Frequently Asked Questions

WHERE ARE THE SEMESTER PROGRAMS HELD?
London, Bonn/Cologne/Berlin, Brussels, Edinburgh and Madrid offer programs in the fall and spring semesters.

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WHAT ABOUT SUMMER?
There are summer sessions in Bonn, Brussels, Edinburgh and London.

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IS IT POSSIBLE TO GO TO TWO PROGRAMS CONSECUTIVELY?
Yes. You might spend the Fall in London on a law internship, and then the Spring in Brussels working for a Member of the European Parliament. Some students follow up a spring semester internship with a summer internship in another city.

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WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?
We look for students who are curious about the world, who enjoy new challenges, and who have a good academic background (most students have a 3.0 or better grade point average). Preference is given to those who can demonstrate open-mindedness, flexibility, and understand what it means to be a "team player." Most interns are juniors or seniors, but some sophomores may be eligible.

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I'M NOT AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, BUT I AM A U.S. OR CANADIAN COLLEGE STUDENT. AM I ELIGIBLE?
In most cases, yes. It is your responsibility to contact your country's consulate or embassy in the United States, and the consulate or embassy of the country in which you wish to intern to determine if you need a visa. This paperwork might be time-consuming, so factor this in, and consider applying at least four to six weeks before the application deadline.

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HOW GOOD MUST I BE AT GERMAN OR SPANISH TO DO AN INTERNSHIP IN BONN/COLOGNE/BERLIN OR MADRID?
Bear in mind that your proficiency will improve. Normally, students have the equivalent of four semesters of college-level language study (roughly, beginning, intermediate, and advanced intermediate). Remember, you will be working in a non-English-speaking environment. However, attitude and openness are often more important than language skills. If you have questions about your language proficiency, don't hesitate to contact the Rochester Center for Study Abroad. All UR staff members have taught either French, German, or Spanish, and have also studied other languages, so they can advise you about your skills. Most Brussels internships are English-speaking.

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WHAT ARE THE DEADLINES FOR APPLICATIONS?
Applications for fall semester must be in by April 15, for the spring semester by October 1, for summer programs by March 1. Please note:  Brussels internship applications must be in by September 15 due to earlier visa deadlines. Students age 21 and over must obtain an FBI background check, which can take 16 weeks or more. Click here and here for information on getting your Belgian visa. British Parliament (House of Commons) applications are due on September 15 and April 15 respectively. Your home school may have earlier deadlines, though. While we always try to place late applicants, it is a good idea to apply earlier if you plan a placement in the most competitive spots, such as the House of Commons.
Note: Applications are reviewed on a rolling admissions basis. Early applications are encouraged.

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WHEN CAN I APPLY?
We have a "rolling" admissions policy, so apply as soon as you are able.

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WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS?
It's easy, but be organized and allow enough time to take care of business: getting the transcript sent, writing the short essay, asking for recommendations. You may read/download our application from our web site. (See the "How to Apply" section.) You will need to request a transcript from the college that you are currently attending, as well as any other(s) you may have previously attended. Finally, you'll need to get the approval of your home school so that you will be able to transfer the credit. Usually, this means meeting with a faculty adviser, or a dean, or study abroad adviser. If you have any questions about handling the application process on your campus, call the Rochester Center for Study Abroad. Chances are, we may have already worked with students, faculty, and staff from your home school and can offer helpful advice.

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HOW IMPORTANT IS MY APPLICATION ESSAY?
Very! Potential supervisors read all of your documents closely and particularly note misspellings and grammatical errors. This is especially important if you are seeking placement in an internship that will require a lot of writing, for example. Remember, your application, essays, and other documents are the supervisor's first impression of you, so write and proofread them carefully. It is always recommended to attach a resume and/or a list of interests and activities.

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WHAT HAPPENS AFTER ROCHESTER RECEIVES MY APPLICATION?
Completed applications are reviewed for admission by faculty committee. Normally, students are notified of the faculty's decision within two weeks of receipt of the completed application. (The faculty cannot review applications with any missing parts.) After you're accepted, you have two weeks from the date of the acceptance letter to send in your non-refundable $500 deposit. If you have questions about holding your place in the program, please call the Rochester Center for Study Abroad.

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MUST I BE MAJORING IN THE SAME FIELD AS THE INTERNSHIP I APPLY FOR?
Not necessarily. In many internships, enthusiasm and willingness overcome any lack of background knowledge. However, students who plan a truly specialized placement (e.g., medical research) would need more relevant coursework experience than, for example, a history major who chooses a theater or a law internship. Normally, politics interns, especially those who wish to work in a Parliamentary placement, will need some background in politics (a comparative or a European politics course), and/or some practical experience.

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MAY I REQUEST A SPECIFIC PLACE WITHIN MY FIELD?
We are eager to match your interests as closely as possible. Our placement staff are experienced in working to find quality internship experiences. While you may request a particular placement, it may be that we know of a place to which you will be more suited, or which will offer you a better immersion into the field. It may also be that the place you have requested is unable to accept an intern for the time you'll be there. It is crucial that if you make a specific request, you do so in a cover letter with your application. Likewise, you should not refer to specific institutions, departments, offices, businesses, or agencies in your essay. This makes it awkward to then send your documents to another placement, should the one that interests you not be available. Contact the Rochester Center for Study Abroad if you have questions about your placement interests.

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WHEN WILL I FIND OUT WHERE I WILL BE WORKING?
Placing a student in an internship can take anywhere from two weeks to three months, depending on the type of internship requested. All students will receive placement assignments during orientation. If you need to know your placement assignment in advance, for instance, for credit approval purposes, you may contact the Rochester Center for Study Abroad and they should be able to provide you with details of your internship placement. However, final confirmation of the internship normally depends on your first interview with your prospective supervisor.

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WHAT ABOUT COURSES?
On the semester programs, students take two associated courses concurrently with the internship. They carry four credits each. Internship and course grades (and the corresponding 16 credits) appear on the University of Rochester transcript. On the summer programs in Bonn and Brussels, students earn eight credits for the full-time internship (no coursework). The summer Edinburgh and London programs include a six-credit internship and a two-credit interdisciplinary course.

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HOW DO I GET CREDIT FOR MY INTERNSHIP?
Some institutions, the University of Rochester among them, require their students to keep an analytical internship journal that will be read and graded by the appropriate faculty member at the University of Rochester. (Refer to "Evaluation of the Internship" in the section on Policies and Procedures for more information.) If you are not a University of Rochester student, see your study abroad adviser to help you decide whether or not you need to keep an analytical journal. Those who decide not to keep one will be graded Pass/Fail based on the written evaluations from their internship supervisors.

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HOW MUCH TIME IS SPENT EACH WEEK ON THE INTERNSHIP?
On the semester programs, students work at least three days per week, depending on the office's needs. Many students work four days, taking two half-days off to go to classes. It is left to you, and the person to whom you are assigned, to work out your schedule at the beginning of the program. Internships are flexible; sometimes, projects will have deadlines, and you could be asked to pitch in extra hours with the rest of the staff. In summer, there are no courses, and students work five days a week.

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HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
See the page "Program Dates and Costs." A substantial part of this fee is used for lodging and in some cases board costs. At some centers rent for housing is paid directly to landlords and host families. Advance payment of housing costs assures the authorities in each country that Rochester holds sufficient money for each student's support a the time of entry into the country.

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WHAT IS NOT COVERED IN THE PROGRAM FEE?
Airfare, daily commuting, meals (unless you're in a homestay), personal expenses (travel, entertainment, toiletries, telephone, laundry), passport and visa fees where applicable.

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CAN I OPT OUT OF CERTAIN PARTS OF THE PROGRAM? FOR INSTANCE, IF I DO NOT NEED OR WANT TO STAY AT THE ORIENTATION HOTEL, MAY I HAVE A REFUND FOR THAT PART OF THE FEE?
No, orientation is an integral and extremely valuable part of the program. The time is used to impart important information to students and to acquaint them with the host city and with each other. Staying at the orientation hotel is the best way to get to know the other students. Participants MUST take both courses and the internship.

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CAN I USE MY HOME SCHOOL FINANCIAL AID?
Check with your college's study abroad office and your financial aid office. At Rochester, the Center for Study Abroad will be happy to advise you on this process. Federal grants and government guaranteed loans are transferable, and we'll help with the consortium agreements.

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HOW DO I PAY FOR THE PROGRAM?
After we have received your $500 confirmation deposit, Rochester's Bursar's Office will bill you for the balance. This payment is due within thirty days of the invoice date. No student may begin the program unless payment has been received in full, or the Rochester Bursar's Office has received a written guarantee that funds from loans or financial aid are in process.

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IS THERE ANY CHANCE OF BEING PAID FOR THE INTERNSHIP WORK?
Emphatically, no. Governments have very strict rules about this. If students were paid, most of the placements would not be available. We are able to place you in many offices that cannot offer compensation for student employees.

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CAN I STAY ON TO WORK AFTERWARDS?
This is difficult, but not impossible. However, it would be very unwise to base your financial calculations on working after your program has ended, since there are many rules and regulations to be overcome. Working without proper documentation is illegal and jeopardizes both you and your employer.

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WHAT HAPPENS IF THE INTERNSHIP IS NOT SUCCESSFUL?
The one factor that no one can foresee is how well the various individuals concerned in an internship will get along. If there is a clash of personalities or other serious problem, an alternative internship will be offered after mediation by the site director. Careful planning goes into our placement process, and it is rare that students ask to be moved. It's the student's responsibility to let the program's site director know of any concerns.

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WHO MAKES THE TRANSATLANTIC TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS?
The University of Rochester provides you with the name of an experienced travel agency in Rochester to use. With the orientation packet, you'll receive detailed information on getting to your site abroad.

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WILL I HAVE A CHANCE TO MEET LOCAL STUDENTS?
As an intern, your experience will naturally be different from that of most study abroad students who take only courses. You will have more regular contact with colleagues (of all ages) in the workplace than with local students. Special arrangements are made for you to join the local student associations or unions. This enables you to join student societies and to use sports facilities.
If you study in Brussels or Madrid, you will be in class with international students.

Program Dates and Costs