1. Erasmus? IAESTE? Something else?
There are so many programmes offering help with finding internship or work abroad. Some of them offer scholarships or help with accommodation, etc. If you do not want to be alone in this mess you should apply for some of those programmes. Erasmus is offering scholarship, but it is not that helpful with finding you the internship. IAESTE provides paid internships for students with technical degree. Find the one that suits you, there are so many more.
Searching all over the world or even all over Europe for internship might sound great at first but it is not. There are too many options, too many opportunities and too many problems connected with not focusing on smaller units.
Decide on a few countries or maybe even better to focus on a few cities where you would like to do your internship. This will make it a lot easier for you. Try to pick a city where you think (or know) you will feel good, somewhere where you would love to spend a few months and a few back-up cities that are still so amazing as the first choice.
3. CV and motivational letter
For any kind of job hunting you need CV and motivational or cover letter. For international internship you need the one in English. There are tons of tips and templates of CV’s, maybe your university has some kind of career centre, where they can help you with perfecting your CV and cover letter. It is important that your CV looks great and that your employer will immediately see your competences and experiences, as they receive hundreds of applications for job or internships every day. You want yours to stand out. Put all your effort when writing CV and cover letter, check spelling, grammar, give it to few people to read it before you send it.
Linkedin is professional social network and it is important that you use it. Make your profile, write down all your experiences even volunteering, skills, independent courses, awards, etc. It can also serves you as template for you CV. Always add link to your Linkedin profile in your CV, because it can be easily updated, when your send pdf CV cannot be. Joining this social network has some other advantages as well, such as joining groups, connecting with potential employers, searching for internships and later jobs, etc.
When you decided on the city and you have basic idea on what you want to do try to find all the possible information that you can think of. Ask friends if they know someone who went there for more insight information. Connect with Erasmus students on your faculty or pay a visit to an embassy or consulate of the chosen country, maybe they will be able to provide you with some contacts of companies searching for interns. Your previous working experience can also be helpful as they can write you reference or maybe even provide you with some contacts of their partners.
6. Make a list
Make a list of companies, organizations, NGO’s, etc. where would you really like to work. At first it should not be too long, ten is more than enough. Think why you want to work there, what can you learn and what can you offer them. Write that down as it will help you write a good cover leter.
7. Send mail
Now you have your CV written and you found 10 organizations where you would like to work. Check if those organizations have recruitment office and send mail directly to them otherwise send to information mail or to anyone with contact on their website. In motivational or cover letter you have to write why exactly do you want to work there and what do you want to do. It is important for the employer to know what you want to do. Attach CV in pdf format and send. Wait for the answers.
8. Do not give up
You will probably receive negative response or you will not receive any respond at all. This happens more often than you can imagine. Do not give up then. It is important to keep your spirit up. If they turn you down write polite respond and thank them for their time and consideration. You can also ask if they know someone who might be searching for interns. Usually they will send you some contacts.
9. Be persistent and/or repeat
If you did not receive any answers from organization try to contact them again. They are very busy and sometimes they forget about your application. Make sure they remember you. Be polite, ask if there are any news regarding your application, thank them again and wait. Again. Try to contact your organization through social media, such as Linkedin or even Facebook.
Find new organizations from other cities where you would like to work and contact them. Check your university website, maybe they also post some of the adds for internships in other countries.
10. Positive answer
Once you get your positive answer you still need to be persistent. It is not enough they say yes, because usually you will need some paperwork to do and this takes time. If they do not answer you for a long time, remind them by sending them short mail. Provide them with all information they might need. Do Skype interview with them so you will get to know each other better.
I hope these tips will help you land your dream international internship.