Finding an Internship

Depending on your situation and individual goals, an internship fulfils various functions. Among others, you will gain an insight into various areas of activity and tasks, test the skills you have acquired during your studies as well as abilities and competences beyond that, get to know potential employers or prepare your dissertation in an organisation or company. Whatever your goal, proper preparation is important, and the following steps are recommended.

1. Before you start looking, you should first ask yourself:

  • What are my interests and the focus areas of my studies?
  • Which special abilities characterise me?
  • What experience have I already gathered beyond my studies?
  • What is my personal motivation for the internship?

2. You should then think about the following:

a) Which areas of activity and tasks interest me?

You can use the following list as guidance:

  • Educational institutions (political education, extracurricular youth education, adult education, continuing education)
  • Foundations, cultural initiatives and societies, churches
  • Non-governmental organisations (at local, national or international level)
  • Associations and lobbies (trade unions, employers' associations)
  • Political parties and groups (at local, regional, national or EU level)
  • Administration / authorities / ministries (at local, regional, national or EU level)
  • International organisations
  • Press, media and publishing (print media, radio, online editorial offices)
  • Public relations, marketing, communication and advertising
  • Business, corporate and organisational consulting
  • Social science teaching and research institutions
  • Policy advice (campaigning, public affairs)
  • Market research and opinion polling, media and social research, official statistics

b) Do I want to stay in Germany or would I prefer to go abroad?

International Relations has compiled detailed information on the topic of internships abroad on its website. Possible contact points for an internship abroad are:

  • German institutions, organisations, etc. abroad (embassies, representations at international organisations, representations of the federal states, cultural institutions, international offices of foundations, charities, commercial enterprises)
  • International organisations (bodies and agencies of the European Union, programmes and organisations of the United Nations, OECD, OSCE, Council of Europe, etc.)
  • International non-governmental organisations
  • Companies, research institutions in another country
  • Transnational organisations

c) What are the formal requirements for a compulsory internship (scale, duration, recommended timing)?

d) What financial resources and amount of time are at my disposal for the internship?

4. You can now start looking for an internship:

Proceed in a suitably targeted manner and with sufficient lead time when looking for an internship and make use of various sources:

  • Job/internship portals on the internet 
  • Business directories
  • Professional associations
  • Personal contacts, etc.

5. Customise your applications for individual internships:

  • Find out about the organisation / company / institution
  • Read the corresponding advertisements carefully
  • Choose a suitable way to apply (telephone enquiry and application / unsolicited application / online application / conventional application)
  • In any case, make it clear:
    a) Why you want to undertake the internship
    b) Why you have decided in favour of precisely this organisation / this company / this institution
    c) Which skills you can contribute
    d) Which tasks you are particularly interested in

6. Interview

Here, it stands and falls with good preparation in terms of content. This will make it easier for you to appear confident. You should also make sure that you are dressed appropriately.

7. Internship contract

An internship contract is not mandatory, but a safeguard for both sides. Ideally, it should make reference to the following points:

  • Working hours, duration of the internship and remuneration
  • Tasks, areas of activity, workplace and equipment
  • Supervision, contact person and responsibilities
  • The intern's duties
  • The internship provider's duties (e.g. issuing a reference)
Image credits: CC0-licence-free image


Dipl.-Soz. Alexander Simon

Student counselling for B.A. programs in Political Science and Sociology / Student counselling for M.A. programs / M.A. admission / B.A./M.A. internship counselling 

Telephone: +49 069/798-36596


PEG Room 2.G 133

Open consultation hours:

Tuesday 11a.m - 1p.m.

Thursday 11a.m. - 1 p.m.

In lecture free time only on Tuesdays

Open telephone consultation hours:

Wednesday 11a.m - 1p.m.

or by individual arrangement

Department 03
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 6
60323 Frankfurt am Main