Undertaking an internship and gaining relevant work experience is vital for students in today’s labour market; simply put, a degree alone is just not enough. More and more students are now taking summer internships, Easter internships, and sandwich placements. With many students now gaining internships to complement their degree, it begs the question whether having a degree and an internship is now enough! Much like a degree used to stand someone out from the crowd before the masses started going, does an internship and degree stand you out from the crowd now that the masses are doing that also? Perhaps not. That begs the question of how on earth can you stand out from the crowd?! Well, many students are now starting to undertake internships abroad to differentiate themselves from others.
But how does an internship abroad stand you out from just doing an internship in your home country? With many companies now being multinational and operating on a global scale, having a knowledge of a different culture is vital. If you have lived and worked in a particular culture for a period of time, can speak the language and understand the locals then that knowledge is gold dust for potential employers. You cannot break into new international markets or be successful in international market unless you understand the culture and the local people.
To undertake an internship abroad, you will more than likely need a contract called a ‘convention de stage’:
A convention de stage is a three-way contract between an employer, student, and a University. It is usually required for internships in France and Spain. The convention de stage stipulates the dates of the internship, the job title and general tasks. Convention de Stage forms are generally provided by a University – they will only be issued to you if you are pursuing a registered internship. The forms are available for current students or, at some Universities, current students AND graduates. A convention de stage provides mandatory supplemental workplace insurance. It has to be signed by the company representative, the university representative and the student.
A conventional de stage form should contain the follow information:
· Must include the start and end dates of your internship
· The name and address of the company you will be working for
· A contact name at the company
· Name of the degree you are studying/have studied (if a graduate)
· Year that you graduated or are due to graduate
· A signature from: the student/graduate; the host company; and the University.
To obtain a convention de stage form, students/graduates should contact their University. Once the student has obtained and completed the form, it has to be signed by the Academic Registrar and the host company.
Please Note: The document must be signed by the student and the host company BEFORE the University will sign it.