Completing an international internship is a great way to obtain hands-on global work experience while earning academic credit. Western Michigan University's study abroad staff can assist you in identifying and applying for overseas internship opportunities.
- Learn about locations
- Earn credit for internships
- Browse WMU-approved internship providers
- Fund your internship
Western Michigan University students may intern in a variety of countries. While placements in countries where English is not the native language are available, students should be advised that placement options will be more limited in these locations.
Obtaining credit for internships abroad is usually more complicated and time consuming than taking traditional study courses abroad. WMU students work closely with the WMU Study Abroad specialist assigned to the geographical country of the internship.
Students taking study abroad internships to fulfill "WMU Essential Studies" and electives usually seek course approvals from college and department advisors. Students taking study abroad internships to fulfill requirements for their majors and minors must seek explicit approval and signatures from an academic advisor in the respective department.
Academic credit for an internship abroad can be assigned either by WMU Study Abroad (when credits are offered on a transcript) or by a WMU faculty member:
- Credits on a transcript: Many study abroad providers offer internships throughout the year that can be assigned credit through a school of record. Before applying for an internship through a study abroad provider, applicants must discuss their internship requirements with an academic advisor to ensure their international project meets all stated expectations. Receiving approval for the academic credits is obtained via the course approval form issued by WMU study abroad. Once the transcript is received, a study abroad specialist will post the assigned grade(s) to the student's WMU transcript in accordance with the documented approvals. Students are charged the WMU SA enrollment fee, the cost of mandatory health insurance, and fees stipulated in the billing agreement between WMU Study Abroad and the provider.
- Under the supervision of a WMU faculty member: This is usually the most suitable option for students completing an internship arranged directly with an international business or employer. Students should check with department chairs, faculty advisors or academic advising staff to determine if the department has a course number that can be used to recognize internship work abroad (note: sometimes this is the department's independent study course). The WMU instructor of record for the corresponding course will be responsible for determining the method of evaluation, assessing the student’s work, and assigning a final grade for the internship. The WMU student must document the department's agreement to supervise, evaluate and award credit for the internship abroad during the online application process and inform the WMU Study Abroad specialist. The Haenicke Institute for Global Education will provide applicants with a contract template clarifying the relationship between the student and the overseas entity. This contract is mandatory and will be signed by the study abroad director on behalf of WMU. Students are charged the WMU Study Abroad enrollment fee, the cost of mandatory health insurance, and fees stipulated in the billing agreement between WMU Study Abroad and the provider.
University policy requires all students interning abroad to register with WMU Study Abroad prior to leaving campus, which ensures the applicant will be covered under the University’s risk-management procedures, including emergency medical and security insurance. WMU credit will not be awarded for internships conducted overseas that are not approved prior to the start date.
For more information, call (269) 387-5890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students whose main objective is to seek an internship (and not take supplemental coursework in various subjects) are strongly encouraged to work with:
Students whose main objective is to take several study abroad courses (supplemented with an internship) are strongly encouraged to work with:
- American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) (Unique locations: semester placements in Costa Rica and Brazil for students with advanced language skills)
- Academic Programs International (API)
- ARCOS Learning Abroad (Arcos)
- Center for International Studies Abroad (CIS) (Unique locations: Argentina, Ecuador, Thailand)
- Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)
- Cultural Experiences Abroad (CEA) (Unique location: Prague)
- International Education of Students (IES)
- Institute for Study Abroad—IFSA Butler University
- International Studies Abroad (ISA)
- Knowledge Exchange Institute (KEI)
- The Education Abroad Network (TEAN)
Students who wish to participate on a program offered by a non-approved provider will be required to submit additional paperwork and participation will be subject to review and approval by WMU Study Abroad.
Depending on the internship, applicants may be eligible for external funding to help support expenses incurred during their study abroad. Students are encouraged to view our scholarship page, browse external resources, speak with their program provider about financial support, and discuss the use of WMU financial aid with their Study Abroad Specialist.