This article is the third in our series about foreign internships. Following are some very helpful tips, shared by Ashish Goel from IIT Roorkee. Ashish interned with TU Darmstadt, Germany, in the summer of 2005.
When, who and how to e-mail:
- When you are looking for internships and going through the websites of institutes, also take the contact details of the secretary. Sometimes the applications are handled by the professor’s secretaries, especially at places which offer official internship programs. So, you should also contact the secretary of that division/institute asking about internships. Usually they forward your application to the concerned person. Include all details in these applications as well. Also attach the resume.
- After a month or so, you should send reminders to all those who did not reply to your e-mail, also to those who did not outright refuse your application. It sounds a bit weird but it is important and it has worked.
- You should never send e-mails on weekends. E-mails are usually not checked on weekends; and your e-mail may get lost in the Monday clutter. It is best to send e-mails from Monday night (Indian time) to Thursday night.
- You can also apply for internships in an industry. Most companies have online applications for this. However, language skills are usually asked for if you apply to a company in a non-English speaking country. But you can always try. You can also contact the research labs of such companies, where language skills may not be mandatory.Tips for e-mailing
- You should address the letter directly to the recipient. Do not use “Sir/Madam”.
- Ask for an internship of 3 months. Don’t mention specific dates.
- Your C.G.P.A. doesn’t matter much. Mention it only if you have a good C.G.P.A.
- Mention your rank only if it is good.
- Show the recipient that you are genuinely interested in their research work. This is where reading the abstracts of their papers works.
- Attach your resume in PDF format with this letter. Don’t expect anyone to go through your resume. Include enough information in the cover letter so that even if the recipient just goes through the letter, they can take a decision.
- Don’t expect replies from all. Very few open your e-mail. Even fewer reply.
- Proof-read and double-check the draft.
Getting an internship abroad without financial support is easy, because everyone likes to get work done for free; but assistance is generally required. You never ask for financial support in you first e-mail to anybody. In general, they themselves ask whether you need financial assistance. You have to negotiate with them to pay you more, depending upon the offer.
This article is an abridged version of the detailed guide that Ashish had written back in 2006. Although we have done our best to keep this information relevant, some of it may not be updated. Check out the first and second articles in this series. We hope this was helpful.
Image credit: http://www.internoptions.com/india/