Once you receive the offer of an internship you can start to make plans and arrangements. Among other things you will need to find out about the entry requirements into the foreign country, you have to arrange for insurance cover and any vaccinations you may need.
Remember that as an intern you will be “working” in the other country so you cannot enter it as a tourist.
The first thing to check when planning your internship abroad is that you hold a current and valid passport. If you don’t, you should obtain one right away so that if you are offered an internship and you need a visa for the host country, you can apply for it as soon as possible. (Important note: many non-European countries even require a passport to remain valid for several months after your return to Germany!)
Depending on the host country and the length of your stay, you may need a visa, a residence permit and/or a work permit.
The regulations governing these items will be found on the internet site of the representation of the host country which will normally also provide visa forms to download and describe the application procedure. A list of individual embassies and consulates will be found at the Federal Foreign Office [only available in German].
Remember that with some countries visa applications can take quite a while (e.g. several months for the USA), so it makes sense to apply as soon as you receive your internship offer – don’t delay!
Don’t forget to arrange for adequate insurance cover for your stay abroad. (OTH Regensburg can not provide any insurance cover for internships abroad.)
Above all, make sure that you are covered for sickness, third-party liability and accidents abroad. We recommend that you ask your existing German insurer whether and to what extent their policies provide cover in the destination country. Don’t forget to tell them that you are not travelling as a tourist but that you will be working as an intern, and specify the country and length of time you will be spending abroad.
It never does any harm to compare the costs and terms of different insurance providers who frequently offer packages with these three type of cover. This includes group insurance through the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) for German interns abroad who are placed or funded by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) or its partner organisations.
Before you travel abroad we strongly advise that you visit your doctor and dentist for a check-up – you can ask about any necessary vaccinations for your destination country at the same time.
Information about travel and health will be found on the website of the Federal Foreign Office [only available in German].
Apart from these three points there are a number of other things you will need to think about. These are outlined below:
Once you have received an offer of an internship you should ask your host organisation for advice on finding accommodation. They will often be able to assist you in your search. You can also talk to former interns (if you know any), search international accommodation exchanges on the internet (e.g. Craigslist, WG-Gesucht.de) or scan the web pages of regional newspapers for offers. As a general rule, you should always be careful about paying for rent in advance!
If you still haven’t found anywhere to live by your departure date, don’t worry! It’s quite normal to search directly ‘on site’ in many countries. You can spend your first few nights in a hostel and use it as a base from which to go looking for accommodation.
We recommend that you obtain a credit card which you can use to pay for a wide range of goods and services in the host country (including visits to the doctor).
International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) entitles you to many student benefits and discounts worldwide.
Preparing to meet a different culture („The first impression counts!“)
It’s a good idea to research the culture and customs of your destination country so you don’t ‘drop a brick’ right at the start of your stay – or anytime after! "When in Rome, do as the Romans do!"
Talk to former interns about their own experiences, and search the internet for information (e.g. DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)).