Frequently Asked Questions
EPA Internships is here to help!
We offer internships in a wide range of fields, from business and politics, arts and education, communications and media, to health related fields, sciences, and more. The internships available depend on which site you choose and in some cases on your previous background in the type of work in question. We are constantly developing new placements in various fields, so please check with us if you are interested in an internship that you do not see listed on our materials.
All centers offer a program for both Fall and Spring semesters. The London, Brussels, and Bonn centers also offer an eight-week Summer program.
Interns going to Bonn, Cologne, Berlin and Madrid must be proficient in German and Spanish, respectively, apart from technical terms that are normally acquired reasonably quickly. We normally recommend at least two years of college level languages courses or the equivalent. No foreign language skills are required for the Brussels program as the courses are taught in English and students can intern for English-speaking MEPs or in English-speaking businesses. However, students who have a good command of any of the European Union official languages can possibly be placed with an MEP from that particular country. Bear in mind that your proficiency will improve.
We look for undergraduate students from the United States and Canada who are curious about the world, who enjoy new challenges, and who have a good academic background. Preference is given to those who can demonstrate open-mindedness, flexibility, and understand what it means to be a "team player." Most interns are juniors or seniors, but some second-semester sophomores may be eligible. Applicants for our programs normally have a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Very! First of all, the program's site director relies on this information to determine the most appropriate placement for you. Secondly, the prospective supervisor reads your documents very closely to learn about you, your experience, and your abilities, including how well you write. This will determine whether or not they accept you as an intern. Bear in mind that your application and supporting documents are the supervisor's first impression of you, so you should write and proofread it carefully.
Graduate students can apply to the Brussels summer program (internship only), and we are offering a Certificate in International Relations in coordination with Vesalius College for semester students. Due to strict visa regulations, all other programs require that students be matriculating undergraduates.
The internship is an integral part of our program, rather than an optional add-on. As such, we guarantee that you will have an internship. However, we cannot guarantee specific placements ahead of time as circumstances may change last minute.
At all sites, semester students work at least three days per week, depending on the needs of the organization. Many students work four days, taking two half-days off to go to classes. It is left to you and the person to whom you are assigned, to work out your schedule at the beginning of the program. Interns must be flexible; sometimes your projects will have deadlines, and you could be asked to pitch in extra hours with the rest of the staff. The hours are similar for summer students in London. They will also take a class on British Culture & Politics to satisfy visa regulations. Summer students in Brussels and Bonn work full-time, five days a week, and do not take courses.
The most important attributes are motivation, cooperation, open-mindedness, flexibility and a willingness to become involved.
Your success in your internship isn't necessarily defined by past work experience. Many of the skills needed for an international internship, such as flexibility, accountability and a willingness to help where needed, can be learned in classes or through activities such as community service. It's important to detail experiences on your C.V./Resume that show you can be a committed employee, even if the job was unpaid or short-term. It's also important to give the internship provider an understanding of what makes you tick, and how that relates to their organization.
Not necessarily. There are internships where enthusiasm and willingness overcome any lack of background knowledge. However, students who want a very specialized placement (e.g. medical research) would need a more relevant academic background than, for example, a history major, who chooses a theater internship. The final decision rests with the internship provider.
You may request a particular institution or department, but we cannot guarantee that it is where you will definitely be placed. While we are eager to match your interests as closely as possible, we may know of a place to which you will be more suited or which will offer you a better immersion into the field you've chosen. Or it may be that the place you have requested is unable to accept an intern at the time of the program. If you make a specific request, you must do so in a cover letter attached to your application. Likewise, you should not refer to specific institutions in your essay, because this makes it difficult to then send your documents to another placement.
Yes. Provided we are given enough notice, it is quite often possible to make special arrangements. It is best to enquire about this as you are applying. We also ask that students applying for a new field list one or two alternative fields in case the special request cannot be filled.
No. EPA programs are strictly academic internship programs. Most US institutions will only award academic credit for unpaid placements. Furthermore, government immigration departments have strict rules about this.
Your internship supervisor will submit an evaluation of your work performance. Depending on your credit-granting institution's requirements, you will be asked to submit an analytical journal, paper, or project based on your internship experience. Your credit-granting institution uses this information to determine a grade for your internship.
One variable that no one can foresee is how well the various individuals concerned in the internship will get along. If there is a clash of personalities or other serious problems, an alternative internship will be offered after mediation by the program site director. It is the student's responsibility to let the director know of any concerns. They will work towards a resolution together, but the final decision rests with the program director.
Placing a student in an internship can take anywhere from two weeks to three months, depending on the internship requested. All students will receive placement assignments shortly before they arrive. If you need to know your placement assignment in advance, for instance for credit approval purposes, you may contact EPA's US office, and they should be able to provide you with details of your internship placement. However, final confirmation of the internship normally depends on your first interview with your prospective supervisor.
See the "How to Apply" section for an explanation of affliated versus independent student applications. Academic credit can be obtained through the University of Rochester or Northern Illinois University if your home institution does not grant its own credit for our program.
If your university is an affiliate school of EPA you can go abroad with EPA and receive academic credit without issue. However, if your university is not an affiliate of EPA and your school will not recognize the credit, then you can choose to go through the University of Rochester for transfer credit. Going abroad through the University of Rochester will ensure that you receive full academic credit. In addition, students applying for transfer credithave the choice of getting their internship credit as a pass/fail or as an academic letter grade. If you wish to receive a letter grade you will then keep an internship journal, which will be graded by a University of Rochester faculty member upon completion of the program.
During the fall and spring semesters students will take two courses in addition to their internship, so students graduate on time. In most cases, students can even transfer courses for majors and minors by consulting with a department adviser. In addition, most students earn credit for the internship as well. The Study Abroad Office at your home university can guide you through the process of having your transfer credits approved.
There is a lot going on in London, Edinburgh, Brussels, Bonn, Berlin, and Madrid, too. Going away for a semester does not mean giving up all of the interests and activities you have on your campus. For example, musicians seek out venues to play, and athletes find teams to join. EPA students are enrolled at universities abroad at all Program Sites except those in Germany. At all locations students are able to participate in campus activities such as intramural sports or clubs. Your university will still be here when you get back - and you will have new perspectives on your university, the United States, and yourself when you return.
One of the unique things about EPA Internships in Europe is the wide range of majors that it can accommodate. Since students are enrolled at such prestigious universities as Westminster University in London and Edinburgh Napier University in Edinburgh, they can choose from a large number of classes in all different fields. In addition, EPA has placed students in internships in everything from theatre and fashion design to politics, medical research, and banking. Faculty advisors look favorably at a program where students not only take classes towards their major but can also get professional experience in their field.
EPA has program sites in English speaking countries as well as countries where you will be required to study and intern in a foreign language. Students who wish to intern and study in English can go to London, Edinburgh or Brussels. Students applying to the programs in Germany or Spain will be required to have a minimum of four semesters of college-level instruction in the host language or a demonstrated proficiency. Although there is no language requirement for Brussels, knowledge of French is helpful and certain internship placements do require four semesters of college-level French or a demonstrated proficiency. At the European Parliament in Brussels, internships can be arranged in other languages as well.
Students who have clearly defined interests such as graduate or professional schools can plan with counselors in their Study Abroad Office, their Center for Academic Support, and their Career Center. The professional and personal experiences a student gains while interning abroad far out way any negatives.
That is the beauty of the EPA Internships in Europe Program. Students who intern abroad highlight it on their resumes. Employers and graduate schools – yes, even medical schools - look for independent people who can adjust to new situations. Alumni emphasize how interested interviewers are in their international background and the work they performed in a European company, hospital, newspaper, etc. Career Centers also encourage these experiences. You will find EPA students who went abroad for a semester in all fields: professors, physicians, scientists, lawyers, entrepreneurs, journalists, writers, teachers, gallery and museum administrators, human rights activists, filmmakers, and academic administration, to name a few!
The fees for each program center are found on the dates and fees page. A portion of this fee is used to cover your housing costs. Your advance payment assures the immigration authorities in each country that EPA holds sufficient accommodation funds at the time of entry into the country. Depending on the program center, students may choose between shared apartments or homestays. The cost also covers your internship placement, orientation, and a Program Director who is available 24/7.
There is no fee to apply for an EPA Internships program.
Airfare, visa fees, daily commuting, meals, and personal expenses are not covered in the program cost..
Unfortunately, no. However, in many cases any financial aid you already have can be applied to the EPA programs. Your Study Abroad Office should be able to advise you. A variety of organizations and institutions provide scholarships and grants for study abroad from the United States. The following websites provide a good starting point for research on the many scholarship opportunities available. www.nafsa.org www.goabroad.com www.studyabroadfunding.org www.studyabroad.com www.fundforeducationabroad.org www.allabroad.us www.iie.org Gilman Scholarship (Must be Pell Grant Recipient to Apply) www.transitionsabroad.com www.aasapuk.org (Only available for semester students in London.)
The fact is, that for most students, a semester or a year abroad costs about the same as a semester at their home university. If you receive financial aid, it may transfer to the EPA Program if you go to an affiliate university. Advisers in your Financial Aid Office are there to help, and there are many special scholarships for which students may be eligible. (See above.)
Check your health insurance coverage to find out if you will be covered during your stay abroad, and whether any special conditions apply. Be sure you know how bills are paid in the case of a medical emergency, and how to access routine treatments. Many insurance companies will have you pay in full, and then reimburse you after you submit a receipt. Should you require medical attention abroad, it ill be necessary for to have sufficient cash on hand to make payment at the time of treatment since the foreign physician and/or hospital may not be able to process medical bills through an American insurance company.
If you need prescription medication, make sure that you have a sufficient supply to last while abroad, or plan how to get refills while you are away. It is often easiest to request a vacation size refill from the insurance company and have the larger prescription filled before leaving the United States. Remember that in foreign countries the exact prescription may not be available, and the mailing regulations may make it difficult to get a package containing medical prescriptions through customs. (Be sure to keep a copy of your prescription in a safe place in the US and abroad.)
EPA welcomes applications from all students. Once accepted, the process of facilitating appropriate accommodation for students with special needs can begin. EPA will respond as to how the accommodations can be met, so that the student can make an informed decision as to whether the accommodations will be appropriate. Also, please be aware that European cities are much older than cities in the US, and unfortunately, this means buildings may have more limiting barriers than in the US.
It is important to be honest when filling out the health questionnaire and the special needs form in the EPA acceptance packet. Studying abroad is a wonderful experience, but it is often challenging both intellectually and emotionally. If there are any emotional or mental health issues that may be a concern while abroad, letting the program director know in advance is important. We highly recommend that students speak with their care providers to make plans for continued service and for emergencies while abroad. The Program Director can also help the student locate a counselor or therapist if needed.
The housing situation for EPA students will vary by program site. In Edinburgh and London students are typically housed in a ‘flat’ or apartment with other students on the program. In Brussels, Madrid, and Germany students also have the option of a homestay.
No. The flats are fully furnished and usually have broadband internet service.
Meal plans are not available. Most students stay in flats, or apartments, and prepare their own meals. Students in home-stays often have breakfast and one meal per day provided.
Every Program Site has a responsible Program Director, available on 24-hour call in case of emergencies. That person is fluent in the local language(s), and in some cases, is a citizen of the country. They will guide students in the event of medical or other problems. Program directors manage everything from cultural questions, mediating roommate problems, helping students adjust to local foods, registering for classes on the program, or guiding students in the event of a crisis. The United States EPA Internships in Europe staff is always available for questions as well.
As an intern, your experience will naturally be different from that of most study abroad students who only take courses. You will have more regular contact with colleagues of all ages in the work place than with local students. However, EPA also makes provisions for you to take part in student life through the student unions and organizations at the local university as well.
EPA students are required to make their own arrangements for their flights to and from Europe. If students plan on traveling in Europe before the start of the program or are planning to arrive at the Program Site before the start date, they will be responsible for finding housing until the program begins. All students, except those studying in Germany, must arrive at their city of study by the day the program begins. All students attending a program in Germany will begin in Bonn with a two-week orientation where they are housed in a hotel provided by EPA. It is up to you to make sure that you understand the airline’s requirements for number of baggage items allowed, size and weight restrictions, and the rules concerning items that are allowed in carry-on or checked baggage, reconfirmation of flights, etc. Most airlines provide this information on their websites, and of course will be happy to answer questions on the phone if anything is unclear.
It depends where you are studying – and what your home country is. Please check out the Country’s Embassy site for details.
|Berlin, Germany||US Students – No Visa
Non-US students – Schengen Visa
|Bonn/Cologne, Germany||US Students – No Visa
Non-US students – Schengen Visa
|US Students – No Visa
Non-US students – Schengen Visa
|Brussels, Belgium||Higher Education Long-Stay Visa||US Students – No Visa
Non-US students – Schengen Visa
|Edinburgh, Scotland||UK Tier 4 Visa||No Program|
|London, England||UK Tier 4 Visa||UK Tier 4 Visa|
|Madrid, Spain||Student Visa||No Program|
International students can study abroad as part of their academic program through their homeinstitution. In order to maintain their SEVIS record and eligibility for re-entry in valid F-1 or J-1 status, they must notify their university’s International Services Office (ISO) in advance. A new immigration document will be issued to show that the study abroad is authorized. ISO will guide students and provide them with necessary information about maintaining valid immigration status.
Student travelers should have insurance to cover any loss of money because of trip interruption or cancellation, as well as loss of baggage and other property while traveling or living in overseas. In addition, we recommend that students consider purchasing personal liability insurance against injury or damage caused by or resulting from students’ acts or omissions during enrollment in any program. EPA Internships in Europe is not liable for damage or loss of personal property. Contact your insurance agent regarding property insurance.
We often remind students to take care of all business before they leave their home university. It is much easier for students to contact professors and staff members, obtain necessary signatures, and sign important forms in person, rather than from a distance. Here is a brief checklist we provide to students in their Pre-departure packet:
- Find out about the banking options in the host country. Inquire about international fees at your bank and notify them that the credit card or debit card will be being used in Europe.
- Meet with a counselor in the Financial Aid Office at your home university if you are receiving any financial aid (this includes need-based aid or merit awards, i.e. scholarships).
- Obtain course approvals for foreign language courses and for courses you wish to use towards your major, minor, or certificate. Verify with your home university that all of the courses will be accepted for transfer credit before leaving. If the university is not an affiliate of EPA inquire whether they will accept transfer credit as pass/fail, an academic letter grade or both.
Make several copies of your passport. Send a copy to EPA’s US Office. Apply for your visa. Research the city and country where you will be studying, as well as the place you will be interning. Forward your university email account to a web-based email provider such as Yahoo or Gmail. Visit yourschool post office to give a forwarding address and to maintain your school mailbox. Useful items and gift ideas for students going abroad Here are some suggestions that can be purchased on-line, or in stores that cater to travelers’ needs
TRAVEL GUIDE / MAP
“HEALTHY TRAVEL” GUIDE
PHOTOS OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS
DECK OF CARDS
ADDRESS LABELS FOR POSTCARDS
PHONE OR SIM CARD