Work While Studying Abroad

Work or internships abroad may sometimes be combined with study abroad (before, during or after), helping you to gain experience in a very different environment from that of the classroom.

Study Abroad Internship Programs

The easiest way to combine study abroad with a work experience is to choose a study abroad program that includes an internship or service-learning experience. See International Internships for more about study-internship programs.

Things to Consider about Working while Studying Abroad

  • Working abroad may provide a more immersive experience and can aid in achieving language fluency.
  • There may be additional fees (tuition) for study abroad internship programs or work placement programs.
  • Do not expect to finance study with part-time work. At best, it can provide extra spending money.
  • Carefully investigate whether and under what circumstances work is allowed by a specific country for foreign students who are studying abroad. Check with both study abroad program administrators, and with the country’s embassy, as one or both may forbid work by foreign students. Students may also need a work permit in addition to a student visa. Most embassies have information about working as a student or temporary work permits on their websites. For web sites of all foreign embassies in Washington, see the Electronic Embassy. For first-hand reports on working abroad, see Transitions Abroad magazine.
  • Working while studying at an overseas university can be difficult; students may have trouble balancing work and academics in a foreign environment.

Post Graduate Work While Studying Abroad

Fulbright is an example of a program available to support a year of overseas study (not necessarily for a degree) after graduation. U-M students and alumni should apply for the Fulbright through the International Institute.

Direct enrollment in a foreign university is a possibility for post-graduate studies. Tuitions for direct enrollment are low in some countries (low, for example, in much of continental Europe and many regions outside of Europe, but higher in popular destinations such as Britain, Ireland, and Australia). Student status may allow you to work part-time or during vacations in some countries.

The main disadvantage of attempting to work your way through an overseas university is that you may find yourself marking time, neither making headway towards a degree nor progress in a career. You would also want to be sure that a degree earned from an overseas university would be well-recognized in the U.S., as would be a degree earned from a U.S. university.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

See funding for work abroad positions that qualify as internships or are internships administered by a study abroad program.