When it comes to international internships, Europe is a popular destination. This global hub of culture, business, innovation, and opportunity continues to attract people from all corners of the world. You can find both unpaid and paid internships in Europe in almost any field or industry you can imagine, and they can last three months in summer or an entire semester. You can even earn college credit on some internships in Europe for international students.
Where you go depends on what kind of job experience you want. If you’re looking for international business experience, then global cities like London, Frankfurt, and Paris are your best bets. If you want to work in agriculture, then hit up dairy farms in France or Ireland. If you see your future in diplomacy or international development, then make a beeline for Geneva or Brussels, both HQs for loads of international NGOs.
Another important factor regarding how to get an internship in Europe depends on your foreign language proficiency. For instance, if you’re fluent or near fluent in French, you can immerse yourself in the work of the UN in Europe. On the other hand, if you can more than get by in Italian, then interning in the fashion capital of Milan will be a cinch.
Want to take the next step? Here are the 10 best countries for internships in Europe in 2018 according to our meaningful travel community.
It’s so obvious why Germany is the #1 choice when it comes to internships in Europe for international students. The efficiency, the work ethic, the vacation leave, the beer. Germany has it all! Deutschland is especially great for future CEOs who want experience in finance, banking, scientific research, and media. Use an internship in this Western European giant to improve your German, explore fairytale castles, and develop a love of bratwurst and lagers in Munich, Berlin, and other parts of the country.
Recommended program: Intern abroad in Dresden with Boston University
If you’re particularly looking for paid internships in Europe for international students, consider France. This European country is a joy to intern in because it takes work/life balance very seriously. The French love to kick ass in the workplace, but they also like to kick back with a great meal and glass of wine at the end of the day—expect no emails from the office after 6pm! Get internships in fashion, finance, and the culinary arts in the city of love, Paris, or in banking in Lyon. Paid internships in France are more competitive; be sure to give your resume a shine before you apply!
Recommended program: Intern abroad in France with Gastronomie France
Ah, España! This part of the region earns a lot of brownie points with international students because it’s got it all: lots of sunshiny days, an incredible language and culture, and of course, great places to intern. Intern with multinationals based in Madrid or work for a startup in Barcelona. If you’re thinking getting more experience in tourism, Spain offers tons of opportunities, particularly in tourist hubs like Sevilla and Granada.
Recommended program: Shadow doctors in Spain with Atlantis Project
When it comes to internships in Europe, another crowd pleaser is England. Trust us—it’s not just because they speak English there (seriously, their slang can get weird!). International internships in England are popular because it’s one of the best places to work in Europe for a truly multicultural experience. You could find yourself interning at a Japanese firm or working with several nationalities at the BBC, eating Caribbean jerk chicken for lunch and attending a tango dance show at night. This is a city of immigrants, and you’ll love every second you spend experiencing its unique energy. Because internships can be quite competitive in London, head north to Manchester and Birmingham for more opportunities and local flavor.
If you think you’re the next Donatella Versace, head to Italy for some serious fashion sense and work experience. This southern European country has much to offer international interns: a laid-back lifestyle, a sexy language, and oodles of culture. You can intern with art galleries in Florence, in museums in Rome, or with archaeologists in Pompeii. In your free time, have a field day exploring the country and learning why the best bologna comes from Bologna, the best Parmesan from Parma...you get the picture!
Recommended program: Intern abroad in Italy with PAA
The Celtic Tiger’s still got it, especially when it comes to internships in Europe for international students. Find professional placements in the capital Dublin where you’ll develop an appreciation for James Joyce and Guinness. If you’re more after the green hills and dales of the Emerald Isle, you can find internships in tourism, agriculture, and environmental conservation in Waterford, Kilkenny, and other cuds (middle of nowhere towns and villages).
Recommended program: Intern in Dublin with Connect-123
Even though Iceland is at the top of the bucket list of many an adventurous traveler, did you know you can stay there longer than most tourists with an international internship? Get beneath the surface of the land of fire and ice with placements in outdoor tourism, hospitality, geology, forestry, and fishing. Explore wide open spaces, enjoy kaffi tímí (coffee time), and soak up the sun while it lasts in one of the strangest yet fascinating countries on the planet.
Recommended program: Intern in Iceland with Panrimo
8. United Kingdom
Before you get too confused, remember that the UK is a group of four countries rather than a single one: England to the south, Wales to the west, and Scotland and Northern Ireland to the north. Internships in London are highly sought after if you’re looking for global work experience, but don’t discount opportunities in whiskey factories in Scotland, aerospace manufacturing in Belfast, and sheep farming in Wales.
Recommended program: Intern in London with The Intern Group
Who would have thunk that you could find some really great European internships in Portugal? Although often overshadowed by its effusive neighbor, Spain, Portugal should be on your radar when it comes to international internships. You can find placements in almost any field, from education to marketing to IT, in Lisbon, the capital, and Porto, the city that invented port wine. After office hours, explore Portugal’s stunning beaches, castles, and museums and immerse yourself in the slower Portuguese way of life.
Recommended program: Intern in Portugal with Linguistic Horizons
Forget the drudgery associated with other international internships and get a paid placement in Denmark, arguably the happiest country in the world. Get work experience in the Nordic country that gave the world Lego, the Little Mermaid, and Danish cookies. Intern in offices in Copenhagen, breweries in Odense, or tourism organizations in green Silkeborg. Clock out of the office at 5 and understand why this Scandinavian nation is so damn chill all the time. Pro tip: keep the happy hour imbibing to a minimum—even a Carlsburg can run you upwards of $10!
Recommended program: Intern or research abroad in Copenhagen with Panrimo
A note from GoAbroad
We’d like to thank our community for not only inspiring us daily, but for also giving us enough insight to share accurate predictions for meaningful travel in 2018.
Learn more our research methodology, recommended programs, and links here.
Browse more of this year's report on top destinations for international internships
- Best Destinations to Find Internships Worldwide in 2018
- Best Destinations to Find Internships in the Americas for 2018
- Best Destinations to Find Internships in Africa for 2018
- Best Destinations to Find Internships in the South Pacific & Asia for 2018
- See ALL top destinations for ALL travel