University of Iowa

Internships Abroad

The most common way to participate in an international internship is to choose a study abroad program that offers an internship for academic credit intended to be taken simultaneously alongside other academic courses.  Full time, standalone internships are also available, primarily in the summer. Note that an internship abroad is primarily intended to be a learning experience. The vast majority of internships abroad are unpaid, due to visa restrictions.  You can expect to pay a fee for most internship placements, just as you would for a study program, as time will be dedicated to your appropriate placement, supervision and learning.  As you research options, be sure to compare costs, GPA requirements and the fields of study a program or agency offers. You can schedule an appointment with the advisor for international internships by contacting UI Study Abroad.

Potential Benefits

  • In-depth Cultural Immersion
  • Skills Acquisition
  • Personal Development
  • Exploration of Possible Career Paths
  • Preparation for Future Job Placements
  • Language Development


  • For Credit?
  • Duration?
  • Location?
  • Goals?
  • Eligibility?
  • Language or Other Skills Needed for Placement?
figurine jumps over book

Selecting a Reputable Internship

Students should take the time to evaluate various internship opportunities before enrolling. The Forum on Education Abroad has endorsed Boston University's Internship Policies as a Standard of Good Practice for Education Abroad and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has put forth the 15 Best Practices for Internship Programs, both can provide guidance for students selecting an internship abroad program. 

If you are considering an internship placement halfway around the globe, does the idea of vetting potential internship providers yourself sound daunting? It should. Your health, safety, future professional reputation and learning outcomes all hang in the balance. To help facilitate international internship opportunities for UI students with reputable providers that consistently strive to meet the good practice standards mentioned above, Iowa has affiliated with IES Abroad (, a trusted internship and study abroad partner for over 200 colleges and universities. As a not-for-profit organization with over 60 years of leadership in study abroad, they dedicate their resources to offering students the best possible programs around the world. IES has very high standards for health and safety. Iowa students can earn UI resident credit by taking part in the accredited, individually customized internship opportunities IES can arrange in a variety of fields in Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin, London, Milan, Paris, Rome, Santiago, Shanghai, and Sydney. An internship advisor is available in UI Study Abroad to help you consider options for an appropriate internship abroad. You will find details about these and other international internship opportunities below.

Credit or Not-for-Credit?

If you do not receive credit for your internship abroad, you are not eligible for financial aid or scholarships through UI Study Abroad or the University of Iowa. Because your learning is the key goal for any internship, we encourage you to seek a placement that will provide you with an academic forum to reflect upon the internship experience and earn academic credit to substantiate your learning.  

New York Times article "The World is Their Workplace" by Cecelia Capuzzi Simon

"Stranger in a Strange Land: An Internship Gone Bad" by Alexandra Villarreal 

Internships Abroad: Unpaid, With a $10,000 Price Tag by Steven Greenhouse

A Word about Independent Study

University of Iowa independent study credit cannot be granted for internships. You may wish to explore a project through independent study once you return from an internship abroad, to build upon the learning that took place and explore the interests sparked by your experiences abroad. This is not the same as earning credit for the actual internship. Any independent study you may arrange is separate from the internship abroad and requires payment of UI tuition for the number of credits you’ll earn. You may be able to apply financial aid to an independent study just as you would for any other course you take at UI. Taking an independent study will not make you eligible to use Study Abroad scholarships or financial aid to cover international internship expenses. You must earn credit from the actual internship to receive any funding support from UI to offset internship expenses. For more information about UI policy governing independent study:

A Word about Ethics

When selecting an international internship, it is important that students are aware of the potential perception that they are taking jobs away from the local community. You can safeguard your professional reputation by following good practice standards that limit duties performed to those you are qualified for. For example, pre-med students are not qualified to practice medicine and should not participate in direct patient care. For more information on good practices, please consult to Forum Standards of Good Practice found here: For students participating in health related experiences, you can complete the Global Ambassadors for Patient Safety (GAPS) course free online through the University of Minnesota:

Opportunities at Iowa

Stand- Alone Internships

These programs offer a full time, for credit internship experience. The accompanying coursework helps the participant reflect on business culture, improving communication, strengthening work attitude and aptitude, resolving conflicts and navigating issues, challenges, and opportunities so you can succeed on the job abroad and when you return home. The focus of a stand-alone internship is the internship experience and gaining future job skills. 

IES Internships guarantees full-time summer internship students a placement in their field of choice, as indicated on their internship application submitted to IES.

If IES Internships is unable to offer a student an internship placement in the expressed field of choice selected on his or her internship application at least two weeks before the program start date, despite the student’s good faith participation in the process and satisfaction of all program requirements, then the student shall have the option to receive a refund of the full amount he or she has then paid IES Internships or to transfer to an IES program of comparable length and value in the same location (subject to the student satisfying applicable visa requirements and IES Internships’ academic program requirements).

Note: Internships can be obtained in fields not represented on this list. Please schedule an advising appointment to discuss other opportunities: 319.335.0353. 

IES Sydney, Australia: Specializing in the areas of Accounting, Advertising, Business, Education/Language Instruction, Event Management & Public Relations, Human Resources, IT, Law, Marketing, Media & Communications, Non-profits, Social Services/Organizations, Tourism, and Engineering. Participants must be eligible for the Australian Work/Holiday visa:

IES London, UK: Specializing in the areas of Arts & Museums, Business, Education, IT, Marketing, Media/Communications, Music, Politics, Social Organizations, Theater, Healthcare, and Engineering. 

IES Dublin, Ireland: Specializing in the areas of Art/Art Administration, Business/Marketing/Human Resources, Journalism, Media & Publishing, Museums & Galleries, Politics, Social Outreach, Technology, and Theatre. 

IES Paris, France: Specializing in the areas of Arts Administration, Business, Cooking & Catering, Immigration & Social Inclusion, IT, Language Instruction, Marketing, Media and Communications, Museums & Galleries, Theater, Tourism, and Health. This program requires 4 semester of college level French in order to participate.

IES Rome, Italy: Specializing in the areas of Art, Arts History & Humanities, Business, Marketing & Accounting, Environment & Community Service, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Immigration & Social Inclusion, International Development, International Relations & Political Science, IT, Logistics, Media & Journalism, Social Action, Health, and Engineering. No language requirement to participate. 

IES Milan, Italy: Specializing in the areas of Accounting, Arts (galleries, music production, theater), Business & Finance, Communications, Advertising & Marketing, Design, E-Commerce, Education, Fashion, Logistics, Luxury Companies, Non-profits, Publishing, Health, and Engineering. No language requirement to participate. 

IES Barcelona, Spain: Specializing in the areas of Accounting, Arts & Architecture, Business, Education/Language Instruction, Finance, Health, IT, Journalism, Law, Logistics, Marketing, Media and Communications, Non-Profits, Tourism, and Engineering. No language requirement to participate. 

IES Santiago, Chile: Specializing in the areas of Accounting, Business, Education/Language Instruction, Finance, IT, Logistics, Marketing, Media & Communications, Municipalities, Museums, Non-profits, Tourism, Health, and Engineering. This program suggests that students have 4 semester of college level Spanish to participate, although it is not required. 

IES Shanghai, China: Specializing in the areas of Business, Education, Environmental Consulting, Law, Media & Communications, Not-for-Profit Organizations, Research and Development, Science, Social Organizations. No language requirement to participate.

IES Berlin, Germany: Specializing in the areas of Art/Arts Administration, Business/Marketing, Cultural Institutions, Education, Environmental Organizations, Media & Communication, Museums & Galleries, Politics/Parties/Organizations, and Social Organizations. This program requires 2 semesters of college-level German in order to participate. 

IES Cape Town, South Africa: Specializing in the areas of Accounting, Business/Marketing, Education, Entrepreneurship, Film, Health, Hotels & Hospitality, Non-profit Organizations, NGOs, Social Media, and Travel & Tourism. No language requirement to participate.

IES Hong Kong, China: Specializing in the areas of Accounting, Art & Design, Fashion, Finance, International Trade, Journalism, Marketing, NGOs, and Public Relations. No language requirement to participate.

Embedded Internships

Many study abroad programs offer embedded internships, allowing students to participate in an internship while taking other coursework for academic credit abroad. Most of these internships are run with a course component and carry academic credit. Others may not generate credit, but are available as extracurricular activities to enhance cultural exposure and encourage career exploration. The participant generally works 10-20 hours per week at their internship site, working out a schedule that doesn’t conflict with their academic coursework abroad. The focus of these programs is on the overall study abroad experience, with an internship component to complement coursework and other program activities.

University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC)Credit-Bearing Internships

  • USAC Alicante: Alicante, Spain. Semester opportunities, requires Spanish
  • USAC Bilbao/Getxo: Bilbao, Spain. Semester opportunities, limited English placements available
  • USAC Madrid: Madrid, Spain. Semester opportunities, requires Spanish
  • USAC Reggio Emilia: Reggio Emilia, Italy. Semester & Summer opportunities, no language requirement
  • USAC San Sebastian: San Sebastian, Spain. Semester opportunities, requires Spanish
  • USAC Torino: Torino, Italy. Semester & Summer opportunities, no Italian required
  • USAC Studies in France: Pau, France. Spring opportunities, requires French
  • USAC Studies in the Czech Republic: Prague, Czech Republic. Semester opportunities, no language requirement
  • USAC Viterbo: Viterbo, Italy. Semester & Summer opportunities, no language requirement
  • USAC Heredia: Heredia, Costa Rica. Semester opportunities, requires Spanish
  • USAC Puntarenas: Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Semester opportunities, requires Spanish
  • USAC San Ramon: San Ramon, Costa Rica. Semester opportunities, requires Spanish
  • USAC Studies in Chile: Santiago, Chile. Semester & Summer opportunities, requires Spanish

International Student Exchange Program (ISEP):

Credit-Bearing Internships

CIEECredit-Bearing Internships

University of Minnesota: Credit-Bearing Internships

Academic Year in Freiburg, Germany: Credit-bearing internship opportunities are available in the Spring semester of the Academic Year program. 4 semesters of college-level German is required.

Studio Arts Centers International (SACI) in Florence, Italy: Credit-bearing internship opportunities are available in the Fall and Spring semesters. Internships are available in Italian or English. 

CEA Internships: Credit-Bearing Internships

  • CEA Prague: Prague, Czech Republic. Semester and summer opportunities, available in English.
  • CEA Florence: Florence, Italy. Semester and summer opportunities, available in English.

Additional Resources for Internships

IAESTE15-20 different countries with individualized, paid internships specifically for STEM majors. 

Going Global: Provides global career information and resources *UI campus users can create a free account

HireaHawk: Find internships around the world posted just for Hawkeyes!

IIEPassport: Search engine for internship opportunities worldwide

Khorana Scholars Program: Research opportunity in India for undergraduates and graduates in engineering, life science, public health, computer science, and other STEM fields. Awards may include airfare, housing, and a living stipend.

Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research and Training (MHIRT) Internship: Summer research internship in various countries awarded to undergraduates and graduates/professionals interested in research pertinent to reducing or eliminating health disparities. 

US Department of State Student Internship Program: Internships in embassies worldwide.