Intern National Ireland

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© INI Intern National Ireland 2011
Registered in Ireland No.479125

+353 (0)1 592 5409

Knowledge Base

You want answers? – We think you're entitled to that...

You want answers?!!! – We'll give you the truth!! You can handle the truth!

We live in a world that has walls, academic/professional walls, those walls have to be guarded by men with suits. Who's gonna do it? You? You, student advisory service? We have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for employment and you curse the job-market. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what we know: that the recession, while tragic, probably saved jobs. And our existence, while trivial and humorous to you, saves jobs...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want us on that wall. You need us on that wall!

We use words like experience, dress-code, attitude... we use these words as the backbone to a life (ok a few years) spent building something. You use them as a punchline. We have the time and the inclination to explain internships to anyone who rises at noon and sleeps on the sofa of the very programme we provide, and questions the manner in which we provide it! We'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, we suggest you pick up an application form and get writing. Either way, we care about what you think you're good at!

If you have not made a complete CV already then it is advisable that you build a good CV using the European CV Format (download) as this will help you to create a presentable CV with all the necessary information - please keep this to maximum 2 pages! You may also want to make an assessment of your English level using the European Self-Assment Grid (download) if you are unsure as to what your 'official' level of any language is.

What is an Internship? »

An internship is a personal investment of your time in return for someone else's expertise. It is not a means for companies to take advantage of students/individuals who are so hard-up for a job and will work for free, doing the jobs everyone else doesn't want to do... blah blah blah... we've seen the forums!

Why should I do an internship? »

Taking up an internship confirms your genuine interest in any particular sector and removes any doubt a potential employer may have about your motivation for applying for a particular job. Plus, it may increase your job prospects... however, put in a bad performance and it will decrease your job prospects too!

How long can I do an internship for? »

The minimum stay is 4 weeks and there is no maximum duration. The average internship duration is 11 weeks. The longer you stay, the more attractive it is for Host Companies and also you should receive increased responsibility within your placement.

I am from outside the EU, do I need a work permit or student visa? »

No, an internship does not require you to have a work permit as you are not being paid for the experience, however, it also does not qualify you for a student visa as it is not yet recognised as an academic programme. Please note if you are coming from outside the EU, you will need to check with your local embassy/consulate on your permissions for travel to Ireland, typically for many other countries, you may be allowed to enter Ireland on a tourist/visitors visa for up to 90 days. Going to South Africa, Irish citizens can stay for up to 90-days without having to apply for a visa in advance.

Are there any restrictions on who can apply? »

The only restriction is age, you need to be 18 years old on/before the day you start your internship. However if you are a citizen of a country from outside the EU, you may be subject to travel/entry restrictions. We do not allow superheroes or cartoon characters on the programme either.

What is the minimum level of English required? »

The minimum recommended level of English you should have is 'intermediate' or a minimum of level 'A2/B1' using the European Self Assessment Grid for Language Ability - meaning you should be able to communicate without difficulty through English on various familiar/everyday situations. Having a lower level than this will make it difficult for you to understand what is going on in your Host Company and therefore no benefit will come from taking up an internship as there will be no basic communication ability upon which to improve in a busy work environment.

What type of placements do you offer? »

Internship placements, duh! Most professional sectors are available for office based work such as HR, Marketing, Tourism, Finance, Computers/IT, etc... There are also opportunities for more technical/scientific placements however you need to contact us first before applying. Only upon receipt of your application can we advise if your particular choice is available. Nearly everything which is legal or which won't end up with someone hurting themselves is possible.

Will I be paid? »

No, because then we'd call it a 'job', not an internship. Some Host Companies may provide some expenses but it's not part of the programme. On some very special programmes, a small wage/pocket- money may be payable depending on the conditions of the placement and the requirements of the promoter.

Can I request a specific Host Company? »

No, specific Host Companies cannot be requested unless a placement with that company has been advertised by one of our partners. You may request a particular area/sector in which to do your internship, however we do ask that each applicant make three sector choices as your first preference may not be available depending on your education/experience, level of English, duration of stay, time of year, etc... and you should be prepared to work in any one of these three choices knowing that we will always make every effort possible to secure your primary choice first!

What will my working hours be? »

You should be prepared to work a full working week, means approx 40 hours per week, normally Monday-Friday but depending on the sector or nature of the internship, shift/weekend work may be an integral part of your experience. In most cases interns will have reduced working hours of 30-35 hours per week... however on occasion you may be required to work longer.

What kind of experience can I expect to receive? »

The experience of a lifetime we hope, but really it will depend on many factors such as your level of English, length of stay, etc... and most importantly your attitude towards the work you are given. All experience is experience in the eyes of a future employer! As a minimum you will be getting a good practical insight into the sector of your choice... at the other end of the spectrum you may become involved with serious projects the company is embarking upon.

Will the Host Company want to interview me? »

Some companies wish to interview interns as a matter of procedure and maintaining standards. So be prepared to use your phone for a phone call... they were'nt just made for taking photos and checking Facebook you know.

Will my Host Company give me a job after the placement has finished? »

They are not obliged to do this, however it can happen and typically 5% of all interns are offered permanent/contract positions within their Host Company.

What happens if my Host Company do offer me a job? »

You will need to be prepared for early mornings again, that's what! In this case you are one of the lucky ones. You will be responsible to deal directly with the Host Company on all issues regarding contracts and payment. INI will provide any advice/support if you need it. Well done!

What if I am not satisfied with the placement? »

It does happen, we're not perfect despite what people tell us! If you are not satisfied with your placement then you should firstly communicate this to your supervisor, because most issues can be resolved directly with the Host Company. If this fails to yield a positive result then we can assist in the attempt to make a good solution for both Host Company and yourself. Failing this, a new placement may be sought for you. Please remember though, that if your dis-satisfaction is a result of your expectations being greater than your abilities then you will need to get over yourself and there will be little we can assist with, as the situation will be no different in another Host Company.

What happens if my Host Company fires me? »

It is quite difficult for a Host Company to fire someone who is not being paid to be there, so the reasons will have to be valid and taken seriously! We will investigate the incident with the enthusiasm of a 'tramp on chips'! Depending on the result of this investigation, a new placement will be sought, or it will be recommended you finish with the internship programme. The investigation will involve taking reports from both Host Company and intern, and a decision will be taken on your future on the programme.

Can I reserve a language course in advance? »

Absolutely, we are not a language academy ourselves but we do have good connections with most of the main reputable English language academies in all our destinations.

Is it expensive to do an internship? »

Surprisingly no! The cost of an internship is cheaper than a language course of the same duration! Also as there is only one placement fee, a 12 week internship will cost the same as a 4 week internship. However, if you work it out in the grand scheme of things, and internship is actually quite cheap compared to the years of work you have ahead of you... perhaps about 2-3 week's wages.

Who do I contact to make a booking? »

Contact us of course, we'll set you straight!! Or if you're coming from outside Ireland let us know – perhaps we have a Partner Agency in your country who can assist with your application for Ireland.

Can I get certification/validation of my placement? »

Yes, if you request a written reference letter from your Host Company then they should be able to assist and normally this will list some of your daily tasks.

Will my personal details be secure? »

No, we sell personal information to the highest bidder! Yes, of course your personal contact information will not be used for any purposes other than those related to your internship or accommodation. Unless you specifically authorise it, your details will not even be shared with other interns for friendship purposes!

What type of accommodation is available? »

Host Families and Self-Catering apartments/residences are generally available in all destinations, at reasonable prices. We also offer free accommodation to anyone interested – contact us today to view our exclusive range of damp cardboard boxes and old newspapers.

What are the advantages? »

Pre-booked accommodation is convenient and you don't have to worry about the risks associated with renting privately (loss of security deposit, sub-standard accommodation, unruly housemates!). Also, every heard of the 'bait & switch'? Someone advertising a great apartment for a good price in a wonderful location? You pay a deposit and some rent, when you arrive you find out the place doesn't actually exist. Not funny! The risk of this is eliminated when you book through an agency like INI.

What are the disadvantages? »

You may find something a little less expensive if you search yourself. That's about it...

What is included in the price? »

Host Family: Generally included in the price is single room accommodation, laundry washed once per week (but you must do your own ironing!), breakfast & evening meal, electricity/gas, and hot water (utilities). Use of the telephone and internet access are strictly under the control of the Host Family.

Self-Catering: Single/shared room, all utilities as above, internet access, also excluding phone use.

Free: Reservation in an exclusive location under a bridge somewhere.

What are the rooms like & will I have my own bathroom? »

Rooms in Host Families vary greatly in size and facilities, there is no official grading system for Host Families or university residences as there is with hotels/guesthouses. We would grade families on the warmth of their welcome rather than their social status or luxury they provide. It will be highly unlikely that you will have a private bathroom or items such as television etc in your room. The same for a Self-Catering unit, they are designed for students and are comfortable and habitable, not high luxury.

Are there any cultural issues I should be aware of in a Host Family? »

Each family is different and will have different traditions. However some things you should be aware of before taking Host Family accommodation are:

  • Location: It is quite common to live up to 20km from the city centre and commute each day to/from work.
  • In Ireland: Since the birth of the 'Celtic Tiger' economy, Irish family life has suffered to a certain degree. The welcome and friendly nature of Irish people is still alive, however it is not common for a family to sit together for meals and people normally eat meals alone rather than around the table. So if your family do not sit to eat with you then do not think it's because they don't like you, or think it's disgusting to watch you eat... it's simply a new part of Irish society and a cultural difference.
  • Use 'please' and 'thank you' as often as possible throughout the day, please remember this when asking for something, or if someone will give you something or do something for you...
  • In Ireland there is very little distinction between social classes, the terms 'working class' / 'middle class' / 'upper class' are not commonly used or acceptable descriptions in Irish society and people are judged more on their character and politeness rather than the social position they hold or profession they work in.
How far will I live away from my Host Company? »

We endeavour toplace you as close to your Host Company as possible, normally on a direct transport link. However in some cases, typically at busier times of the year, it may not be possible to place you close to your Host Company. Travel times of 20mins-1hour shoud be expected.

Can I choose the area where I want to live? »

Unless you book your own hotel then unfortunately not. The area where you live will be dictated by the location of your Host Company and you will be placed into the closest availiable family/residence to your company.

What if my friends/parents/partner wants to visit me? »

You may ask your Host Family if they can stay with you but the family are under no obligation to accept. If the family does accept, always offer to pay for the stay as if staying in a guesthouse - most families will politely refuse payment but it will be a welcome, if unnecessary, gesture of goodwill to make the offer. If you are staying in a Self-Catering unit then a fee will have to be paid for the additional booking.

Are there many rules in a Host Family? »

You will need to check with your Host Family when you arrive what rules they may have in place. Normally you will be granted freedom to come and go at your leisure, but please remember communication and politeness are the key to a successful stay. Always ask before taking something which is not normally included in your stay, etc... this will make your stay more comfortable if you can establish good open communication with your Host Family.

What if I have a special diet or allergies? »

This applies to Host Family only, because if you were to live in a Self-Catering unit then you're cooking for yourself, and if you cook something that results in a reaction... well.... that would be a bit irresponsible of you. When making your booking you will be asked to detail any medical requirements, special dietary needs, or allergies you may have. These will then be passed on to the Host Family before your arrival so they are aware of your needs. It will also be helpful if you remind the family when you arrive of any special requirements as Host Families do generally take interns/students from many different agencies and there is always a chance they may forget about your particular needs!

If I don't want a Host Family or Self-Catering unit, what other options do I have? »

There are other options available to rent private apartments/flats or to share houses. InternNational Ireland cannot book these for you as there are private contracts and security deposits generally involved with such rentals. We can also only offer limited support if something goes wrong should you decide to rent your own accommodation.

I am travelling alone, how do I meet other interns during my stay? »

Many interns do actually travel alone and coming to a different country without any contacts can be a daunting challenge. At InternNational Ireland we want your 'experience' to encompass the social and cultural aspect as well as the professional. With your permission we can pass your e-mail address and/or phone number to other interns so they may make contact with you. In Dublin we also organise regular social evenings for interns.

What if I cancel my request for an internship? »

Please see our Fees & Terms page for more information on this... if you cancel simply because you've changed your mind then shame on you!

What happens if I need to return home and terminate my placement early? »

Then we'll be sorry to see you go... Depending on the reasons for your premature termination of the internship, we will endeavour to refund as much of the 'unused portion' of your stay as possible - typically an accommodation refund with the possibility of a small cancellation fee. Placement fees cannot be refunded in this case.

How much money should I bring with me? »

Depending on your personal spending habits & destination, this can range from 50euro to 300euro per week.

What is the weather like? »

Really... that's just too much, there are hundreds of websites which can give you detailed climate information for locations around the world and you decide to search through an internships website for that?? OK, if you really want to know then ask us.

What about safety? »

In any city it is always wise to take reasonable caution with your valuable belongings. Common sense will be your imaginary best friend when considering the correct caution to practice during your stay. Crime happens everywhere and if there are any major concerns about a destination you will be informed about this when you enquire about internships.

What about Cape Town, Northern Ireland & Belfast, are they not dangerous? »

The Media are very good at defacing a city/destination. New Orleans in the USA is more dangerous than all our destinations combined. Visitors who become victims of violent crimes in any city have been unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time (or in the right place at the right time if you consider the criminal's perspective). Tourists are generally not targeted for voilent crime and in Cape Town there are more surfing related injuries than crimes reported against tourists each year!

What if I want to travel during my placement? »

That's fine, there are no restrictions on travel unless it will interfere negatively with your internship. Each destination offers great opportunities for sightseeing and touring.

What kind of support do you offer? »

During your stay you can expect to have full support should you experience any difficulties with the services we have organised for you. We have a 24-hour emergency mobile number for any issues which cannot wait until the next working day to be resolved – it's the MD's personal number too! You may contact us at any time during your stay with quesions no matter how large or small - please bear in mind also that you are on a programme which is very 'independent' and you should always endeavor to find answers to your questions by yourself if they are of a nature for which information is freely available (eg - tourism destinations).