International internships developed exclusively for UW-Madison students.
Your main focus abroad will be your internship and you will take a 3-credit virtual class to complement your cross-cultural work experience. Some internships may offer compensation.
Search for your own internship abroad. These experiences must be approved by an Intern Abroad Advisor.
If approved, you enroll in a 3-credit virtual course to complement your cross-cultural work experience, and receive insurance and support through UW-Madison.
Frequently Asked 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. 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 don't meet every requirement for an internship. Can I still apply?
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 questions about eligibility and advise on how to make a strong application.
I'm an international student. Can I apply for internships?
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).
Will my internship be paid?
Compensation for international internships vary depending on a number of factors, including: type of organization, location, and visa requirements.
Some organizations may be able to offer a stipend, housing, meals, or other non-monetary compensation to support interns. Countries may also have laws about the level of compensation that can or cannot be offered to foreign interns.
Regardless of the compensation offered by the internship, if you intern abroad through our office you are eligible to apply for scholarships and financial aid to help fund your experience.
What scholarships are available for international internships?
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. For more information and resources please see our Financial Aid webpage.
Can I fulfill my major/certificate internship or field experience requirement with an international internship?
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.
The Worldwide Internship Program (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 recorded on your transcript as IS-523. You can request another course equivalency through your department or your advisor can make a DARS exception, so it is essential to gain pre-approval from your academic advisor.
Additional fieldwork and research experiences that may fulfill degree requirements can be found through the the study abroad program search. The academics for these opportunities are listed on their respective program pages.
I applied for one of the UW Signature Internship opportunities, but haven't heard back yet. When do I 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 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 a study abroad program you can request that by the beginning of the term.
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. 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.
Can I complete an internship that will take place after graduation?
Usually, no. However, sometimes students can do a UW Signature Internship as their final undergraduate experience and graduate abroad, with departmental approval. The 3 credits from the Worldwide Internship Program 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.