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Why Do I Have to Pay for an UNPAID Internship?

Some students and their families ask why internships abroad are costly and are unpaid.  Mark Cappelletti addresses this question in his piece 5 Important Points to Understanding Internships Abroad The following excerpt from the IIE Passport website provides some guidance here. 

One of the most frequent questions asked by students is, “Why do I have to PAY for an UNPAID internship?”  Mark Cappelletti addresses this question quite thoroughly in his piece 5 Important Points to Understanding Internships Abroad.  Cappelletti offers some insight to assist you in processing the differences between international and domestic internships.  Below is a segment on why there are fees associated with international internships. 

“Paying for an Unpaid Internship: Internships abroad are not free; and because of visa restrictions, they aren’t really paid either. But before you walk away altogether, I’d like to give you a sense of what you’re paying for…. Barring personal connections with companies abroad, international internships are nearly impossible to find on your own. The majority of interns choose to go through agencies with international placement partners. This generally offers the best customer service and coordination, as scheduling your program with a US coordinator is much easier than going through international channels (think time zones, language barriers, etc…). The valuable services and components included with reputable programs include predeparture preparation and information, language lessons, internship coordination and search, interview assistance, on the ground support, and accommodations. Consider also that most international internship programs with language training cost considerably less than University run opportunities - just be sure to look into credit transfers ahead of time. The real compensation for the experience - emotional gratification, personal development, and differentiation in the global marketplace” (M. Cappelletti,