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Intern Abroad with WMU
An international internship can be a great way to get hands-on work experience in the increasingly interconnected global environment. The Haenicke Institute for Global Education can work with you and your faculty advisor to award WMU credit for those experiences, helping you work toward your degree at the same time you build up your resume.
Here are some other benefits of interning abroad:
You can improve your language skills
You can work in a new field and potentially gain experience you wouldn’t be able to at home
You can enhance your resume
You can build international relationships with professionals in your field who may be able to help you find a position after you graduate
You can participate in a community that needs help
There are three basic ways to earn academic credit for an internship abroad:
Complete an internship as part of a study abroad program
Work through an internship placement organization
Independently arrange an internship with a company abroad
1. Complete an internship as part of a study abroad program
If you are already planning on or thinking about participating in a more traditional study abroad experience, this is a really good option. You will gain professional experience while you take other academic courses abroad, and it helps you become more involved in the community where you are studying. Generally, your internship work will be assessed by someone in the host country and automatically put on your official foreign transcript, so there is no need to arrange for a WMU faculty member to evaluate your work. You will also be eligible for WMU financial aid.
2. Work through an internship placement organization
Working through an internship placement organization can help you focus your efforts in locating an appropriate internship in your field of study. These program/internship providers can offer a lot of support and guidance as you search for the right location and the right company. They usually have a large inventory of companies willing to have U.S. student interns, so that you do not have to set up everything yourself. They can also often assist with locating housing and getting settled into your host country.
All internship providers are subject to WMU approval, and you will need to work with WMU Study Abroad staff to make sure that you have the required information to receive credit following your experience abroad. Depending on the provider, you may need to work with a WMU faculty member who will evaluate your internship and serve as instructor of record for the credits that you will receive. If you do arrange to receive WMU credit, you will also be eligible for financial aid for the term you will complete your internship. If you choose not to receive credit or work through Haenicke Institute Study Abroad, you will not be able to receive academic credit, international insurance, or financial aid.
3. Independently arrange an internship with a company abroad
This is a great option if you already know of a particular business or organization you would like to work with. There is usually less structure and support that the other two options, but it also allows you to customize your internship to suit your needs (location, company, dates, etc). You also will not need to pay the program fees that you will for an internship combined with a study abroad or an internship arranged through a provider. If you are willing to put in a little bit of time and effort in researching international companies and working with them to set up a good internship experience, this can be a good way to get the experience you are looking for.
As with an internship not in combination with a study abroad, your internship is also subject to WMU approval to make sure that you will be receiving a valuable experience for WMU credit. You will need to work with a WMU faculty member to evaluate your work and assign a grade for your WMU credits. If you arrange to receive WMU credit, you will also be eligible for financial aid. If you choose not to receive credit or work through WMU Study Abroad, you will not be able to receive academic credit, international insurance, or financial aid.
Process for Obtaining Credit for an International Experience
Students who want to receive academic credit for an internship abroad may be able to do so by going through an accredited program or taking a WMU-credited internship class.
Accredited Program: Internships will generally be combined with a traditional study abroad program. The internship information needs to be submitted to Haenicke Institute Study Abroad in conjunction with the other study abroad application materials for review and approval. The internship credits and grade will appear on the student’s official foreign transcript along with the other academic coursework completed abroad.
Taking a WMU Credited Class: This is the most suitable option for students completing an internship arranged independently or through a placement organization (when not combined with a study abroad experience). Students should check with department chairs, faculty advisors or advising staff to determine if their department has a course number that can be used to recognize internship work abroad. Some faculty will agree to supervise a student’s work as independent study. In either situation, the student must provide written approval from the instructor of record and department chair on the appropriate form for Haenicke Institute Study Abroad. The instructor of record will be responsible for determining the method of evaluation, assessing the student’s work, and assigning a final grade for the internship.
Students interning abroad for academic credit must complete this the online internship application. Doing so will allow WMU Study Abroad to provide emergency medical and security insurance and register students for international internship credit. Without a completed application, students cannot receive credit. Please contact WMU Study Abroad at +1-269-387-5890 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to find out more information.