Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get an internship in Germany?

Start by browsing our extensive list of grants, programs, and direct internship opportunities to identify, which path best suits your interests and needs best. Each entry lists the ideal year of study the student should be enrolled in at the time of the application: most – though certainly not all - companies, institutes and organizations prefer to welcome students after their second year of study is completed and a major is declared. For visa purposes, most internships must be conducted while the student is still fully enrolled at a university. However, seniors wishing to apply to programs after graduation to bridge a year before going to graduate school or securing a job may also browse through options geared specifically to those cases.

Once you have identified one or multiple programs or positions to which you would like to apply, create folders for each and collect all required documents, typically consisting of your CV, a transcript, a cover letter and one or two references. The Internship Coordinator can help you with proofreading, editing and translating your material, if necessary.

If you have received an internship offer, you need to apply for the necessary visa by making an appointment with the German Consulate assigned to your state, or the Consulate in Atlanta (assigned to NC). Make sure to clarify which documents you will need to provide and bring them to your appointment! These documents are easy to procure, but if you are an international student at Duke, you may have to provide additional documentation. Allow up to three months for the visa to be issued. If you are a dual-citizen with a EU-country, you should not need any type of visa, but confirm this with your assigned consulate.

How good does my German have to be before I can apply for an internship?

German language proficiency is not a must for many internships, especially in research institutes where the working language is English. Direct internships with companies and organizations, however, will likely expect the level of German language proficiency achieved with the completion of German 203.

When do I have to start looking for a summer internship?

Internship and research programs have their application deadlines early in the fall semester, for some beginning as early as September 15th, but for others not until December 1st. Therefore, browse through the listings at the beginning of fall semester in order to identify which positions are of interest to you. However, some companies do not list their summer openings until January. Car manufacturers, for instance, are known to post their summer openings after winter break at the earliest. If you are interested in those positions, be prepared to act swiftly. On the upside, these companies tend to respond quickly in return. You may also contact specific companies directly in order to inquire if you can apply early or even without a relevant position listed (“Initiativbewerbung”).

How do I write a German Cover Letter and CV (“Lebenslauf”)?

Many of these programs accept English application materials, especially those hosted by research facilities. If you need to supply German documents, there are excellent examples for German CVs (“Lebenslauf”) available online. German CVs typically include a photograph and are oftentimes signed, though a signature is not mandatory. Contact the Internship Coordinator to receive a template for a German cover letter, then complete the designated areas either in English or in German, and the Internship Coordinator will edit and/or translate your text accordingly.

Can I do an internship while participating in Duke in Berlin?

Yes, you may simultaneously take part in Duke in Berlin while also pursuing an internship. In fact, completing an internship as part of your DiB stay allows you additional flexibility in regards to the type of internship you would like to pursue, since boarding and visa issues are already taken care of as part of your DiB program. Please contact the DiB team to discuss how many hours/week you might be able to dedicate to an internship, at what point during your DiB stay an internship would make most sense, or if a volunteer opportunity may be a better option for you.