Small Guide to Internship opportunities
It is not a coincidence that Europe in the middle of a crisis puts emphasise on the mobility of young people as a tool for improving their sitation in the labour market. Starting from school youth exchanges, staying abroad even for a short time period is a valuable experience. Of course the longer the visit the bigger impact it can have on your life. That is why programmes like Erasmus are so popular among young people. It is worthy to know that this famous students’ exchange programme is not the only possibility to learn something from living in another country. It can be however a very good first step before going there again for more responsible reasons like for an internship.
Internships bring benefits to both interns and companies or organisations providing the intership. It is a great learning opportunity for young job seekers, allowing them to see how similiar entities work in differnet countries, to experience another working culture and habits and to make contacts useful in the future. For employers, internships can be an excellent source of high-qualified people who often stay in the place after finishing the intership as employed workers.
There are many possiblities of making an internship in any kind of work, from private companies to the public sector and NGOs. Often those entities offer their own internship programmes so the best thing to do is to check the website of the ones you are interested in.
For instance, if you are looking for gaining experience in international public service, the European Parliament has very good trainership programmes for different kinds of people (like journalists, translators etc.) also paid and unpaid. Paid traineeships are awarded for a period of five months. There are two aplication periods between the 15th August - 15th October (beginning of traineeship at 1st March) and between the 15th March - 15th May (starting at 1st October). The EP has also very good interships for people with disabilities. All you have to do is fulfill an online aplication and send it. You can find it as well as other information here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/007cecd1cc/Traineeships.html
However, there are some international programmes which allow you to make intership in any entity you want, of course after having an agreement that it will host you. The most popular is the Leonardo programme which concerns vocational education and training. They are several types of mobilities you can choose from. The most relevant are “People in Initial Vocational Training (IVT)” for people undergoing an initial vocational education and training and for young people who are still in school and “People in the Labour Market (PLM)” focused on supporting the transnational mobility of workers, self-employed or people available for employment (including graduates) undergoing a training period abroad in a vocational training context. In the later you can apply for an intership lasting up to 26 weeks in any EU country. The deadline is only once in a year at 1st February which causes strong competition. The one which is submitting the application for the National Agency (specific for each country) is the sending organization (can be public institutions, NGOs etc). Just like the YiA programme, the NA also lists priorities. It is good to read and try to fulfill them in order to have more chances to get the intership. Of course all costs of accommodation; travel etc. is covered by the programme. For more inforation ckeck out: http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-programme/ldv_en.htm
A quite new opportunity is the “Erasmus Student Mobility for Placement” which enables students in higher education institutions to spend a placement (traineeship/internship) period between 3 months and 12 months in an enterprise or organisation in another participating country. Again all costs regarding accomodation, travels, and loans are covered by the programme. All you need to do is to check with your international office at the university on how the procedure looks like (it can be different since it is the university which decides about placements). Then you need to find an institution ready to host you (the most popular are 3 months interships during holidays) and sign an agreement specifying what your tasks will be. You can find more detailed information at: http://ec.europa.eu/education/erasmus/placement_en.htm
Last but not least there are several websites where you can find specific interships that could interest you. Very useful is the Eurodesk website (http://www.eurodesk.org/edesk/ ) the biggest source of information of mobility opportunities for young people. You can also check your national website (available in 31 European countries). Another one is http://jobs.euractiv.com where you can find interships as well as other job opportunities from all over the Europe. If you are looking something on a global level check http://internships.about.com/http://internships.about.com which provides all kind of information regarding interships all over the world. Worthy to look are also www.idealist.org which consists of over 57,000 nonprofit and community organizations in over 180 countries and http://www.goabroad.com/ which is very easy to use.
"When I recall the time I spent in Brussels, the most signifant for me was the opportunity to participate in a very interesting and more constructive public debate on how daily television serves us" says Matthew Najsztub, an intern at the Registry of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S & D). “While in Poland, democracy boils down to the technical superiority of one group over another, in Brussels it is beautiful to watch as the law is created by the means of consultation, debate and the exchange of meaningful arguments. For people like me interested in politics it was a qualitative change impossible to describe in a few simple words" he adds.
Intreship can be much more and surely it is worthy to try. So, your chance is waiting for you.
Newsmail Yournalist and Researcher