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[For graduate jobs abroad go to Support for International Students (Section 7: working in your home country) and also Alternatives (Section: Going Abroad).]

The resources listed below are intended as starting points for researching work experience abroad. This is a thriving sector, and many other sites and providers can be found on the internet. There is considerable overlap between the different organisations, and many offer teaching, volunteering projects, training and paid work experience. There are different fees and charges, so research this carefully.


 Country Profiles

Both Prospects and Target Jobs have detailed information about working and looking for work in a variety of different countries

Prospects Work Abroad Pages 

Target Jobs Work Abroad Pages 



  • EURES Job vacancies in Europe
    YOUR EUROPE Help and Advice
    Practical Information, help and advice on EU rights for EU nationals and businesses (i.e. travel, work, shopping, funding opportunities, doing business and procedures).
    European Youth Portal website providing access to youth related European and national information on travel, volunteering, hostel information & work.
    European Job Days are dynamic recruitment events that bring jobseekers and employers together all delivered on-line – check out the events & participate.
    EUROGRADUATE: European Graduate Careers
    Useful information on working/careers abroad, Finance, Engineering, Graduate recruitment and language learningGraduate Land
    European-based site useful for internships, placements and graduate jobs, including UK vacancies. Also useful for placements in other EU countries.
  • InterGrad for placements in the UK and Europe (especially if you speak another European language)

 USA (internships, year in industry, work and travel)

For any summer jobs, summer camp work or internships in the USA a J1 visa is a legal requirement by the US Government. In the US nobody uses the term ‘placement’ – this is an internship, whether a year long or a few weeks over the summer.

You will need to go through a legal sponsor, such as CIEE or Interexchange. The legal sponsor is authorised by the US Department of State to process applications and ensure your eligibility for the programme. The legal sponsor is also responsible for you during your time in the US (not the host organisation you may be working for). Typically, allow 2-4 weeks for the process.

For USA internships, you will need a one-page resume, rather than a two-page CV. Click on Career Guidance for help.

  • There are a number of different organisations but Parenthese often present on campus about their offer to students.

Parenthése: Summary notes, presentation, 26/3/2015

Email: Contact@parenthese-london.co.uk
Tel: 07805 507414
Skype: parentheseparislondon
Twitter: parentheseparis

Please note that the notes below are from a presentation that took place in 2015. Although the information is still very helpful some things may have changed so do check with Parenthese

Main points from the presentation

  • All work experience schemes in the US are called internships, irrespective of length. When applying, it is important not to refer to placements or schemes, as this does not mean much to US employers.
  • For a paid internship, you will need a J1 Visa. To get the J1 visa you will need a sponsor who is approved by the US government  The US welcomes applications from any student studying in the UK, irrespective of nationality.
  • Parenthése are an established USA internship coordinator – they work closely with the approved sponsor CIEE (Council for International Educational Exchange).
  • The organisation will help you navigate the sponsorship, provide health insurance, 24-hour support during your internship stay the US, assisting with any consulate procedures as required and more.
  • Your visa for professional career training up to 12 months (the equivalent of the UK Year in Industry) will allow you to arrive 1 month earlier and leave 1 month later, enabling you to stay for 14 months max. For a travel and work visa, you will be allowed to stay for up to 20 months, with the actual travel and work visa period of 18 months.

Steps to succeed

  • Step 1: Find a sponsor (if you go via Parenthése, this is already done for you)
  • Step 2: produce a cover letter (BUT not the kind of cover letter you know). This one explains that you are a J1 sponsored student and its purpose is to reassure potential employers that they will not have to worry about any paperwork, and that you will be covered for USA health insurance (which could normally cost them typically around $300/month for a US intern) and a copy is on their website which you can adapt and edit.
  • Step 3: find an internship (this requires producing a résumé, which is a one-page CV, and a short email note to employers with the cover letter from Step 2, explaining that you wish to apply for the internship and outline your suitability in a short paragraph or two.
  • Step 4: Visa application is made when you have an internship agreed, as the documentation needs to include your details, those of your sponsor and the employer. It takes approx. 3 weeks to get a visa through the USA consulate. Visa fees depend on the duration of your stay, US employers sometimes pay the fees.

Helpful tips

  • Résumé: this needs to be one page only, no photo, no date of birth, but includes URL of university website and maybe your LinkedIn profile. Always send as PDF when completed. Tips and links on the website for producing one.
  • When making applications and for your resume use US spell-checker and become familiar with US vocabulary:
    • UK marks = US grades
    • Modules = classes
    • Scheme, placement = internship (any duration)
    • CV = résumé
    • Driving licence = drivers license
    • Speculative application = spontaneous application
  • American grades have a GPA (Grade Point Average) and the highest is GPA 4. Use the GPA calculator/converter on the Parenthése website.
  • To find an internship in the USA, you will need to be highly proactive. Use the links on the Parenthése website. Contact employers directly, making spontaneous applications (but don’t forget the sponsor cover letter).
  • Use LinkedIn (but tidy up your profile first)
  • Work on your USA applications every day, check sites subscribed to and invest at least 1 hour to 1 ½ hours per day. Employers generally tend to answer after about 1 or 2 weeks. If you have not heard, follow up after 2 weeks.
  • Check your emails regularly and answer incoming emails.
  • Establish that the internship is paid (needed for the J1 visa) by checking the employer name on Glassdoor (lists intern salaries and also interview questions). The average for US internships is around $2000-$2500/month which is suffient to live independently. http://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/index.htm
  • Sign up with a small number of recruiters, e.g. Simply Hired (upload your résumé) – links to this and sites below are on the Parenthése website.
    • Vault gives rankings of business internships
    • Google Maps is a great resource, as US employers also advertise in specific locations
    • Apply via employers’ websites:
  • UK companies are worth applying to directly and tend to be keen to employ students from the UK
  • US companies g. Union Pacific (railroad infrastructure) also pay housing and transport to and from work for their interns; some other US companies do this, too
    • If you apply to less desirable locations (in Omaha, Nebraska, for example as opposed to California, or New York, your chances improve. Living expenses would be considerably cheaper.
  • Interviews in the US are less formal, be yourself. Finish with a thank-you note.
  • Stay positive – there are over 370 Million people in the US, and many companies consider it prestigious to have international interns.

7. Writing a résumé for USA applications

These need to be a one-page document only. Essentially, the information is similar to that of a CV, but much more shortened. The key is to be as concise and to the point as you can.

A good starting point is this excellent advice and guidance provided at MIT, the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology based in Cambridge, USA. This will provide you with reliable information about how to write your résumé. Click here to read the information first.

MIT Example résumés – this is an embedded link on the site, that you may not spot straightaway, but provides you with some examples, so you can see how you can fit your information onto one page only.

At the very bottom of the information you will also find a handout with special tips.

Click here for the MIT Résumé Tips handout.

The US cover letter, by contrast to the UK cover letter, is very short, around half a page, and has no more than 3 paragraphs.