How Much do Internships Abroad Cost?

In today’s globalized world, internships abroad have become invaluable to students’ future careers – essential, even. International experience offers life-changing outcomes from personal growth to professional training to exposure to real-world work environments, all of which can help your resume stand out to employers. 

We could go on and on about how valuable the return on investment on an internship abroad is, but you’re probably more curious about the upfront cost. In this blog post, we’ll explain how much internships abroad cost so you can determine if interning abroad is right for you.  

Let’s dig in! 

What is an internship abroad? 

First things first: Let’s explain what an international internship actually is. Internships abroad are work placements that take place in a foreign country where you gain practical hard and soft skills, develop cross-cultural understanding, and broaden your perspectives of global business environments. At CIEE, we offer international internships in 30+ countries for as short as six weeks to as long as 18 weeks across a wide variety of competitive and relevant industries.  

Some of our top study abroad internships include: 

  • Medical internships abroad 
  • Engineering internships abroad 
  • Psychology internships abroad 
  • Public health internships abroad 
  • Law internships abroad 
  • Marketing internships abroad 

And many more! 

Unlike domestic internships where you might sit behind a desk filing briefs all day at a law firm or scribe notes during business meetings at a startup, international internships offer loads of hands-on experience that puts you in the center of it all. Think helping designers select trend-setting fabrics at a fashion house in Italy or serving public health organizations as they deliver medical resources to remote communities in Botswana.  

No matter what kind of life-changing international internship you’re looking for, we likely have it – or one quite similar. Explore our internship programs for yourself or reach out to our team to learn more! 

Read More: What are International Internships? Everything You Need to Know 

Unpaid vs. Paid Internships Abroad 

Now that you’ve become more familiar with how international internships work, let’s make a clear distinction between unpaid vs. paid internships abroad.  

  • Paid Internships Abroad: As the name suggests, paid international internships offer a minimum hourly wage or a program stipend paid to the intern. Paid internships are typically more competitive and more prevalent in corporate settings, multinational companies, or well-funded organizations. 
  • Unpaid Internships Abroad: These internships do not provide any monetary compensation to the intern. However, they often offer other benefits, such as accommodation, meals, or a stipend to cover basic living expenses. Unpaid internships are typically more common, especially in fields like non-profit organizations, research institutions, or cultural exchange programs. 

Can I do a paid internship abroad? 

Due to visa constraints and the need for work visas, all CIEE Global Internship programs are unpaid. This means you cannot do a paid internship abroad with CIEE.  

However, keep in mind the many benefits of an unpaid internship abroad that are included in the cost of your CIEE fees: 

  • Tuition 
  • Housing 
  • Your internship placement (which will consist of working 28-30 hours/week for an eight-week program or 18-20 hours/week for a 12-week program) 
  • Pre-departure advising 
  • Orientation 
  • 24/7 on-site emergency support 
  • Cultural + co-curricular activities 
  • Travel protection  

To clarify, there is variance in what’s included in your CIEE fees depending on which program and location you select. Check into the details of your dream program information specific to what’s included in the cost. 

plant study abroad intern garden monteverde

Read More: How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad in 2024? 

How much do internships abroad cost? 

As you can imagine, the exact cost of international internships covers quite a range. CIEE offers programs as budget-friendly as $1,450 (for example, a 12-week virtual internship program) to programs more robust and longer for $22,450 (for example, an 18-week semester internship program).  

Take a peek at our different internship program durations and average costs: 

Program  Length  Cost 
Summer Global Internship Program  8 weeks  $7,450 
Semester Global Internship Program  18 weeks  $20,850-$22,450 
Virtual Global Internship Program  12-18 weeks  $1,450-$1,750 

Of course, there’s a lot of room in between to find a program that takes you abroad for a few weeks while still not breaking the bank. For example, explore our Summer Global Internship programs, which cost about $7,450 for eight incredible weeks interning in amazing places like Barcelona, Amman, Seoul, or Buenos Aires

Read More: Top 7 Summer Internships Abroad [2024] 

Do you have to pay for an international internship? 

Through CIEE, students must pay for their international internship program upfront. However, you may qualify for scholarships and grants to help offset the cost of your desired program. Each year, CIEE awards millions in scholarships, grants, and special discounts to help students like YOU make their dream of going abroad come true. 

Our funding support is broken down into three categories: 

  • Need-Based Grants: Awarded to students with demonstrated financial need 
  • Merit-Based Scholarships: Awarded to students with strong academic achievement 
  • Other Scholarships/Discounts: Based on alumni status or a specific program choice 

To see what scholarships and grants you may be eligible for, be sure to complete the Scholarships & Grants section of your CIEE application. It only takes students an average of 15 minutes to apply for funding! 

ciee global internship conference berlin

Read More: Study Abroad Scholarships: Everything You Need to Know 

Is it worth it to intern abroad? 

Now that you understand the costs associated with interning abroad, you might be wondering if the return on investment is strong enough to warrant moving forward with one. The short answer? Yes! The long answer involves us breaking down the key benefits of an international internship. 

Consider five primary benefits of why interning abroad is such a transformative experience, both personally and professionally: 

  1. You’ll develop a global perspective. Working in a different cultural context and business environment broadens your perspective and enhances your adaptability and problem-solving skills.
  2. You’ll increase your professional growth. Gaining international work experience can set you apart from other talented candidates in the job market. It demonstrates your ability to navigate diverse work environments and shows a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. 
  3. You’ll have many networking opportunities. Building a global network can open doors to future career opportunities. You never know how a connection you’ve made abroad may come in handy one day. Connections can lead to job offers, collaborations, and lifelong friendships! 
  4. You’ll experience strong personal development. Living abroad fosters independence, flexibility, resilience, problem solving, conflict resolution, and cultural awareness. You’ll learn to navigate unfamiliar situations, communicate across language barriers, and adapt to another community’s cultural traditions and norms, which can boost your confidence, adaptability, and self-reliance. 
  5. You’ll develop or advance your language skills. If you intern in a country where a different language is spoken, you’ll have the chance to improve your language skills, which is a valuable asset in many careers. 

prague students abroad film lecture

Read More: Top 4 Benefits of an Internship Abroad 

Does an international internship look good on a resume? 

Given the many, many benefits of interning abroad, rest assured your international experience will not only look good on your resume, but fantastic to prospective employers! It will demonstrate to hiring managers you have the skills needed to succeed from day one on the job. 

Here’s why: 

  • Your international experience shows initiative. Pursuing an internship abroad demonstrates initiative and a proactive approach to personal and professional development.  
  • You’ll be viewed as highly adaptable. Employers value candidates who can adapt to new environments and challenges. An international internship shows you can thrive in diverse settings. 
  • Your resume will highlight cultural competence. In today’s globalized workforce, cultural competence is crucial. Experience working abroad shows you can work effectively with people from different backgrounds. 
  • You’ll have unique skills to show off. Abroad, you’ll acquire skills unique to the country and industry of your internship. These may include language proficiency, technical skills, or industry-specific knowledge. 

For all these reasons – and more – your resume will be practically glowing when you return home from interning abroad! 

tokyo student interns abroad workshop classroom

Take Your Skills Global 

As you can see, internships abroad can be a valuable investment in your future, offering unique experiences and opportunities that can enhance your personal and professional life. While the costs can be significant, depending on which program you choose, the benefits often outweigh the expenses, especially when considering the potential for personal growth, skill development, and career advancement.  

The experience of working in a foreign country is likely to leave a lasting impact on your life and career. So, get started! 


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