Below is the CAPA International Internship Application Guide. It will guide you through the internship portion of the application and provide you with helpful resources such as a sample cover letter and resume. Reviewing and following this guide now will position you to have a strong internship application CAPA will be able to present to your future internship site. Your Program Advisor will reach out to you for missing documents and edits, so make sure to review the guide carefully!
Why Do an Internship Abroad
How to Fill Out the Online Internship Application
Required Supporting Documents
How to Write a Resume
How to Write a Cover Letter
How to Request a Letter of Recommendation
How to Obtain a Police Background Check
Demonstrate flexibility and courage in unfamiliar surroundings.
Having an internship as an undergraduate is commendable. Having an internship in a different country is exceptionally so. By stepping out of your comfort zone, you’re proving to future employers that you’re willing to take on new challenges and that you have learned how to be flexible and hardworking no matter the setting.
Gain cross-cultural communications skills.
Your coworkers and supervisors may come from a myriad of different countries, cities, and cultures. As an intern, you will learn not only how to perform in your job duties, but also how to effectively communicate and coordinate with people whose backgrounds may be quite different from your own.
Learn about your field from a different perspective.
No matter what field you are planning to work in, different cultures bring different perspectives. By working and learning alongside people from another country, you will learn things you never knew about your chosen field of study. The way the Chinese approach business; the way Australians approach medicine; the way Brits approach marketing; all of these experiences will expand your education beyond the American classroom.
Stand out from the crowd in the competitive job market.
Getting that first full-time job is not as easy as it used to be. International work experience can really jump off the page and impress that first set of eyes that is looking at a student’s resume. When you are called in for an interview, your international experience may even be the first thing the prospective job site wants to hear about.
Build relationships with international references.
At the end of a successful internship, you will have a supervisor and maybe even multiple coworkers who can act as references for your uture job search. By doing an internship abroad, you are naturally expanding your professional network and increasing the possibilities for future employment.
Find further immersion in local culture.
Most students name “getting to know locals” near the top of their lists of goals for study abroad. One of the best ways to make these connections is to have a work experience. Not only can your coworkers provide new perspectives on your chosen field and workplace culture, but they can also become great contacts to support your future career.
When you start to fill out your general program application you will be asked if you plan on participating in an internship. If you answer yes upon completion of the general application, you will be directed to fill out the CAPA online internship application, also named the experiential learning application.
The CAPA online internship application form is designed to give the Internships Team as much information about you as possible. The more detail we have about your experience, interests, and aspirations, the more closely we can match you to an appropriate site. How you fill in the form is therefore essential.
Follow this step-by-step guide and you will have a complete application.
Make sure that the correct experiential learning choice is selected.
Make sure that the correct program is selected (CAPA center, your school, etc.)
Please list any course work or experience gained through your degree that is relevant to your internship goals.
List all courses taken that are relevant to your internship areas by course title. Do not list courses by course number. Remember to include courses relevant to any of the three areas of interest you have listed. Do not just concentrate on your first choice. It can be helpful to expand on the course title if you have learned or worked on any projects you feel align with your internship areas of interest.
Please list 3 examples of employment or extracurricular involvement demonstrating responsibility. Include a description of your duties.
Give as much detail as you can about the kind of experience gained in each position where you have worked. Do not simply list a job title. Use bullet points for each specific duty and skill required in each role. Where possible, relate your experience to your areas of interest.
Internship for Any Place Ltd (Marketing Dept)
Organized a mail shot to prospective company clients
Created and updated client database
Made follow up calls
Participated in business meetings and researched clients and competitors on the internet
Assisted with day to day administration
Publicity Officer for Any Place University Debating Club
Organized and planned meetings
Media liaison with University newspaper and television
Special event planning and co-ordination
Reporting to committee
Cashier Any Place Groceries
Greeted customers and assisted them with their purchases
Kept shelves stocked and ensured the store was in a clean and tidy condition
Opened up on certain occasions and often counted cash and closed store
Maintained a customer data base
Please list your desired areas of internship in order of preference.
This is the MOST IMPORTANT section of the application form. Your options may be severely limited if you do not fill out each section carefully.
The following examples below are an example of how NOT to list your choices as the list is too broad and vague. This list reflects the choices of a student who hasn’t really decided what they want.
If Marketing was your primary area of study, you SHOULD choose which aspect of it most interests you. Then offer some generalized alternatives for your second and third choices.
The following list below is a good example of how to complete your choices to help the internship team focus on your specific interest in your field.
Never be overly specific however, as this offers the internships team no scope.
Examples of What NOT to Do:
- Fashion Marketing for High End Retail Chain
- Fashion Marketing Department Store
- Fashion Marketing For a High End Brand
- Accounting – Private company
- Accounting – Public company
- Accounting Department
*Extra details surrounding a preference for specific industry areas, ex: Fashion, Entertainment, Sport, etc. are helpful for the internships team to be aware but cannot always be accommodated.
Never quote specific companies as a choice. If you have a particular company in mind, mention it only as a possibility. For example: Theater (if possible with the RSC or Gate Theater).
Be aware that certain internships are only available to students with previous experience in the field. Internships within high profile corporate companies, for instance, are extremely competitive and only the top applicants with the most extensive experience can be considered. Internships in creative fields such as journalism, broadcasting, graphic design and theater, etc., do not guarantee creative input. Creative fields do, however, require you to submit an electronic portfolio containing samples of your work. If you are applying for internships in any of these fields, please make sure you read the “Realistic Expectations” section of this handbook following the sample application.
What are your future career plans and how will your internship placement area relate to these plans?
Be as informative as you can, be but be open. If you have no specific aspirations, say so. If you have a very clearly defined career path, let us know that also. The more information we have, the better our match will be. Have reasonable expectations, though. Internships abroad are very different from what you may have experienced elsewhere, and some steps you may be anxious to take to advance your career may just not be feasible within the internship environment.
My career plans are to go into the marketing field but I have not yet decided in which direction I want to go beyond that. I find events marketing and planning particularly interesting and would ideally like the opportunity to see how the industry works first hand and also gain an international perspective. I feel that the opportunity to expand my knowledge of the communications field will be beneficial to my career and I would enjoy the chance to explore areas that I have not yet encountered. Public Relations, for instance, is a field I have considered as a possible career option.
What type of duties do you expect to be given?
All realistic expectations will be met by any of our sites. The type of internship will vary, however, depending on the site and your particular assignment. Some sites offer team projects, others offer individual projects and still others will offer experience helping out on a day-to-day basis. Some will involve client contact, some may not. If you have a particular preference for the type of work you want to do, let us know and we will do our best to meet your expectations.
I anticipate doing fairly straightforward tasks to begin with in the hope that as I demonstrate my ability I will be given more complex work. Assisting a professional on a specific project would be an ideal way to learn and develop my skills. I would hope that I would be given as wide a variety of experiences as possible although I would of course expect a certain amount of “grunt work.”
If you are seeking a political placement, how important is it that your site reflects your political beliefs? Please give an indication of those beliefs if applicable.
Be clear if you have any strong beliefs that might affect your placement. If this question is not applicable to your internship site, you can leave this blank.
Please provide any additional information that will assist us in locating the most appropriate and rewarding placement for you. Include any special skills you may have i.e. computers, languages, strengths, personal qualities, etc.
Tell us everything that may be a selling point, such as: computer skills, languages, academic prizes, and particular interests. It will be of interest to our placement sites if you have lived or studied abroad or visited this country before.
French (6 years)
I studied in France for a semester
Strengths and Skills:
Good Problem Solver
Public speaking, tennis, reading, theater and politics
Read this carefully and then mark “I agree” at the end of the agreement.
Additional notes and documents
Mark “I agree” and “Yes” where asked to complete the application. Use the file upload section to attach the necessary documents to your application. The list of required documents is provided in a checklist.
If you cannot scan and/or upload your documents electronically, please send physical copies to the CAPA Boston Office: 65 Franklin St., Boston MA 02110
Save and Continue
Click on save and continue. The next screen will show you your internship application. If you need to edit your application, click on “Internship” on the left side menu under number 2 and then click “edit” at the bottom. When you are finished with your internship application, click onto step 3 on the left side menu to complete your CAPA online application.
Along with your completed online internship application you will be required to upload the following documents to your application:
2 Letters of Reference (One Academic and One Professional)*
Police Background Check
University/College Transcript (This can be unofficial but needs to be current)
*Please refer to the specific pages that reference these documents for more information. And if there are any questions please call the CAPA student services line at 1-800-793-0334.
A resume is a summary of your education, skills, accomplishments and experience that a potential internship site will use to help gauge whether or not you are fit for a particular position. Following are some guidelines on how to create a resume to accompany your internship application, and a sample for your reference. It is not necessarily the only approach, but has proven to be the most effective in CAPA’s experience with our placement sites.
Resume Length: Your resume should be no longer than one page in length. Include relevant and important accomplishments, but do it in as few words as possible. A vigorous, concise resume will be examined more carefully than a long winded one. Graphics are a distraction so avoid using them.
Font: Use a standard font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier no smaller than 10pt, and no larger then 12 pt.
Bullet Points: These make lists easier to read and give your resume a sense of cohesion.
Graphics: Graphics are a distraction so don’t use them unless it is appropriate to your industry and executed in a professional manner.
Be Positive: If you achieved something, say so, but don’t exaggerate to the point of misrepresentation.
Proofread: Proofread all documentation. It is often helpful to have a second set of eyes review your work. We encourage you to utilize career services at your college/university.
Be consistent: Ensure the layout, punctuation etc. is consistent throughout. For example: if you put a period at the end of a bullet point, ensure you put one at the end of all bullet points.
A good cover letter is an important part of the internship application process. Your cover letter may make the difference between obtaining an internship interview or having your resume ignored, so it makes good sense to devote the necessary time and effort to writing an effective cover letter. A cover letter should complement, not duplicate your resume. Its purpose is to interpret the data-oriented, factual resume and add a personal touch creating a critical first impression. Below is a step-by-step guide to writing a cover letter designed to help simplify what can sometimes seem a daunting task.
Heading Start with your name in bold, 12-16pt font. Include your e-mail address under your name (11-12 pt font). This exact same heading, (including the same font, text size, spacing, underline, etc) should appear at the top of your resume.
Address Place your college address on the right of the paper and your permanent address on the left.
Body Font Use 11-12 pt font for the body of your document.
Begin the letter ‘To whom it may concern’
The first paragraph should state what you are studying including your major, minor, and any concentrations, and give some indication of the type of internship you want. Do not be too specific here and never mention the name of a specific company, instead generally state what you are looking for. Being too specific can greatly limit your possibilities and could cause you to miss out on a great internship.
The second paragraph should give your reasons for wanting to do an internship in the fields you have listed on your application and why specifically in the country in which you will be interning.
The third paragraph should focus on your strengths. Any relevant academic experience and relevant work/internship experience should be covered, as well as any personal qualities you feel will be an asset to your placement.
Finish off with a short sentence thanking the reader for their consideration and time.
Proofread carefully for grammar and content. Also use spell check! It is also good idea to meet with a professional development counselor on campus, who can assist you in this process.
CAPA requires applicants to provide two letters of recommendation to accompany your internship application. CAPA prefers that students provide 1) one recommendation from an academic reference such as a professor or school administrator, and 2) one recommendation from a current or previous employer. If you have not been previously employed, you can obtain a letter of recommendation from a volunteer supervisor or provide a second academic recommendation. Ideally, these letters will be submitted on letterhead and with a signature.
Your academic recommendation letter should include comments on your class performance, your intellectual abilities and your potential to be a successful intern. Ideally, you will want to ask a professor with whom you have successfully worked with recently and who knows your capabilities, either through classroom interactions, conversations outside of class, or a research project that you have completed. Some professors are willing to write recommendations for students who have done an excellent job in a large lecture class, even if there was little personal interaction. If you are applying for an internship where a foreign language will be required, have a professor write a letter attesting to your language level and comment on your potential to use the language in a professional setting.
Your professional recommendation should come from a former employer or someone who has been a supervisor for a volunteer project in which you have participated. If possible, you will want to choose someone who has known you for a while, and is familiar with your abilities, skills and aspects of your personality, that will contribute to your prospective international internship placement.
Making your request
Writing an effective recommendation takes time and effort, however most professors and mentors are happy to do this for well-deserved students/employees. It is important to make your request well in advance—at least three or four weeks before the deadline. Meet in person, if possible. Visit your professor or former employer during office hours or by appointment. This creates an opportunity for this person to get to know you better and allows time for questions that will help when writing the recommendation. Moreover, seeing you in person will make it easier for your professor to recall previous interactions with you.
When requesting a letter of recommendation tell this person about the internship program, why you are applying and what you hope to learn. Then explain that two letters of recommendation are required and that you were wondering if this person would recommend you for the program. You can submit your letters of recommendation in your application in the same place you upload your other documents (cover letter, resume, etc.) Alternatively, your recommenders can submit the letter directly to your program manager to upload to your application.
Some ways to word your request might be:
“Do you feel that you know me well enough to write a recommendation for me?”
“Do you think I would be a good candidate for this program and, if so, would you be willing to write a recommendation?”
“I’m applying for an international internship placement and believe they will be interested in (ex: my performance in your class, the research I’ve been doing). Would you be willing to write a recommendation for me?”
When someone has agreed to help you, make the job easier by offering to e-mail him or her information about the international internship program and why you are applying. You might provide a brief description of the program and a paper or exam you wrote for the instructor’s course (preferably the copy that was returned to you with comments), or a brief one-page resume.
As the deadline approaches, send the person writing your recommendation a courteous reminder. Afterward, send a brief thank-you note. Keep this person informed as the competition proceeds.
Once someone has written a recommendation letter for you, s/he will generally be willing to adapt and update the letter for other purposes in the future. It is always a good idea to keep a copy of this letter in a safe place for future use.
If your request is declined; perhaps s/he doesn’t know you well enough; your academic performance in his/her class was not strong enough, or you haven’t allowed adequate time. Don’t worry this is not the end of world; it just means you need to ask someone else. In some cases, someone who declines to write a recommendation may be willing to offer suggestions for identifying others who would be more appropriate for you.
It is always wise to collect letters of recommendation from supervisors of any professional or volunteer positions you hold. After you complete your international internship, this will be a new opportunity for you to ask your supervisor for a letter of recommendation that can be used to enhance your candidacy for future application.
What is a police background check?
A police background check is an official document that states whether or not a person has a criminal history (i.e. has this person been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor?). The actual document itself can vary from state to state and from city to city. Some police stations require fingerprints to be taken, while other police stations simply run a check on your name and provide a one-sentence statement on the police department letterhead based upon the results.
Why do I need a police background check?
Just as some educational institutions and places of employment require background checks, internship sites ask that students provide them with this information to ensure that the potential intern has good standing in their community and does not have any outstanding criminal charges.
Where do I get a police background check?
Visit your on-campus police or local police station in your town. Explain that you are required to submit a background check in order to participate in an internship abroad. The process varies between police stations, but often times you will be required to present yourself in person and pay a modest fee to have this police check performed ($5-$20), while in other locations this is done free of charge.
If further questions arise concerning your police background check or any other aspect of your CAPA program please do not hesitate to call the CAPA Student Services Line at 1-800-793-0334
Top tips for professional email communication. This is applicable not only to correspondence with your site supervisor, but with your home university, CAPA and professors and supervisors moving forward!