What are some Financing Options?
Strategies for funding your international internship
You have made the decision to seek an international internship. You understand the value that this important educational experience will provide to you in terms of expanding your career potential and your personal development. So what’s standing in your way? If you are like many prospective interns, the answer may be money.
While everyone’s personal situation is different, there are a number of strategies you might want to consider for funding your internship. Here are some of the options you should consider:
1) Work it: If you can, it is best to get the money the old-fashioned way: earn it. If need be, put in the extra hours and put the money into a special account. Remember, this is an investment in your future!
2) Personal savings: If you have the money put away already, congratulations: you have it made.
3) Help from your parents: We know that your parents may have already spent a small fortune on your education, but they have done so because they want you to succeed. If you consider an international internship to be an important component of your resume, you may be able to convince your parents to fund the program outright or to loan you the money.
4) Help from another relative or close family friend: Many young people have a relative, perhaps a grandparent or an aunt or uncle, who might have the financial means and the willingness to help pay your program fees. While it may be intimidating to approach a relative to ask for money, consider that they may be thrilled to have the opportunity to help you. You may want to ask for the program as a graduation gift. Your relative may be relieved to have a gift to give that they can truly feel good about, as compared to giving you a cash gift that you might squander away.
5) Look for scholarship opportunities: There are some grants and scholarships available that may be available for Intern Abroad programs. LivFund offers scholarships for internship programs in certain Latin American countries. The Fund for Education Abroad offers numerous scholarships each year that you might also be eligible to apply for. Also, don't forget to check with your school's student financial aid office. You may be able to transfer your financial aid package if you are receiving credit for your internship.
6) Reach out to your community: You might want to consider approaching community organizations about a grant to fund your internship. In particular, you could approach your church or synagogue. The local Rotary International organization is also a good group to check with as they are known to support international programs for young people. Be creative here. You might be able to tie the organization’s support to your promise to come back and share your knowledge with the group or the community when you return.
7) Ask your employer: Have you had a part-time job for a long period of time? Would your employer consider funding or helping to fund your Internship as a show of appreciation for years of service? Or if you are already in a professional employment situation, you may get your boss to chip in because of the added value you will bring back to the workplace at the conclusion of your internship.
8) Get a personal loan: Banks are not nearly as willing as they once were to loan money. In spite of this fact, it is still possible that a bank might still lend you the money. This may require that you have a co-signer for the loan such as a parent, or perhaps an established sibling. It may well be worthwhile to inquire. Check with your local banks. You should probably start with whatever bank you currently have an account with as they already know you as a customer and might be willing to help you out.
9) Break out the plastic: Do you have room on a credit card or can you get a new credit card to fund or help fund your credit card? As mentioned above, credit is tight these days, but banks do still offer credit cards. Again, you might need a co-signer on the account but this can be a serious option. Check out thiswebsite from Visa with a listing of student credit cards that you might be able to secure.
10) All of the above: Many of our successful interns have had to scrap together the money for their program, and that sometimes means combining many of the options from above. You might be able to earn some of the money yourself while getting a portion from your family and a portion from a community organization. Be creative and be persistent. As the saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way.