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Intern and Service Learning Abroad

Work overseas to achieve your personal and professional goals. An international internship or service learning is an excellent way enhance your resume and obtain skills for today's global marketplace.

Before getting started:

  • Compensation: Internships are not paid. Rather, you pay a program fee for the convenience of being guaranteed a placement.
  • Choosing a location: Students choose their intern destination based on the academic focus that is offered at each site
  • Placement opportunities: Not all sites offer all subjects. Certain locations are better than others for specialization in that field. Placement opportunities and availability depend on your field of study. Students are guaranteed a placement. However, a specific type of placement cannot be guaranteed.
  • Time commitment: Hours worked per week and duration of internship are specific to the location you choose. However, generally an internship will need about 6 weeks to meet the minimum required contact hours.
  • Internships and service learning programs can at times be conducted in conjunction with your studies or as a separate experience.

Placement Process

Each school/company approaches the intern abroad program in varying ways. Here is the standard break down of the intern abroad process:

  1. Student researches a location that offers placements in their desired field.
  2. Student applies to the corresponding school/company which includes a general application, cover letter, resume, official transcript, letters of recommendation, foreign language proficiency, and statement of interest. The statement of interest allows the student to explain what types of job placements they are seeking beyond the field in general. It gives more detail for matching student’s interest to a placement.
  3. The school or company will reach out to local area businesses and solicit an intern placement opportunity on your behalf. This process can take several months.
  4. Student will discuss placement details with the prospective employer or placement specialist to determine the fit for the student.
  5. Once the student accepts, often times, students are requested to have an online interview with the supervisor who would oversee the placement.
  6. If a placement cannot be secured either due to eligibility or specificity of placement request, the cost of the application is usually refundable.


As long as students are participating in their internship through one of Illinois State’s sponsored programs, the pricing model will be nearly identical to a study abroad model. The How to Read a Budget page will explain the standard pricing model.

Instead of being charged host university tuition, students will be charged a program fee. This program fee will include the administrative cost of the placement as well as additional inclusions, depending on company/school selected.


OIE cannot administer credit for internship courses taken in conjunction with your program. Students interested in earning credit for their internship should work with their Academic Advisor/ Internship Coordinator to seek approval either as an internships course (if your program requires this) or as major elective credit. The decision of whether or not to approve credit is dependent on the advisor/department/coordinator.

Foreign Language Experience

You do not need to know a foreign language to complete an international internship. However, you will have more access to placement opportunities if you do have foreign language experience, as some placements are restricted to those who can work in the native language environment.