How To Get An Internship In Germany?

Germany is a top choice among international students seeking professional experience abroad. And those looking for an internship opportunity abroad, the country is just as worth it. This article serves as your comprehensive guide on how to secure student internships in Germany. From visa requirements to the best cities to settle in, we’ve got you covered.

Why Choose Germany for Your Internship?

Germany has earned a stellar reputation for its internship opportunities. Let’s explore what makes it an attractive destination for international students.

1. The German Economy: A Stability and Innovation Hub

Germany boasts one of the strongest and most resilient economies in the world. Known for its precision engineering, cutting-edge technology, and robust industries, it offers a plethora of internship opportunities across various sectors. From automotive giants like Volkswagen and BMW to tech powerhouses like Siemens and SAP, Germany’s corporate landscape is a goldmine for budding professionals.

2. Exceptional Education Institutions

Germany is home to some of the finest universities and research institutions globally, offering a diverse range of courses and programs in English. As an international student, you’ll benefit from a top-notch education while having access to extensive networking opportunities that can significantly enhance your internship experience.

3. Cultural Richness and Diversity

Beyond academics and work experience, Germany boasts a culturally rich environment that encourages personal growth and global awareness. Exploring historic cities, indulging in delectable cuisine, and experiencing diverse festivals are just a few of the ways you can immerse yourself in the German way of life.

Can international students do internships in Germany?

The burning question on every international student’s mind: Can foreigners intern in Germany? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”, and this whether you are an EU or non-EU citizen. Germany is not only open to international students seeking internships, but actively welcomes them. In fact, the country’s strong economy and diverse job market make it an ideal place for young talents to gain hands-on experience. And to make this dream a reality, you need to get acquainted with a few crucial details. This consists mainly to getting a visa and more likely a work permit. We’ll delve more on the subject in the requirements section.

Popular Industries for Internship in Germany

Germany’s diverse economy allows students to get internships in various sectors. Whether you’re passionate about robotics, art history, environmental science, or anything in between, there’s a spot for you. But let’s break it down a bit further:

Engineering and Technology Internship In Germany for International Students

Renowned for its innovation and precision engineering, Germany is a hotspot for aspiring engineers. Companies like Volkswagen, Siemens, and Bosch frequently recruit interns to work on cutting-edge projects. Whether you’re studying mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or even aerospace engineering, there’s an internship waiting for you. 

Finance and Banking

Frankfurt, often referred to as the “Financial Capital of Europe,” is home to numerous financial institutions. Aspiring finance professionals can gain valuable experience in this bustling city. While considering the idea of internship in Germany, think finance, marketing, and international business.


With a strong automotive industry, Germany offers internships with car manufacturers like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. Furthermore, interns have the opportunity to participate in the development of world-class vehicles.

Medical Internships in Germany

Germany is a global leader in medical research and healthcare. For medical students and aspiring doctors, the chance to intern in this medical haven is a golden opportunity. From hospitals to research institutions, you can gain hands-on experience in various medical specialties. 

Read here our guide on medical studies in Germany.

Hospitality and Tourism

With over 80 million international visitors annually, the demand for skilled professionals in the hospitality industry is substantial in Germany. You can undertake internships at renowned names in the industry, such as Kempinski, Steigenberger, or Meininger Hotels. An internship in hospitality management in Germany isn’t just an opportunity to learn, but a chance to start off at some of the world’s top hospitality institutions.

Internship Locations: The German Hotspots

Germany isn’t just one big internship hub. It’s also a patchwork of lively cities, each offering a unique experience. Here are some of the top spots where international students can make their plans to intern in Germany a reality:

Internship in Berlin, Germany: The Cultural Capital

Berlin is a melting pot of creativity, making it perfect for those studying in arts, media, and tech. The capital city is a hub for startups and tech companies, offering numerous opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. It also boasts a dynamic atmosphere and a rich cultural scene. 

Munich: Engineering Marvels

Munich is a paradise for engineering and technology students. It’s also the home place to giants like BMW and Siemens. With a strong economy, Munich is also a hotspot for finance internship. The high quality of life and stunning landscapes it offers are a bonus.

Frankfurt: Germany’s Financial Hub

If you’re studying finance, Frankfurt is Europe’s financial epicenter. With several global banks based in the city, Frankfurt is perfect for finance and business internships.

Hamburg: Maritime Opportunities

With its bustling port, this city in northern Germany is perfect for students interested in logistics, shipping, and international trade. You can therefore easily find internship opportunities in these fields in Hamburg. 

Requirements and Eligibility Criteria for Internship in Germany

Before you start packing your bags, let’s talk about the paperwork to prepare for internship purpose in Germany:

1. Student Status

To qualify for an internship in Germany, you typically need to be a registered student at a recognized institution. This status allows you to obtain the necessary visa and work permits required for your stay. Ensure therefore that your enrollment is up-to-date. But also, check that you meet the country’s specific requirements.

2. Language Proficiency

Germany is a global hub for engineering and technology. English is therefore widely spoken in professional settings. However, your proficiency in the German language can significantly enhance your internship prospects. Moreover, many companies prefer candidates who can communicate effectively in German. So consider taking German language courses to boost your skills.

3. Visa and Work Permit

Before embarking on your internship adventure in Germany, it’s crucial to understand the visa requirements. Most international students will need a training / internship visa. Also, depending on your nationality and the duration of your stay, you may need a work permit in addition to your visa for internship purpose. Moreover, things would be a bit smoother for you if you’re already residing and studying in Germany when applying for an internship. 

EU Citizens

If you are an EU citizen, you usually don’t need to apply for any work permit. However, if your internship requires you to stay more than 90 days in Germany, you need a residence permit. For that, you should visit the local Foreigners’ Office (Ausländerbehörde) or Citizens’ Office (Bürgeramt) within 2 weeks upon your arrival in the country. 

Non-EU Nationals

For non-European students from countries like Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Korea, New Zealand or the U.S., the same rules as for EU citizens apply. Those from other countries and who come from outside Germany need to register for a Study-Related Internship Visa to be able to undertake an internship. Moreover, the internship must be part of an agreement with a German entity.

On the other hand, if you already live in Germany with a student visa, you already have the right to work 120 full days a year, or 240 half-days. However, you still need to apply for a work permit, and make sure also to check out what your visa allows you to do. Along with this visa, you also need a health insurance coverage, which is compulsory for anyone working in Germany. 

Process to Securing an Internship in Germany

Now that you’re ready to head to Germany, let’s talk about what it takes to make it happen:

1. Define Your Goals

Start first by clarifying your objectives. What do you hope to achieve through your internship? Are you looking for hands-on experience in a specific field, or do you want to explore various aspects of your chosen profession? Understanding your goals will guide your decision-making process.

2. Research

Begin by researching potential companies and organizations that align with your field of study. Websites, career fairs, and university resources are valuable tools for this task.

Needless to say, selecting the appropriate internship program is crucial to your success. To make an informed decision, consider your career goals, interests, and the specific skills you wish to acquire during your internship.

3. Craft an Impressive Resume

Your resume is your ticket to securing interviews. Tailor it to the German market by highlighting your skills, relevant coursework, and any prior international experience.

Be sure to include a captivating cover letter that showcases your motivation and passion. Additionally, ensure it’s free of errors and professionally formatted.

4. Consult Your University

Reach out to your university’s career center or internship office. They often have valuable insights and connections with companies in Germany. Moreover, they can help you find accredited programs and navigate the application process.

5. Networking

Tap into your network. Connect with alumni or professionals who have interned in Germany. They can provide valuable advice, recommend companies, and share their experiences, helping you make an informed decision.

You can also attend networking events, join student organizations and connect with professionals on platforms like LinkedIn. 

6. Browse Online Platforms

Another way to find internship listings is also through internship or work placement platforms. As a matter of fact, there are nowadays more and more websites dedicated to abroad internships.

And the good news is the work is already cut out, making the process of finding an internship way much easier. Not only they provide job listings, but some also offer advice or tips on how to secure the best internship position for you. 

You can start with the following websites to find some internship positions in Germany: 

7. Apply Early

German internships can be competitive, so apply well in advance. Most internships have specific application deadlines.

Pro-tip: Initiate the visa application process at least three months before your intended start date. Moreover, be meticulous in completing the application form and ensure all requirements are met.

8. Duration Matters

Consider the length of the internship. Longer internships, typically six months or more, often provide a more immersive experience and are more likely to be paid.

Shorter internships, on the other hand, can be a great way to get a taste of the industry. However, they may offer less in-depth learning. Also, duration will determine the visa type you need to register for. 

9. Visa and Documentation

Research the visa requirements for your country and gather all necessary documents. First, ensure you have a valid passport and health insurance coverage. Other documents you need to provide include a letter of internship confirmation from a German company.

If it’s not supported by the German entity, you’d need to provide a proof of financial means. And lastly, you need a proof of accommodation arrangement. 

10. Prepare for Interviews

Practice your interview skills, as many companies conduct interviews via phone or video conferencing for international applicants. Also, make sure to make the right impression even before the interview.

Carefully read the internship descriptions provided by companies and make sure your application perfectly complies to all the requirements of the position you’re applying to. 

Are There Paid Internships in Germany for International Students?

Now, let’s address the burning question: “Do interns get paid in Germany?” In Germany, the approach to intern salaries is a bit different from what you might find in other countries. While not all internships are paid, the good news is that many of them are!

Paid Internships

The reason behind this generosity lies in Germany’s strong labor laws and its emphasis on fair treatment of employees and interns alike. It’s not uncommon for German companies to offer paid internships.

This is especially the case in fields like engineering, IT, and business. These stipends can vary widely, with some covering basic living expenses and others being more modest.

Now, the key to landing a paid internship is often tied to the duration of your stay. Longer internships, such as those lasting six months or more, are more likely to come with a paycheck.

Additionally, the level of specialization and skill required for the role can also influence whether it’s paid.

How about Unpaid Internships?

It’s worth noting that some internships, particularly those in creative fields like art or media, may be unpaid. In these cases, companies often compensate interns with valuable experience, mentorship, and the chance to build a portfolio. 

So, while not all internships in Germany come with a paycheck, the opportunity to work in a dynamic and highly-regarded professional environment can be worth its weight in euros. Plus, the experience gained during your internship can open doors to well-paying jobs down the line.

Before accepting any internship, always clarify the compensation terms with your prospective employer. And remember, whether you’re getting paid or not, the experience you gain on your internship in Germany will serve as an investment for your future career.

About Herilalao

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