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1. At home – Before the internship period

What is an internship?

In an internship (also work placement) you spend a certain period of time in a foreign country. You are supposed to put the things you have learned in vocational education and training into practice in a company. This way you get real work experience in your field of study before you finish your vocational education. Internships are mostly not paid.

Why is pursuing an internship beneficial?

Embarking on an internship, especially abroad, presents numerous advantages for personal and professional development, offering valuable experiences that contribute to your growth. Living in a foreign culture necessitates adaptation, employing a foreign language, predominantly English, as a means of communication, and taking charge of your daily routine independently.

This experience significantly broadens your horizons, proving crucial when seeking employment post-education. An international internship stands out on your CV, showcasing your interest in new experiences, open-mindedness, and willingness to embrace challenges. Moreover, it provides an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge acquired in school to practical situations, offering insights into various job roles and the inner workings of companies. However, it's important to remember that the primary goal is to gain work experience, not to treat it as a vacation.

Am I suitable for an internship?

  • I am a creative and have problem-solving skills

  • I have an initiative taking mindset;

  • I enjoy teamwork and I have a positive attitude;

  • I have intellectual curiosity and a constant desire to learn;

  • I have a personal interest in other cultures and empathy for others;

  • I wish to travel and I can navigate independently;

  • I think I easily adapt to living and working abroad;

  • I am proficient in expressing myself in a foreign language and I have a desire to enhance my language skills.

1.2 Application

How does the application process work?

Who can apply for an internship? In many European countries, individual students may not apply directly. Contact your school's internship coordinator for Erasmus+ projects or inquire with the National Agency in your country for eligibility..

Where and how do I apply?

Reach out to your coordinator, tutor, or teacher at your school or company.

What are the criteria for being selected?

The decision-making process involves staff assessments, discussions with tutors and school staff or staff from the company. Although there are different criteria in every school and company, there are some skills that are necessary:

  • Social skills and maturity

  • Appropriate communication with adults and peers

  • Good academic performance and study motivation

  • Regular attendance

  • Language proficiency and motivation to learn languages

  • Interest in technology and in work experience

Who will decide if I can go?

Based on staff assessment a preliminary selection of the most suitable candidates is carried out. The preliminary selection is discussed together with the tutors of the class and staff members in school. When you are an apprentice, the decisions are taken by company staff. When a consensus is reached, the final selection of the students for an internship abroad is established

Which documents are required?

Your coordinator will guide you on necessary documents, usually including a CV, a motivation letter in which you state your reasons why you should be the one selected to go abroad. Sometimes you will be also asked to fill in an application form or a questionnaire assessing your skills and knowledge.

1.3 Practical arrangements & information

What do I have to do there?

While on an internship, you represent your school and yourself. Adapting to a foreign work environment involves adhering to daily routines, working hours, and supervisor directives.

Often you cannot go home before the fixed time. If you for some reason need to go home earlier, you have to talk to your coordinator and the company. Bear in mind that you must have convincing reasons for terminating you internship earlier than planned.

How will I get there? Where will I stay? Who will organize the travel?

Travel arrangements are typically organized by the school or the host organization. Otherwise, contact the organisation you sent the application to. Maybe they help you or you have to make the arrangements yourself. The hosting company or the hosting organisation might also be able to help you to find suitable accommodation in the local area with good possibilities to reach the company by local transports.

Often you don’t have too much money to spend in mobility projects. The standard of accommodation will often be low, at student’s level, and the flight will often be low fair tickets.

What will happen when I arrive in the country?

The host organization will often meet you at your arrival and show you the necessities in the local area so that you can manage every day life easily on your own. It’s important to exchange phone numbers so you can get hold of the person responsible for you during the internship period. Often you have to get into the daily routines quickly, since the internship at the company often starts at once. Take a walk in the local area and check out bus stops, restaurants, where to buy food and bus tickets.

Make sure that you have all the necessary documents with you before you leave your home country.

1.4 Preparation for the workplace

The professional worker in an industrial enterprise

In the tools section you will find some occupational profiles for typical jobs in an industrial/technical enterprise. They might help you to learn more about the tasks and duties certain people have in a company.

  • quality control manager

  • machine tool operator

  • mechanical engineer

  • automation technician

Information about the company

Now that you have read about how to adapt to a new culture, how to organize your daily life and how to behave in the right way you should also try to find out more about the company you will be working for.

The first step is to ask the coordinator in your school if he can provide some information. He will know what kind of work you will have to perform and also know details about the hosting organization. If you still want to know more, use the internet. Most companies have their own web pages where you can learn more about the size of the enterprise, the products they produce, how many employees they have, etc. It is also a good idea to write down some questions which you can ask in your introductory interview in the company.

Some questions you can ask your coordinator:

  • What kind of company is it?

  • Where do I get more information about the company I will work for?

  • What tasks/activities do I have to perform there?

  • Who will be responsible for me in the company?

1.5 Preparation for living in a foreign country

Preparation for Living in a Foreign Country

Before you leave your country, your parents and your friends at home, you should try to get some information about the place you want to go.

It might be important for you to find out something about the following topics:

  • Traffic information

  • Opening hours of shops

  • Where to learn about local events

  • Do’s and dont’s culturally

Adapting to a new culture

Although we are all citizens of the European Union we still all have a different cultural and social background. What is quite a normal behaviour in one country could be offensive for somebody in other parts of our continent. There are also big differences in how you greet and address people. Awareness and respect for these differences contribute to a smooth transition into a new environment.