Cultural Vistas’ University of Michigan German Department Summer Internship Program in Germany provides students with unique and enriching opportunities to enhance their careers while experiencing life and culture abroad during their summer break.
Internship placements are available in a variety of fields and are customized to match students’ career goals. Many internships are paid and scholarships are available to qualified participants who receive unpaid internships.
A limited number of language course stipends are also available for those who qualify. Internship duration is typically two to three months, with most students completing a three-month internship.
- Assistance drafting a German resume (Lebenslauf)
- Customized placement in an internship in your field of study
- Pre-departure orientation seminar in April
- Financial assistance for unpaid internships through the Cultural Vistas Scholarship Fund (must apply separately)
- Work authorization for Germany
- Orientation seminar in Berlin with a free night in a hotel
- Language course stipend (apply separately, based on need)
- Housing assistance
- Support in Germany throughout the internship
- Reentry toolkit on marketing international experience to U.S. employers
- Enrolled as a degree-seeking student at the University of Michigan
- At least two years of university-level instruction in the field of your major
- Two years of post-secondary instruction in German or the equivalent (additional language training available if needed)
- Practical experience in your target internship field (summer employment, prior internship, lab position, etc.) does not need to be extensive, but is preferred. The more experience you have, the more desirable you are to a potential host company.
The total program fee is $750, including a non-refundable $75 application fee which must accompany your application. We cannot consider applications until the application fee has been received. Upon acceptance into the program, the remaining program fee of $675 will become due. Once paid, the program fee is non-refundable; however, should Cultural Vistas not be able to locate an internship position for you, you would be refunded the $675 program fee.
Participants are responsible for all costs incurred in-country, including costs related to securing housing, taxes, residence permit fees (vary depending on city), etc. Non-U.S. citizens are also responsible for any visa fees incurred in the United States. Please contact email@example.com for more information about typical costs and budgeting.
In April, we will conduct a pre-departure orientation seminar. Topics will include important program dates, what to bring with you to Germany, travel specifics, an introduction to the German workplace, and other topics related to your stay in Germany.
Upon your arrival in Germany, Cultural Vistas will conduct an intercultural seminar in Berlin before you depart for the city where you will complete your internship (tentatively Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2). Participants will receive details regarding the seminar in Germany as they become available.
Once you have been accepted to the program, Cultural Vistas will find an internship position with a host company in Germany in the field determined during your interview. While some placements are secured quickly, the placement process usually takes a few months. German work culture includes more vacation time, more sick leave, and complicated hierarchies, all of which may lead to a lengthy decision-making process. Cultural Vistas has established partnerships with many companies, but we also conduct research and reach out to new organizations when necessary. Participants can help by being proactive: update your materials as required, research and contact companies on your own, follow up with suggested company contacts immediately, and always keep Cultural Vistas informed of everything that may affect your internship placement.
Internships are available with all types of companies: small family-owned businesses, medium-sized companies, multinational holdings, research institutions, and non-profit or government organizations. Many of these companies are experienced in accommodating foreign interns and have been working with Cultural Vistas and the Internships Abroad team for years. We cannot guarantee placement at a company of a specific size. While a “big name” will certainly look good on your resume, smaller companies also offer excellent internship experiences. A smaller organization can offer more personal contact and participants can gain a broader overview of the company’s overall operations. Keep in mind that while the host company placement is important, you are an integral part of your internship experience.
Host companies are located all over Germany, from large cities to small villages. Since matching a company with a trainee is a delicate task with many factors involved, we cannot guarantee any regional preferences. If location is of major importance to you, we strongly encourage you to research and contact companies in that region directly in coordination with Cultural Vistas. Our priority, however, is to find an appropriate company match, regardless of location.
Tasks for interns are as diverse as the companies and the participants. Some companies will expect interns to work more independently, while others prefer to supervise their work closely. Though it will be your responsibility to negotiate the details of your daily work environment, we will try to assist you whenever possible. Your Lebenslauf will be sent to several companies in your field. Some companies might choose to contact you to conduct an interview, most likely in German, before offering you an internship position. Always keep Cultural Vistas informed of all company communication! We expect you to be open-minded and consider every offer carefully. Keep in mind that you are a foreign student competing with hundreds of native Germans for internship positions. In addition to gaining professional experience, you will have a firsthand opportunity to be a part of German culture and dramatically improve your language skills. Even if the internship itself is not exactly what you imagined it would be, please remember that you will return home with invaluable personal and professional experiences.
The standard program duration is three months, from late-May/early June through August. Tentative internship start dates are June 4 and June 25 (for those participating in a language course), and the end date is August 24; however, we have a flexible schedule and can accommodate any start and end dates between May and August. Participants will be informed of all dates and times (including the orientation seminar in Germany) as soon as they are confirmed.
Many internships are paid. Compensation varies by industry and will either be approximately EUR 200–600 per month, or approximately EUR 100–200 per month plus free housing. This compensation should cover basic expenses, such as transportation and food. Some unpaid internships might offer free housing or assistance with transportation or food. You should be able to provide additional funds for travel expenses, emergencies, and incidentals.
Just like in the United States, most internships with non-profits and cultural or government institutions are often unpaid. Cultural Vistas will inform you upon acceptance to the program if an unpaid internship seems likely so you can make an informed decision.
A limited number of stipends is available through the Cultural Vistas Scholarship Fund to offset the cost of living expenses for those with unpaid internships and/or financial need, regardless of industry. Scholarship application materials will be provided to those who qualify and we are proud to share that all participants with unpaid internships who applied for funding have received aid for the past several years.
Tax deductions from your gross income may amount to approximately 30%, depending on the amount of compensation. Participants are responsible for all taxes and may be eligible for a partial refund of taxes paid. Please contact a tax professional for more information.
You must have health insurance during the program. All participants are required to purchase Travel Abroad insurance through the University of Michigan. Proof of insurance is required prior to the program start. Please note: Some host companies may also enroll participants in German health insurance.
Many participants know where they will be staying before the program starts. Please note, however, that it is ultimately your responsibility to secure housing during your internship. You will receive guidelines for finding housing in Germany from Cultural Vistas before you depart. Finding housing in a foreign country is certainly a challenge; however, we consider it an important part of the internship experience. Most companies will help if you ask for assistance. If the company is unable to assist you, please contact Cultural Vistas immediately. We will try to help whenever possible. Remember: if you don’t tell us that you are experiencing problems with finding housing, we cannot do anything for you! Please note that you might need to confirm housing arrangements personally or sign a contract. Cultural Vistas cannot be responsible for housing arrangements that fall through due to a participant’s failure to follow up.
All travel arrangements and expenses within Germany, including those related to the orientation seminar, are the responsibility of the participant. While we understand that you want to see as much as possible during your time in Europe, please note that this is not a summer work/travel program. Participants are expected to spend the entire duration of their program completing their internship. Weekend trips to learn more about Germany and the German culture are of course encouraged.
How to Apply
Applications must be submitted online by December 1.
Note: Students interested in an early decision regarding acceptance are welcome to submit applications well in advance of the deadline. For those applicants, we will schedule interviews within two weeks of submission of a complete application.
Please click the link below to request a password to the online application. Requesting a password does not mean that you have completed the online application process. After you have requested an application you will receive a username and password to access, complete, and submit an application. You may preview and edit your application at any time until you have clicked on the “Submit” button. To preview your application, click “Print Version.” When editing your application, please be sure to click “Save” before exiting to ensure that all data is saved. We encourage you to print a copy of your completed application before submitting it. Please note that once an application has been submitted it is considered final.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We encourage you to submit the majority of your application materials online. However, should you encounter any difficulties in uploading your application materials, please feel free to mail them to the address indicated below, or as an email attachment to email@example.com. The complete application must be submitted by 12:00 am (Eastern Time Zone) on the day of the application deadline, including any letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc. mailed separately.
Application materials to be submitted:
- Professional Photo (example)
Your photo should be the same size and format as a passport photo, taken from the shoulder up in front of a monochromatic background. You should wear business attire. The picture can be taken with a digital camera but should be good quality.
- College Transcripts
- Resume in English
- Letter of recommendation from a current or former employer. Recommenders can email letters or PDFs directly to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or they can mail hard copies of the documents to our New York office.
- Recommendation form to be completed by a German professor or instructor
Recommenders can email the PDFs directly to us at email@example.com or they can mail a hard copies of the document to our New York office. Please use only this form.
- Copy of the picture page of your passport (example)
- Verpflichtungserklärung (Formal Obligation) (example)
This document verifies support by a third party, typically a parent or guardian. The form is a necessary step for acquiring your work authorization and must be submitted even if you support yourself financially. Please use only the form linked to on this website.
- Certificate of Enrollment
This document must be signed and stamped by the registrar at your university. We are unable to accept forms printed on university letterhead. Please use only the form linked to on this website.
- Language test
You will need Adobe Reader to submit the language test as part of your online application. Please type your answers directly into the language test and save it as a PDF file before uploading it in the Document section of the online application. If you experience problems filling out the test electronically, please complete it by hand, scan, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lebenslauf (example)
This is the German equivalent of a resume. Please see our example for more details. Your German resume should reflect the same skills and experience as your English resume.
- Application Essay
Your application essay should be one full page in English (1.5 spacing, 12pt font). In three paragraphs, please describe:
- The reason you would like to intern in Germany
- The field in which you would prefer to intern
- The type of work you would like to do
- The skills and experience you have to offer a host company as an intern
- $75 Application Fee
You can mail a check to our New York office made out to “Cultural Vistas.” Once you have submitted the online application, we can send you an invoice if you prefer to pay online with a credit or debit card. Please email email@example.com to request an invoice.Please note: The Cultural Vistas application fee of $75 is due at the time of application; the program fee of $675 will be due upon acceptance to the program. Applications will not be processed until the application fee has been paid.
- Letter from your college or university if your internship is mandatory
If you are completing a mandatory internship as part of your degree please provide a letter stating that the internship is mandatory.
All hard copies of materials can be mailed to:
Attn: Internships Abroad
440 Park Avenue S, Second Floor
New York, NY 10016
We encourage you to submit as much of your application online as possible.
Germany Visa Info
What is a visa?A visa is a document that allows one to enter and stay in a certain country and stay for a particular period of time for a specific purpose.
Do I need a visa?
- US citizens do not need visas to enter and intern in Germany; they are able to enter and stay in Germany for up to three months with a valid US passport. In order to complete an internship, all participants will require a work authorization. As a participant in an internship program in Germany, Cultural Vistas will secure your work authorization on your behalf. We will also provide you with detailed information to guide you through the bureaucratic steps you will need to take once you arrive in Germany. Participants who will remain in the Schengen Zone for more than three months will need to apply for a residence permit at the local Ausländerbehörde (participants will receive more information regarding these steps after acceptance into the program).
- Non-US citizens are responsible for obtaining their own visa as required by the German authorities. To determine whether you will require a visa to enter Germany, please visit the website of the Federal Foreign Ministry of Germany (in German or English). In order to obtain a visa, you will have to make an appointment to visit the German consulate responsible for your region of the United States.
Step One: Schedule an Appointment
Once you know which consulate you will need to visit, you can typically schedule an appointment on the consulate’s website (see links below). Most consulates in the United States have two visa appointment categories: tourist and employment. Although you will be in Germany as an intern, you will make an appointment for a tourist visa, not an employment visa. By the time you visit the consulate, we will have already secured your work authorization (Arbeitsmarktzulassung) from the German government allowing you to live and work in Germany for the duration of your internship; you will simply need the visa for permission to enter the country. An employment visa is designed for those entering Germany to work at a full-time position for an extended period of time, not an internship. The procedure for the tourist visa most closely matches your purpose for entering Germany.
As available appointment times fill up rather quickly, it is important that you schedule the appointment as soon as you have paid your program fee. Visa processing time is usually one week, and we recommend making an appointment for two weeks prior to your departure to Germany.
Please keep in mind that you will need to have your work authorization with you at your appointment. Because work authorization is issued for specific internships, we cannot provide you with your work authorization until you have received your internship placement. Therefore, if you book an appointment that is too early, we will be unable to provide you with the necessary documents. An appointment more than four weeks before you depart for Germany may not allow enough time for your work authorization to arrive.
Step Two: Gather the Necessary DocumentsIn addition to the documents required by the consulate, you will need the following documents from Cultural Vistas with you at your appointment:
- A scan of your work authorization (Arbeitsmarktzulassung)
- A support letter describing our organization, the program, and your purpose in Germany
- A copy of your Certificate of Enrollment
- A copy of your Verpflichtungserklärung
Step Three: Visiting the ConsulateWhen you visit the consulate, please have all required materials together in a folder or envelope. Be sure that they are neat and organized. We also recommend having two high-quality copies of each document in a separate folder or envelope. (For the passport, this means the photo page containing all of your data.)
Please contact us with any questions or concerns at any time while acquiring your visa. We are here to help!
German Consulates outside the United StatesIf you are an international student who will travel outside the United States before going to Germany, you may wish to make your visa appointment in another country. Please be advised that various consulates may have different policies and procedures. Please contact these consulates directly for any questions you may have. Cultural Vistas cannot provide information on processing times and procedures for appointments made at consulates outside of the United States.
LinksGerman Consulates General in the United States
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between studying and interning abroad?
Beyond the obvious difference of studying in a classroom vs. showing up to work each day, an internship abroad can be much different than studying abroad. While most university programs host a group of students traveling abroad together, an international internship is a much more independent experience.
You will be responsible for finding housing, showing up to work on time each day, and navigating the challenges of living abroad. Of course, Cultural Vistas is here to help throughout your time in Germany, and our Berlin office is open during regular work hours for in-country assistance. While the independence can be intimidating at first, many of our participants come away from the program amazed at how much they were able to accomplish and experience abroad. From growing close to their German coworkers, to taking a first solo trip, each person finds a way to make the experience their own.
Do I need a visa?
U.S. citizens are able to enter and stay in Germany for up to three months with their U.S. passport. If participants remain in the country for more than three months or complete a paid internship, they need to apply for a residence permit at the local Ausländerbehörde once in Germany. More information on required bureaucratic procedures in Germany is provided in our pre-departure mailing.
Non-U.S. citizens are responsible for any visa required by the German government. Cultural Vistas will provide non-U.S. citizens who need a visa for Germany with supporting documents verifying their participation in the program.
Will I need to pay taxes in Germany or the United States?
Tax deductions from your gross income may amount to approximately 30%, depending on the amount of compensation. Participants may be eligible for a partial refund of taxes paid. Unfortunately, due to legal issues, Cultural Vistas cannot offer tax assistance to its participants.
Are graduating seniors and recent graduates eligible?
We are unable to accept applications for graduating seniors and recent graduates. Participants in the program must be enrolled at a U.S. or Canadian (for Canadian citizens) college or university for the duration of their internships. If it is possible to extend your graduation date to accommodate this requirement, we would be happy to invite you to apply. You may be interested in the Independent Work Abroad Program in Switzerland, which is open to graduates.
Does Cultural Vistas offer scholarships?
Scholarships are available through the Cultural Vistas Scholarship Fund for those who have already been accepted into the program. All eligible participants will receive a scholarship application via email. Scholarships are available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the United States (Green Card holders). Priority will be given to participants with financial need and to those with unpaid internships.
Where will I live during the program?
It is your responsibility to secure your own living arrangement. Finding housing in a foreign country is certainly a challenge; however, it is an important part of the internship experience. Most companies will help if you tell them that you need assistance. If the company is unable to assist you, please contact Cultural Vistas and we will try to help you whenever possible. You will receive guidelines for finding housing in Germany from Cultural Vistas before you depart. Popular housing options include shared apartments with other students or interns.
What is involved in the application process?
Complete an online application by clicking the “Request an Application” button. After submitting background information about yourself, we will email you a password granting you access to our online application system.
After submitting a completed application, all supporting documents, and the application fee payment, Cultural Vistas will schedule telephone interviews with all qualified candidates. During this telephone interview, we will make an assessment of your abilities, language skills, and career goals and will answer any questions you may have.
After a successful interview, you will be formally accepted into the program and we, in cooperation with our in-country partner, will begin the search for an appropriate internship.
How does the placement process work?
After reviewing your resume and conducting a telephone interview with you, we will have a solid understanding of your strengths and professional interests. Based on this information, we will begin contacting suitable potential host companies throughout Germany. Location preferences will be considered; however, the priority in the placement process lies in securing the best possible internship, regardless of location.
Cultural Vistas staff maintains close contact with our participants throughout the search until a host company is found. This process can take anywhere from two weeks to several months after acceptance into the program. Your personal resume and previous experience coupled with each employer’s respective schedule often dictates how quickly a position can be found.
Am I involved in the internship search?
Cultural Vistas will work diligently to find a placement for you; however, proactive participation from your end is strongly encouraged, though not required. You may approach potential host companies independently or offer contact information to us throughout the search; however, it is essential that you inform us of all outside contact.
Will I receive a refund if I am not offered an internship?
Yes. All fees paid (less the $75 non-refundable application fee) will be refunded in the unlikely event that you are accepted into the program and an internship is not found for you.
Cultural Vistas will work with each participant to see that they receive an internship most suited to their interests and capabilities. Previous work experience coupled with the chosen field of work will influence the availability and ease of finding a position.
What are the benefits of an internship abroad?
Interning abroad gives you the unique opportunity to explore a new culture, improve your language skills, and gain intercultural competence all while boosting your resume and gathering professional experience.
Many articles about the benefits of interning abroad can be found online, but perhaps most important are the long-term effects on your career. Whether it’s standing out from the crowd while applying for your first entry level position, or having the opportunity to transfer to another country mid-career because of your previous internship experience, your internship abroad will only continue to pay off down the line.
What kinds of companies offer internships?
Internships are available with all types of companies: small family-owned businesses, medium-sized companies, multinational holdings, research institutions, and non-profit or government organizations. Here are a few examples of companies where we have had participants in the past: BMW, KHS, Bundesministerium für Gesundheit und Soziales, Robert-Koch-Institut, Siemens, Fleishman-Hillard Germany GmbH, Lufthansa Technik AG, Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut, SolarWorld Innovations GmbH, and TIO – Treff- und Informationsort für türkische Frauen.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but should give you a good idea of the types of companies Cultural Vistas works with. To request a more complete list of previous host companies, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Cultural Vistas cannot guarantee that you will intern at any of the companies listed here. We will do our best to locate the best possible internship for you, based on your previous work experience, language skills, educational background, and interests.
Are the internships paid?
Many internships are paid, although each situation is unique and it is ultimately the host company that will make this decision. Compensation varies by industry and will either be approximately EUR 200–600 per month, or approximately EUR 100–200 per month plus free housing. Much like in the United States, internships in technical fields are generally paid, while internships for those with a liberal arts background tend to be unpaid. A limited number of scholarships are available through the Cultural Vistas Scholarship Fund, for qualified participants.
What is a customized placement?
We conduct our internship search based on your level of experience, academic background, and professional interests as discussed during your interview. We do not have a set number of pre-determined internships that need to be filled. Instead, we look for a placement until an appropriate internship has been found. While we do have established partnerships with a number of organizations and companies, we conduct new research each year as required. Your desired internship will be discussed during the interview portion of the application process.
Do I need to speak German?
The language requirement for this program is two years of post-secondary language instruction in German or the equivalent (previous study abroad, etc.). We will conduct a language assessment during the interview process to determine whether you would benefit from enrollment in an intensive German course prior to your internship. A limited number of language course stipends are available for those who qualify. Participants are responsible for the costs of any language courses they choose to pursue independently, though Cultural Vistas is happy to enroll students in a language course in Germany (at an additional cost).
How much is the program fee and what does it cover? What additional costs can I expect?
The program fee of $750 includes internship placement with a German host company, a pre-departure orientation mailing, two orientation seminars (one in April, the second upon arrival in Germany), work authorization and assistance with other bureaucratic matters, support throughout the program in Germany and in the United States, and a reentry toolkit upon completion of the program. The participant is responsible for airfare, housing, meals and transportation within the host country.
Additional costs for a language course may apply. Four-week language courses including a homestay and breakfast are available at a cost of about $1,900 (varies based on the current exchange rate).
Please note that all participants are required to purchase Travel Abroad insurance through the University of Michigan.
Do I need insurance coverage?
All participants are required to purchase Travel Abroad insurance through the University of Michigan. Participants will receive further details in the spring.
What is the duration of the program? Can I extend my internship?
The duration of the University of Michigan German Department Summer Internship Program in Germany can range from two to three months, depending on the participant’s wishes, schedule and language skills. Typically, the program consists either of a two- to three-month internship OR a one-month language course plus a two-month internship.
The program runs from late May/early June to August. It is possible to extend the internship in coordination with your host company.
The work authorization associated with the program can be extended to a maximum of twelve months in total and is only valid for the internship for which it has been issued.
Will I receive school credit for my internship?
Credit is given at the discretion of the University of Michigan. Be sure to speak with a coordinator at the University of Michigan before beginning the internship to arrange proper credit. Cultural Vistas is able to provide a letter certifying participation in the program should the University request it. Please email email@example.com for assistance.