How to find the right internship for international students?
Gaining an internship in New Zealand is a great way to kickstart your future career and make you more competitive in the local job market. Internships are one of the best ways for international students to explore their field of study and gain first-hand work experience.
How internships work in New Zealand
For many international students, internships with New Zealand organisations are an integral part of their course. They may be compulsory or optional, and full-time or part-time. Internships often take place over two or three months of the New Zealand summer holidays, which run from November to February. Internships in New Zealand can be paid, unpaid or pay expenses only. Many places in New Zealand offer internships, including government agencies, large corporate businesses, professional associations, industry training boards and the not-for-profit sector.
Finding an internship
Some students may have their internship organised by the education provider where they are studying.
Other organisations also help students gain Kiwi internships, such as:
- Summer of Tech, which offers students full time, paid entry-level IT and design jobs from mid-November to mid-February. Interns have a mentor to guide them as they kick-start their tech careers.
- Dunedin’s business internship programme, gives tertiary students the chance to gain paid work experience with innovative local businesses. Usually, one in every two interns is offered jobs with the business at the end of their internship.
- AIESEC, which is a global internship programme operating in more than 120 countries with over 70,000 active members. As well as offering international internship opportunities, AIESEC offers intense practical experience in many areas to complement studies.
- Intern NZ and New Zealand Internships support local and international students to find meaningful work experience across all industries in New Zealand. There is a fee associated with their services.
There’s lots of career support available for international students through their education provider, including help with job searches.
Who can get an internship?
Student visa holders may be allowed to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week during term time, and full-time in holidays. They’re also allowed to work to meet the practical experience requirements of their courses. Students should check Immigration New Zealand regulations before seeking work while they study.
Kia ora tatou, my name is Kate and I’m a fifth-year student at the University of Auckland, studying a Bachelor of Global Studies and a Bachelor of Arts. This summer, I’ve been interning with Education New Zealand | Manapou ki te Ao in the Marketing & Communications team.
Internships are an incredibly valuable way to gain work experience, meet new people, make career connections, and here in Aotearoa, New Zealand internships are almost always paid, which is a major bonus! They normally run over the summer months, from around the end of November to the end of February, finishing up in time for university to begin in March. Larger companies typically hire a cohort of interns, so you’ll often get to meet and work with other like-minded students during your internship. Internships are also normally open to both domestic and international students, so I highly recommend you apply to any and all that seem interesting to you!
During my summer here at ENZ, I’ve created marketing content like blog posts, Spotify playlists, advertisement carousels, managed internal and external communications, and more. Because I was recruited through the Ministry of Education (MoE) internship program, I’ve also had the chance to work with the cohort of MoE interns and get a glimpse into work at the Ministry as well. Through this programme, we’ve had the opportunity to meet with Ministers, tour Parliament, shadow teams within the Ministry, and connect with potential future employers.
There are heaps of internships out there, but sometimes it’s difficult to know where to look.
Here are some ways you can find out about internship opportunities:
- Keep an eye out on your university emails and noticeboards around campus – sometimes internship opportunities are emailed out by faculty members, or posters are put up on pinboards around uni.
- Check out Student Job Search – it’s a great website to search for current job listings.
- Email your lecturers or faculty members. If there is a particular course or subject that you really enjoyed, you can email the lecturer and ask if they know of anywhere that is hiring or that could be valuable to apply for.
- Similarly, you can also email companies or businesses that you’re particularly interested in – the worst that can happen is they don’t reply to your email, and the best is that they offer you experience or knowledge.
In New Zealand, it’s common for people to apply for internships in their second year of university or above – so don’t feel stressed if you’re just starting uni and don’t have an internship, or don’t know where to look! Some people even do several different internships throughout their studies, which gives them the opportunity to try working in a variety of fields.
This summer at ENZ has been my second internship: my first was a remote internship that was focused on industry research and reporting. My biggest piece of advice is to apply for any opportunity you can, relax and be yourself in interviews, and always ask for advice or feedback afterward. Best of luck!
About the contributors
Kate Falloon is a fifth-year Global Studies and Arts student at the University of Auckland, and a summer marketing intern at Education New Zealand | Manapou ki te Ao.