An internship can provide useful contacts and a taste for what is coming after graduation. Many students complete at least one internship before graduation; for some it is compulsory. Most internships are in the public sector, typically in administrative tasks either in local and regional authorities or in ministries. One major example is ELSA, the world's largest independent law student association, with a membership of nearly 30,000 students and recent law graduates. ELSA sponsors STEP traineeships which enable law students and young lawyers to gain first hand experience of substantive and procedural law as well as the culture of another country.
Application for internships takes typically place in early spring starting as early as January but application dates vary. Because the number of interested students exceeds the number of university sponsored internships, students are encouraged to seek an internship assignment independently. The process is similar to looking for a regular job. Interns are usually paid, although not as much as regular employees. The tradeoff is that interns receive extra guidance and mentoring. It is also possible to arrange for academic credit from an internship. In addition, many companies offer young graduates the chance to participate in a trainee program. For more information about such opportunities, check the web pages of big international companies.
For internships abroad, The Centre for International Mobility (CIMO) is the best source of information. Applications for CIMO internship programs take place in February and October. CIMO also grants scholarships for internships in international organizations; application deadlines for these scholarships are on-going. Student organizations like AIESEC, IAESTE or ELSA arrange also internships for students. Most international organizations such as the United Nations, European Union or the Red Cross have their own internship programs.
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