How can I finance my internship abroad?

The following are the basic financing options for your internship abroad:

  • Payment/salary through the internship
  • Financial support by means of a funding programme/scholarship
  • Personal financing (parents/savings)

The best option is of course payment for your employment in your internship company. Don't be afraid to ask your contact there whether the position is paid or not -  after all you are working at the organisation and can request reimbursement for your efforts without having a guilty conscience.

However if the internship position is not paid or does not pay enough, you also have the possibility to apply to one or more of the funding programmes listed below. Read them through carefully to decide which of them are suitable for your internship.

The last resort is your own personal financing to cover the expenses of your stay abroad (e.g. travel costs or possibly higher costs of living in certain countries and cities).

What are the most well-known funding programmes for internships?

Funding ProgrammeRemarks
Foreign BAföGMonthly funding with partial repayment. Application possible for mandatory internships of min. 12 weeks dependent on recognition of internship place by HFU. Folllowing confirmation on Form 5, application can be made to the HFU
BAföG representative and confirmation on form 6 can be picked up in the Examinations Office.
Student Loan
Non-income related loan at inexpensive rates.
Max. funding: €300/per month for 24 months. Application possible for students in later phase of study (after completion of the first year of study)
Education funds
Study financing with income-related repayment
Carlo-Schmidt-ProgrammeScholarship programme with accompanying seminars for highly-qualified young academics in the area of international administration.
ERASMUS+ Mobility grant without repayment. Application possible for internships of min. 2 months in ERASMUS programme countries.
HFU "Semester abroad with Kids" scholarshipFinancial support for female HFU students who wish to complete a semester abroad with their children.
Heinz Nixdorf ProgrammeAll-round supervision by the organization as well as monthly scholarship for 4-month internship in Asian countries. Application possible for young German employees and graduates in sales and technical areas, as well as outstanding students who are about to graduate.
STUBE Program „Berufsvorbereitende Praktika- und Studienaufenthalte – BPSA“

STUBE offers financial support for students from Africa, Asia and Latin America who are interested in development cooperation and want to do research or an internship in their home country.

Other financing programmes and information about these programmes can be found here:

Additionally, you can apply for general scholarships for students, which are not necessarily related to your internahip abroad. You can find an overview of all big foundations in Germany on the FELIX site of the "Zentrale Studienberatung"

How do I apply for a funding programme?

A scholarship application must be carefully prepared and generally requires the following supporting documents depending on the scholarship organization:

  • A letter of motivation with the following basic structure:

    • your career goals
    • what motivates you to achieve these goals
    • examples of personal behaviours and experience which back up these claims

  • a CV in the style of the country you are applying to
  • Proof of academic excellence of at least 2 semesters
  • Letter of Reference from a professor
  • Proof of language proficiency

Check with the International Center in plenty of time or on the websites of the scholarship awarding organizations. The deadlines are often very far in advance of travel.