Imagine spending your summer or co-op semester gaining valuable professional experience within your STEM field of study, while also immersing yourself in a new culture. With a local support committee arranging your accommodations and organizing group outings, your time abroad is guaranteed to spur professional and personal growth. Does this sound like the experience for you? If so, keep reading to learn more about the IAESTE international exchange program.
IAESTE (pronounced “eye-ess-tay”), or the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experiences, is a global organization promoting intercultural exchange between students in STEM fields. Established in 1948, IAESTE now includes over 80 official member countries that collaborate to provide students in the STEM fields with paid, international internship opportunities. The program was established in the United States in 1950 and is administered by Cultural Vistas, a nonprofit exchange organization promoting global understanding and collaboration among individuals and institutions. Cultural Vistas develops international professional experiences that create more informed, skilled, and engaged citizens.
How Does It Work?
IAESTE provides international professional opportunities for students in the technical fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Architecture). Participants complete internships at host institutions ranging from large multinational corporations to university research centers to startups. All IAESTE participants receive a stipend that covers at least the cost of living –housing, transportation and food – in their host city. Housing accommodations and other administrative services, such as assistance with the visa process, are provided by the local IAESTE organization in the respective host country. Additional in-country support is provided by a network of local student-volunteers, who organize cultural activities and assist with logistics.
Who Can Apply?
Students in the technical fields looking for a way to combine the cultural immersion of a study abroad program with the professional development of an internship are encouraged to submit an application for the IAESTE United States internship program. Applicants should be enrolled full-time (or a recent graduate) in a technical field (STEM + Applied Arts including Architecture). International students at U.S. colleges and universities are encouraged to apply, as U.S. citizenship is not required. While the majority of IAESTE applicants are rising juniors or above by the time the internship begins, sophomores are also encouraged to apply. Fluency in English is required. More details on eligibility are available on our Application Information page.
How Do You Apply?
The application for international internships starting in 2022 is now open! Applicants will be asked to submit an initial online application as well as supporting documents (transcripts, proof of enrollment, letter(s) of recommendation, etc.). The online application and supporting documents, as well as the $100 application fee are due by December 1st, 2021.
Each January, the global IAESTE network meets for the Annual Conference, where member countries meet to exchange internship offers. A list of international internship offers is published for all applicants to review during the last week in January. After viewing the list of available internships, applicants can submit a ranked list of up to 5 internship opportunities. The IAESTE U.S. selection committee reviews each student’s application and internship preferences, and conducts interviews with the top candidates for each position. One student is selected as the nominee for each international internship placement. An alternate is also selected for each position, in case the initial selection declines the nomination or is unable to participate. Once a student accepts the nomination, their application is sent to IAESTE in the host country who conduct a final review of the nomination alongside the host company to ensure that the candidate is a good fit.
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*Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in an internship beginning in fall 2021 or spring 2022.
What Are The Benefits?
In addition to professional experience within your field of study, you will have an opportunity to gain unique insights into another country’s culture and professional dynamic. IAESTE interns receive a salary that covers at least the cost of living in their host city (housing, transportation, and meals). IAESTE provides assistance with the work authorization and visa process. Local Committees, volunteer groups of local university students in each host city, typically arrange the housing accommodations, coordinate your arrival and reception, and organize social gatherings that provide you with a chance to meet other international trainees and local students. Upon return to the United States, you receive access to the global IAESTE Alumni Network with over 9,000 members. Check out our Testimonials page for more information from our participants on the IAESTE experience.