An internship for international students in the UK can be a very effective way to get a full-time job in your preferred industry sector once you have graduated from University. An internship will give you valuable experience and give you a competitive advantage when applying for graduate jobs. It will also give you a better understanding of the industry you are interested in and could be a really helpful way to determine if you actually enjoy working in that area and can help you make decisions about your career.
International students generally find themselves an internship during holiday periods whilst studying at University because taking on a placement during term time would risk interfering with your studies. Most commonly an internship for international students in the UK will take place over the summer holidays lasting between 2-10 weeks. Applications will begin around September, so it is important to start looking and applying early!
Internships are something I am asked about quite frequently by international students, so in this article, I hope to answer the most common questions I hear and give you a head start in securing yourself a great internship position.
Can international Students do internships in the UK?
Most University courses will allow and encourage students to do an internship as part of their studies. However, the placement must be an assessed part of the course and can not take up more than a third of your studies, but if the internship meets these requirements students are permitted to work full time using a Tier 4 visa.
You are not allowed to do an internship if you are a part-time postgraduate student or if your course is below degree level and your tier 4 sponsor has probationary sponsor status.
If you are a full-time student studying at University and you’re interested in applying for an internship that isn’t related to your studies, it is possible! However, you can only work part-time hours during term time (up to 20 hours a week), and you can work full-time hours during vacation periods.
Can international students do paid internships
This is another question I am frequently asked by international students, and the answer is yes! International students in the UK can do paid or unpaid internships as long as they meet the following criteria I mentioned above.
If you have any doubts about what your visa allows you to do, then check with your international student adviser or welfare officer.
How do international students get internships
There are a number of ways to get yourself an internship. The most common way is by applying online – there are some great websites that can help you find placements and internships. Here are my top picks…
At the top of my list is Milkround, The UK’s most widely used student and graduate job website. On here you will find thousands of graduate jobs, schemes and internships around the UK. As well as giving you access to loads of great job opportunities, they also have some great free resources to help you with job applications, writing your CV, and cover letters.
Ratemyplacement gives you all the information you could possibly need regarding undergraduate summer internships. The website has a lot of really helpful information including top internship jobs, reviews written by students, employee information and an advice page containing all the information you could ever want to know about how to take the first steps in your career.
3. TARGET Jobs
Target Jobs is a really easy website to navigate through and posts a number of graduate job opportunities and internships in each specific industry. It is a great place to keep up to date with various events from different sectors. You can also find great careers advice which covers everything from interview techniques and questions to choose your employer.
Employment 4 students are a student-specific job site where you can find part-time and holiday jobs, temporary and gap year jobs, internships and placements, apprenticeships and graduate positions.
5. Student Circus
Student circus was established by two former international students and offers a niche job portal for foreign students in the UK. All the jobs listed on the Student circus website are from UK employers willing to sponsor work visas to graduates from the UK and also offer internships.
You don’t necessarily need to wait for an internship to be advertised. If you find a company and an internship for international students in the UK you are interested in, approaching the company yourself can be a very effective way of securing a placement, because internships may not always be openly advertised. If you can impress a company with initiative and a unique set of skills this approach can be very successful.
An internship will provide you with the opportunity to increase your skills and knowledge whilst giving you a better understanding of a particular job or industry. You will get a taste of what it is like to meet tough deadlines and experience being part of a team. Not only would an internship give you all of this valuable experience, but it’s also a great way to meet new people, network and perfect your English language skills. Most importantly the successful completion of an internship could quite easily be converted into a job offer if your employer is happy with your performance.