How to organize a placement

Compared to a classical exchange semester, a placement in a foreign country offers the opportunity to gain practical skills in addition to the experience of going abroad.

1. Finding an institution

Depending on your personal interests there are different strategies to find a suitable institution. You can give priority to
  1. a special (kind of) institution (university, research institute, company),
  2. a particular country or
  3. a certain city
to start your search.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Approach your university teachers to make use of their contacts to companies and/or universities abroad.
  • Search online on internship platforms. Attention: Some internship platforms may be run by professional agencies that demand high charges but do not guaranty a highly qualified placement.
  • Contact German companies that have affiliated companies or cooperation partners abroad.
  • Contact companies or university institutions matching your research/work interests in your desired country or city.

2. Making contact

You should contact the head of the department and/or lab you selected via email. Send a short cover letter (in English or the local language) that provides information about the purpose of your request (looking for a placement), your time window (when are you available) and your motivation to address exactly this institution. Always attach a CV concentrating on your relevant (practical) skills.
Tip: The longer your internship can last, the better the chance to get a positive answer (starting from 8 weeks or more).
Attention: It may take a long time to make contact: expect approximately two answers from ten requests. It may be necessary to send your request a second time to get any reaction.

3. Funding

If you have a positive answer for a placement you need to see for funding possibilities. First of all, you may ask if there is any financial support from your hosting instituition, e.g. direct payment or care for housing or travel expenses. You can find out more about further funding options here.

4. Preparations

Before your departure you should take care for several important points: