organizations are actively seeking international students who offer local knowledge and language skills along with their UW-Madison education. Exploring an internship in a third country is also a great option to continue expanding your international experience. Depending on your citizenship and the host country there may be different visa considerations for your internship. Additionally, your status as an international student may impact eligibility for certain campus scholarships and the reimbursement process for campus grants. If you are looking at U.S.-based internships, be sure to keep in mind CPT or other considerations for doing an internship in the U.S. (CPT does not apply to internships outside the US).

My major/certificate requires an internship or field experience. Can I do this through the Worldwide Internship Program (WIP)?

In many cases, yes! Talk to your academic advisor to find out exact requirements BEFORE applying to internships and going abroad. All majors and certificates vary in the requirements for the number of hours and nature of the internship or field experience. WIP requires four weeks and 100 hours minimum, but you may need more to meet your requirement. The 3-credit online seminar for WIP is currently recorded as IS-523 on your transcript. You can request another course equivalency through your department or your advisor can make a DARS exception, so it is essential to gain your academic advisor’s pre-approval. Figuring out the requirements before you go abroad is important to making sure this will be an option.

I’m a graduate student. Can I apply for internships or take the course?

Usually no, as our team works with UW-Madison undergraduate students. However, we occasionally have opportunities that are open for graduate students, which you can search for in the database. You can also use our External Search Page to find your own internship. The WIP course is intended for undergraduate students; with the permission of your department/advisor you may be able to take the course if it is relevant. Feel free to contact us with questions.

I don’t meet every requirement for an opportunity in the International Internship Database? Can I still apply?

This will depend on the requirement and opportunity. In general, you should consider how well you meet overall requirements rather than each specific item. The competitiveness of internships varies greatly so you may still be a good candidate even if you don’t fulfill everything listed. Note that some qualifications may be “preferred” rather than “required” in which case they are not necessary. Use your cover letter and resume to state why you’re a good candidate and which areas you are working to develop. Keep in mind that you may better meet the requirements in the months between the application deadline and internship start date (e.g. your academic standing may change or you may complete a relevant course). Intern Abroad advisors can answer can questions about eligibility and advise on how to make a strong application.

What is the difference between Intern Abroad, the International Internship Program (IIP) and the Worldwide Internship Program (WIP)?

The International Internship Program (IIP) was the name of our office until June 2023. As of July 2023, we are the Intern Abroad Team, part of campus’ central study abroad office International Academic Programs (IAP), where we continue to promote and develop internships, and advise undergraduate students on their global internship searches. The Worldwide Internship Program (WIP) is an online academic course that complements your internship abroad. We advise on internships for credit through WIP and those done not-for-credit. UW Signature Internships, previously called “IIP cultivated internships”, require participation in the WIP course, but students can also propose external or independent internships for WIP.