One of the biggest differences between taking a degree at a university and a degree at a university of applied sciences such as HFU, is the integrated internship semester.
An internship semester is a mandatory part of almost all of the bachelor's degree programmes offered at Furtwangen University. The semester in which this takes place varies from programme to programme.
The internship semester lasts 6 months. In a company a minimum 95 days of attendance are required. Students are supervised during the internship semester by a professor.
Every student must apply individually for an internship position but supervising professors will help out and offer tips. Many internship positions can be found on forums such as HFU Jobbörse (password required, for HFU members only). Students can also meet representatives of companies who offer internship positions at the HFU-organized careers fairs, the "Hochschulkontaktbörse" on the Furtwangen Campus and "Campus Day" on the Schwenningen Campus.
Those who would like to carry out an internship semester abroad, should start organizing it early. The International Center organize information events for internship semesters abroad every semester and can provide information about financial assistance, such as Foreign-BAföG and ERASMUS+ grants, or the HFU Semester Abroad with Kids scholarships for students who would like to carry out an internship semester abroad with their children.
Keep your ears open
Use your personal connections (family, acquaintances, former employers, etc.) and talk to other students. Some faculties also have information about past internships abroad - ask the person responsible for internships in your faculty and at the Faculty Office.
HFU Job Exchange
Use your FELIX log-in to check out the HFU Job and Careers Portal under "Internship abroad".
You can also send unsolicited speculative applications to selected companies. A well-worded email enquiry stating your degree programme and giving some information about your skills and the planned period of internship is enough to start with. Once the company has responded you should send the complete application documents which they request. The Global Business Database may be helpful in the search for suitable companies.
Attend (international) trade fairs and take your application documents with you. You can make contacts and collect company materials and business cards which could be useful later on.
On the DAAD website there is an extensive list of job exchanges and programmes for internships abroad. The job exchange of the government job centre (ZAV) ) also sometimes lists internship positions abroad.
German Chambers of Commerce Worldwide Network (AHK)
Some of the German worldwide Chambers of Commerce offer an internship placement service. Whether the service is offered in the country you wish to work in and how much it costs can be checked here.
LinkedIn and Xing
You can find suitable companies by using the search function "Unternehmen".
This platform offers students the opportunity to do internships through the ERASMUS+ Student Mobility - Foreign Internships (SMP) Programme. It aims to make it easier for them to find internships with European companies. Students can post information about themselves and their key competences as an ERASMUS+ intern, and at the same time organizations and companies can also post a profile and offer internships. In this way, students and organizations can contact each other directly on the ErasmusIntern.org platform.
You can also look for a suitable internship position when you are in the country, e.g. during your study semester abroad at one of our partner universities.
Internship Placement Agencies
Commercial agencies can vary greatly in quality and what they offer, so you should check very carefully before entering into any legally-binding agreement.
The application for an internship abroad sometimes looks a little different from German applications. It is important to be aware of the application requirements of the country you are applying to. The following will give you tips as to where you can get the information you need:
- On FELIX you can find guidelines on international applications (English, Spanish and French).
- Further information (in German) on writing an application in various different European countries can be found here.
- The so-called " Europass CV" is a standard format for a CV which is widely accepted in Europe. This can be completed online then downloaded.
Write in your application that it is a mandatory internship and that you retain your student status. This is an important criterion for some companies.
Send your application by email (saves time and money). Nevertheless it should be addressed to a particular person if at all possible.
For applications to the USA we recommend you also tell them that you will organize the J-1 Visa yourself. To be able to apply for a J-1 Visa, you have to receive a valid DS-2019 from an exchange organization. More information can be found on the websites of the following organisations TravelWorks and College Council.
If you are invited to an interview or telephone interview, it is very important to prepare yourself properly in advance.
You can find a lot of information online and in books about how to prepare yourself. We recommend you do a lot of reading on the subject and decide yourself what the best way is to prepare for your personal situation.
The following are the basic financing options for your internship abroad:
- Payment/salary through the internship
- Financial support by means of a funding programme/scholarship
- Personal financing (parents/savings)
The best option is of course payment for your employment in your internship company. Don't be afraid to ask your contact there whether the position is paid or not - after all you are working at the organisation and can request reimbursement for your efforts without having a guilty conscience.
However if the internship position is not paid or does not pay enough, you also have the possibility to apply to one or more of the funding programmes listed below. Read them through carefully to decide which of them are suitable for your internship.
The last resort is your own personal financing to cover the expenses of your stay abroad (e.g. travel costs or possibly higher costs of living in certain countries and cities).
What are the best-known funding programmes for internships?
Monthly funding with partial repayment. Application possible for mandatory internships of min. 12 weeks dependent on recognition of internship place by HFU. The HFU application documents are processed by the international or internship coordinators in each faculty.
Non-income related loan at inexpensive rates.
Study financing with income-related repayment
Mobility grant without repayment. Application possible for internships of min. 2 months in ERASMUS programme countries. Applications are carried out through the Centre for Coordination of Internship Semesters at the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences.
The following 3 documents must also be signed at HFU:
Information about other financing programmes and further information about the programmes above can be found here:
Once your have found a placement, the following organisational procedures must be followed:
Re-enrollment should be carried out at our university as usual.
Notification of internship semester:
The relevant form must be submitted to the Students Affairs Office (Studentische Abteilung)/Examinations Office (Prüfungsamt) or Academic Service Centre (Servicezentrum für Studium und Lehre) at latest by 1 March (summer semester) and 1 September (winter semester).
Applies only to non-EU States. Further information can be found on the consulate website of the particular country. For the USA and Canada there are various organizations which may be helpful, for example: Travelworks, College Council, Intrax.
If the company wishes to have an internship contract with you, this should be carried out between the company and the intern, without any involvement of HFU. If the company nevertheless demands a signature from the university, please contact the internship coordinator of your degree programme.
Please check carefully whether, and on what conditions, your current health insurance coverage is valid for an extended stay abroad. Within the EU and some other countries a social insurance agreement guarantees the same coverage as is normal in that country. You require the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which can be obtained free of charge from your health insurer. For all other countries, private international health insurance coverage must be obtained.
Private Liability and Accident Insurance:
Further information can be found on our information leaflet (German only) and on the website of Student Services Freiberg (Studentenwerk Freiburg). Please also be aware of the Information on German Statutory Accident Insurance.
Certificate of Mandatory Internship:
If you require confirmation that your internship is mandatory, please contact the personal responsible for your degree programme in the Examinations Office.
Please prepare yourself in plenty of time for the language requirements of your foreign internship and register at least one semester in advance for a language course at the HFU Language Center if necessary.
Current travel information:
Current travel information for individual countries can be found on the website of the German Foreign Office. German citizens are recommended to register in the Elefand crisis prevention list of the Foreign Office.
After you return - recognition of credits
The internship coordinator of your degree programme is responsible for recognition of credits gained during your internship semester abroad. Please follow the instructions given by the faculty on their webpages and in FELIX!