Internships, research & volunteer

An internship will provide you with the opportunity to explore a career path, allowing you to apply classroom concepts to the real work environment, and thus helping you become more confident about career choices. Participating in an internship will not only enhance your college experience, but it will give you the chance to gain or enhance some of the professional competencies identified in the Eagle Advantage. Interning abroad can make the whole experience even more enriching!

There are many international internship opportunities available; in fact, too many to list them all here. If you are interested in an international internship opportunity, use the following information to guide you through the process. If you have any questions at any time, do not hesitate to contact our office (IEE) or Career Services. We are here to help you!

International Internship for Credit expanding section

HOW TO RECEIVE CREDIT AT UWL FOR AN INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIP 

Intl Internships – found independent of UWL International Education & Engagement 

STEP 1: In order to receive credit for your internship abroad, you will need to have faculty advisor's approval and submit your internship request through Handshake on the UWL Career Services website to complete the process. 

  • Career Services will enroll you in your departmental internship course. 
  • IEE will also be a part of the approval process to ensure safety and complete a travel assessment. 

STEP 2: You must work with IEE to complete a travel registry.  

Tuition costs will be billed to your WINGS account. 

 Intl Internship – found through UWL International Education & Education 

STEP 1: If you are doing a part-time internship that is imbedded in a semester abroad (provider program), you will need to work with IEE to be enrolled at UWL and receive your internship credits by completing your Education Abroad Academic Plan.  

  • In this case, you will not need to complete a travel registry as you will be completing a study abroad application for your semester abroad. 
  • You will need an international transcript from the provider/partner program for the credit to be allowable by UWL. A fee may be required by the provider to obtain the transcript. 

STEP 2: You will need to have faculty advisor's approval and submit your internship request through Handshake on the UWL Career Services website to complete the process. 

STEP 3: IEE will enroll you into a placeholder course that will be transferred back to the course approved on your Education Abroad Academic Plan. 

Program fees are billed to your WINGS account. 

Where to look for International Internships expanding section

Because of the many options available, finding the right internship may seem overwhelming. We recommend you first explore the options offered by our partner universities abroad and organizations we already work with on education abroad programs as many of them will also offer internship opportunities. Another good resource to check out is Career Services’ Handshake database.

International Virtual Internships

There is also an array of opportunities for virtual internships abroad. In this case, the recommendation is the same. First explore the options offered by our partner universities abroad and organizations we already work with on education abroad programs. You will need to meet all the technology requirements including, but not limited, to Wi-Fi and a computer in order to succeed in this kind of internship.

Partner Universities Abroad Offering Internships

University of Waikato

Universitta Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Murdoch University

UWL Approved Providers

Anglo Educational Services (In partnership with London South Bank University)

API

CEA

CIEE

GlobalEd

ISA

ISEP

Other Providers
Low-cost internships might seem very attractive, but the lower cost may also be an indicator of the quality of the program and the support you will receive. It is essential that the internship provider supports you during all these 3 stages: Before you leave, while you are abroad, and once you return.  Keep this in mind when you are looking for an internship.

Tips to Choose an International Internship expanding section

Before you start looking for an international internship, take some time to identify the skills and knowledge you have and how you can apply that in the workplace. Be clear and specific about what you want to gain from this experience. Setting your goals and expectations in advance will help you choose the right program and will also help you during the interview process. Also, consider the support you will need in each stage: Before, during, and after your experience. Use these tips to guide you in the process:

  • Do they offer support during the 3 stages identified above?
  • Try to find information about the history and reputation of the provider. How long have they been offering international internships? If the internship is virtual, do they also have an onsite option with the same employer?
  • Is all the information available online transparent regarding the cost and what is included?
  • Do they have testimonials from students on their website? Social media presence?
  • Do they offer housing or assistance to find where to live? Is it included in the cost? Where are the housing options located (i.e. rural vs. urban areas)?
  • Find out how thorough their process is in each stage.
    • Do they offer a pre-departure orientation? Will I receive coaching about the work culture in my host country?
    • Will I have support and a dedicated advisor from the provider while I am abroad? If I will, will they be onsite or online?
    • Do they also offer cultural immersion activities?
    • Is there a curriculum and professional development support alongside the internship to help me develop my skills?
    • Remember, it is important they offer support during the 3 stages identified above.
  • Do I need a visa? Will they help me with this process?
  • How is their communication? Have they communicated in a timely, understandable, and personal manner with me so far?
  • How is the placement process?
    • Do I have an interview with the provider first, then with the employer? The more coaching you receive before your interview with the employer the better.
    • Will they help me with my resume/CV? The resume style and desired information will vary depending on the country.
    • Will I have a confirmed placement before arriving in the country?
    • Will I receive a contract in writing with the terms and expectation of all parties involved?
    • Is the placement personalized to my specific goals and/or the career path I am interested in exploring? If your goals, strengths, an expectation are considered during placement, you will be more likely to enjoy and benefit from the experience.
  • How many U.S credits is the internship for? Who will be issuing the transcript? A university abroad or in the U.S.?
  • How can I be sure that I will undertake meaningful work?
  • What are their health and safety protocols?
  • Who will I engage with in the work place? Just with a supervisor or will I be part of a team? Will I have a mentor? 
  • How do I know if everything is going well? Who do I contact if something is not going well or who will let me know if there is a problem? Communication and feedback practices will vary depending on the country.
  • What happens after the internship is over? Is there an assessment? Is there an opportunity to reflect on my goals and expectations after the experience?

These tips will help you identify what to look for in an internship provider. If you have any questions at any time in the process, please do not hesitate to contact IEE or Career Services, we are here to help you!

Every year, students find research or creative endeavor opportunities overseas. These can be structured (i.e. through an established program) or unstructured (i.e. independent research or faculty research). IEE may be one step in you exploring, applying for, and/or coordinating these experiences.

WHY DO RESEARCH ABROAD? 

  • Combine rigorous academic research experiences with living and studying in another country with a distinct culture and heritage. 
  • Work under the direction of a research mentor and present your research before returning home. 
  • Collaborate with top researchers in your field and define the directions of your own research project. 
  • Experience in-depth study abroad – something that is ideal preparation for undergraduates considering graduate research programs. 

WAYS TO FIND INTERNATIONAL UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH

IMPORTANT NOTES

  • Per UW System policy, all students participating in an educational program through UWL must enroll in CISI travel insurance through UWL International Education & Engagement (IEE). Please contact IEE at international@uwlax.edu for more enrollment details. 
  • Students must be registered through IEE's travel registry.
  • Research compliance is a bit more complicated due to being over an international border.  Please reach out to irb@uwlax.edu to determine what you may need in order to do research abroad.
  • URC grant support is not available for fee-based program costs; however, there may be support for a stipend, airfare, and/or other extra costs related to conducting a project. Please reach out to urc@uwlax.edu for more information.

Volunteering abroad allows students to share their time and skills while helping a community and gaining a cross-cultural experience. UWL does not have affiliated volunteer abroad programs, but we can provide information to help you identify resources and tools that will help you determine which program is the best fit for you and for the community that you hope to serve.

International Volunteering Program Association

The International Volunteering Program Association (IVPA) is a nonprofit association dedicated to promoting awareness and access to quality volunteer abroad programs. They offer a list of standards that will help you determine the quality of a program. Use these standards as guidance when looking for an international volunteer opportunity. 

UWL Peace Corps Prep expanding section

If you are interested in volunteering abroad for an extended period of time, you might want to consider the Peace Corps. As a UWL student, you can begin preparing for this experience through the UWL Peace Corps Prep program.

Program Considerations expanding section

Expectations

It is important to take some time to establish realistic expectation for both your personal expectations and for the volunteer program. One of the key elements of a good volunteer program is that the project addresses the actual needs of the community, so you may not always be placed on the project of your preference, but on the project your help is more needed. It is also important to be aware that you may not make an immediate impact that is visible while you are there, but rather in the long term.

Program Fees 

Oftentimes people are surprised to learn that volunteer organizations charge program fees. It is important to understand that everything that goes into hosting and supporting an international volunteer cost money. Therefore, the fee you pay helps mitigate the costs of in-country assistance, programmatic support, food and accommodation, airport pickup, and more. Make sure to ask what is included in the program fee and what additional expenses can be expected. You can also ask the organization for a breakdown of how your program fee will be used.

Program Length 

Programs may last from a week to a few months. Since volunteer programs are almost always unpaid, consider how long you can afford to be abroad without an income. Visas may also restrict the amount of time you can spend in a country.

Support 

Are you an experienced traveler or traveling abroad for the first time? Based on your own comfort level, consider how much support you will need before and during the experience when choosing a program. For example, think about how much support you need with the process in general, the visa process (if needed), language translation, arrival, and transportation.  

Accommodations 

Housing options vary and where you stay may affect the level of language you will need, and the cultural immersion you will experience. Programs may offer homestay or they may group volunteers together in a home, apartment, or hostel. Make sure you understand what kind of accommodation is offered in the program before you commit.

Volunteer Colleagues 

Ask about with whom you will be working. You may be volunteering with other U.S. volunteers or volunteers from around the world. Your volunteer group may consist of students or non-students. Or you may work more with community members, which in some cases will require language proficiency.  

How to Get Started expanding section
  1. Reflect on your goals and expectations. What are you hoping to gain/give with this experience? How much support you need?
  2. Review the IVPA list of standards so that you know what to look for in a program.   
  3. Start your search for volunteering opportunities with providers UWL already works with on education abroad programs as many of them also offer volunteering opportunities. Since volunteering abroad is a non-credit experience, IEE will not endorse providers or be involved in the process.
  4. Search for programs using other search engines. 

Resources

Why You Should Pay to Volunteer Abroad

5 Inspiring Reason to Volunteer Abroad

5 Types of Volunteer Programs & How to Pick the Right One 

 

Disclaimer: Providing information about international volunteer opportunities does not constitute an endorsement by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse or International Education & Engagement. International Education & Engagement is not an agent for these programs and does not guarantee their quality.