Where to start?
Below you will find some general advice to help you focus and structure your internship research and application process. Remember to check specific internship guidelines and procedures prevailing at your study as well:
- Start Early: The internship search process can begin up to one year in advance. Note that many established internship programmes, especially those at large international organizations, require a lengthy period of review to allow for security clearances and other bureaucratic technicalities.
- Do your search: This is the most crucial part of the internship application process. There are thousands of relevant internships out there, but it will take some time for you to find which ones are most appropriate for you and your study and possibly also your subsequent thesis. A good starting point is the Internship Opportunities and the Internship Programme.
- Develop Contacts: It is important for you to make networking a priority while you are at the university. It is likely that the current exposure you have to a wide variety of fellow students, scholars and professionals is greater now than at later stages of your career. In addition to providing overall information on career options and job opportunities, your contacts may also serve as a source for specific advice and support throughout your internship or job search. Many will have been in the position you are in right now, and will be happy to share fond memories and useful tips.
- The Application Process: The application process varies for each host organisation and position and will typically be explained in the advertisement. Often it is requested you include a letter of motivation, a CV, and/or a list of references and recommendation letters to your application. Some employers also ask for a transcript or an official letter from your university confirming that you are enrolled in a degree program.
- Entering the formal Internship Agreement: There is a set of general internship guidelines (internal site) at the University of Copenhagen. In addition each study has its own internship guidelines and procedures and many even have their own fixed Internship Agreement Format that is mandatory to use. Check specific requirements with relevant contact persons at your study.
- Sample Internship Application Requirements: europass CV template , CV instructions, sample application letter, & reference letter.
- The Interview: If an internship interview is required in person or e.g. Skype, consider this as an opportunity to highlight your suitability for the internship position and also for you to assess if there is a good fit between the internship and your career and learning goals.
Are you ready for an internship?
Here are some key questions to guide your internship search and decision.
- Why are you searching for an internship? To complement courses, for thesis work, or both?
- What is your degree program and what are your fields of interest or topical concentration within your main studies? Does the internship position you want to pursue match your degree program?
- What kind of organization and sector are you interested in working for? Public sector, private sector, non-profit NGO or International organizations?
- What kind of skills/competences do you want to develop? What sort of experience is lacking from your academic/professional training? Internships are often organized by function: research and analysis, project management, fundraising and event planning, field work, public relations and communications, training, etc. You should assess the internship opportunities not only by relevance to your field of interest, but also by in terms of which skills/competences and experiences each opportunity could help you develop.
- Where is your desired location of internship? Some students prefer internships in low- and middle income countries, others in high income countries abroad, while some prefer to stay within Denmark. How can an internship be funded if abroad? According to the study rules and regulations for the University of Copenhagen, internships may not receive an actual salary from the hosting organization, so make sure to plan how to cover the cost of the internship. (See sample budget for an internship abroad)
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