Imagine spending your summer, or co-op semester, gaining valuable professional experience within your STEM field of study while also immersing yourself in a new culture. With a local support committee arranging your accommodations and organizing group outings, your time abroad is guaranteed to spur professional and personal growth. Does this sound exciting to you? If so, keep reading to learn more about the IAESTE international exchange program.
IAESTE (pronounced “eye-ess-tay”), or the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experiences, is a global organization promoting intercultural exchange between students in STEM fields across the globe. IAESTE was first established in 1948, and now has more than 80 official member countries that collaborate to host and send students abroad for technical internships each year. During the internship, students travel to host countries in the IAESTE network where they complete paid internships at companies, universities, and research organizations. The program was established in the United States in 1950 and is administered by Cultural Vistas, a nonprofit exchange organization which develops international professional experiences that empower people to drive positive change.
How Does It Work?
IAESTE’s goal is to provide international professional opportunities for students studying in technical fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Architecture). Participants complete internships at private institutions, universities, and research centers around the world. IAESTE participants receive a stipend that generally covers at least the cost of living in their host city. Housing accommodations and other administrative services, such as assistance with the visa process, are provided by the IAESTE organization in the respective host country. Additional in-country support is provided by a network of local student-volunteers, who organize cultural activities and assist with logistics.
Who Can Apply?
Adventurous candidates in technical fields are encouraged to submit an application for the IAESTE United States internship program. Applicants must be enrolled full-time in a technical field (STEM + Applied Arts, including Architecture) at an accredited four-year university in the United States. U.S. citizenship is not required. Applicants should be rising juniors or above by the time the internship begins (sophomores are also encouraged to apply), between the ages of 19-30, and fluent in English. More details on eligibility are available on our Application Information page.
How Do You Apply?
The application for the 2016 program will open in September 2015. Applicants will be asked to submit biographical information and some university documents (transcripts, proof of enrollment, etc.), and a $75 application fee to apply. Each January, the entire IAESTE network meets for the Annual Conference, where member countries meet to exchange internship offers. By late January, a list of available internship offers are published for all applicants to review. After viewing the list of available internships, students are encouraged to select up to five internship offers for which they will be considered. IAESTE United States is responsible for reviewing each student’s choices, conducting interviews with the top candidates for each position, and nominating one student for each international internship position. Once the student accepts the nomination, the host country and company conduct a final review of the nomination to ensure that the candidate will be a good fit.
Click here to apply now.
What Are The Benefits?
In addition to professional experience within their field of study, IAESTE students have an opportunity to gain a unique insight into different techniques used across the globe. Students will receive a salary that generally covers at least the cost of living in their host city (housing, transportation, and meals). Local student groups (Local Committees) generally arrange housing and organize social gatherings for all IAESTE interns in the host city to meet each other. Upon return to the United States, students are admitted into the worldwide IAESTE Alumni Network with over 9,000 members and benefits such as alumni events, job postings, and much more. See our Testimonials page for more information from our participants on the IAESTE experience.