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Internships & Service Learning

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Gain professional skills: communication, appreciation for diversity, leadership, and confidence
  • Understand daily work life in another country
  • Deepen cross-cultural understanding
  • Reflect and learn through accompanying the course
  • Use experience for obtaining future jobs

Internships are available in a wide variety of industries and areas, and placements are available for students in any major. The specific internship placements vary by program. Program pages typically list example internships or typical internship fields. If you do not see your desired industry on those lists, ask the program contact.

Internships are an extension of the classroom. There is a great benefit to integrating academic work and reflection into your experience. An internship course will offer you additional guidance through your experience and help you connect it to your academic goals, professional development, and career exploration. Internship courses connect you to peers interning around the world to share experiences and explore working across cultures.

For students interning in the semester, UNCW will maintain your student status so that you keep your position for registration, your UNCW email active, and any student loans you have from going into repayment. Many scholarships require enrollment so it may expand your funding options, including financial aid depending on credit number and duration.

Class Standing

Typically, students are eligible to participate in an international internship once they reach sophomore standing. However, some programs require junior or senior class standing. Be sure to view the eligibility requirements for the specific program you are interested in.


Many programs do not require you to know the host-country language, however, some programs do. If a program does not have a language requirement, it can be useful to have some knowledge of the language spoken at your chosen destination. You will likely have more placement options if you know the host-country language.

Previous Work Experience

Although not a requirement, your previous coursework, skills, and work experience can aid in determining which specific internship placements you are qualified for. On-site program staff will work to match your experience with the needs of businesses and organizations.

All internships abroad are supported by an academic class. You will earn credit from the coursework tied to the internship course. In study + internship programs, you will take other courses to fulfill major and minor requirements. During the summer, some programs offer a six-credit internship experience and course. With this option, you will not take any additional courses.

No. Paid employment is not possible. Visa requirements in most countries do not allow you to work for pay while visiting or attending school.

We recommend students apply as soon as possible to get the placement process started early. Placements are competitive, fill quickly, and there are often limited placements in popular fields.

Program deadlines indicate the last date we can accept participants for that term which is usually based on accommodation availability and visa deadlines. The sooner you apply, the sooner you can move on to the next steps and have the best chance for your perfect internship.

Placement processes vary by program. Below is a general guideline on the placement process. However, be sure to review the placement process for your specific program of interest.

  • Once you have completed an application, your application will be reviewed by our office and the placement team of the provider/program.
  • The placement team will review your application and, if it meets the criteria, will process and send it to an appropriate site to secure you an interview.
  • You may receive preliminary placement information prior to departure or once you arrive on site. Nearly all students are placed after this interview process, but make sure to prepare and be professional. You will receive guidance on this in your host country.
  • If you complete your requirement applications and are flexible in your placement, you are very likely to receive an internship placement.
  • Be flexible.
  • Deal well with ambiguity.
  • Be proactive and look for ways to contribute.
  • Be professional (e.g., be on time, dress appropriately).

Students often can contribute the most and gain the most experience at smaller companies and organizations rather than larger, well-known businesses.

Employers often view an internship abroad positively. It is important to be able to articulate the experience to future employers. The most successful way to use an internship experience abroad is to be able to discuss the skills that you gained and how those competencies can be applied to your chosen career.

  • On-site staff put in a lot of work to arrange internships. Apply only if you're committed to undertaking an internship.
  • Most students are happy they completed an internship.
  • You will gain skills but will also have additional work, sometimes on weekends, meaning less time for travel.