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International Internships: Health & Safety Considerations

International Internships: Health & Safety Considerations

When securing your own internship, you must plan ahead to have a safe and successful experience. Use this page to understand how to find a credible opportunity, access reliable transportation, select safe housing, and more. Then, explore the listed resources and collaborate with U-M internship advisors to finalize your plans.

Employer

Establish credibility:

  • How long has the organization been established?
  • Did you find the employer through a reliable website like LinkedInHandshake, or other U-M internship portals?
  • Did you conduct additional research to verify the credibility of both the employer and the position?
  • Can the employers give you a well-defined idea of intern responsibilities?

Goals:

  • Do the internship’s role and responsibilities meet your expectations and help you achieve your desired outcome?
  • (See Search for Jobs or Internships).

Support:

  • Will the work environment be reliable and safe?
  • Will you be provided the tools and space needed to succeed?
  • What kinds of pre-departure and onsite support can your employer offer you while you are interning?

Issues:

  • Do you have a safe reporting structure for workplace disputes or issues?
  • Who can you communicate with for concerns about your supervisor?
Communication

Mobile Phone Usage:

  • How do you intend to manage your mobile communication while abroad (e.g., local SIM card and unlocked phone, eSIMs, international data/roaming options, or Wi-Fi only)?
  • Will you be in a remote area without cellular service? If so, how will you communicate in an emergency situation?

On-site Contacts:

  • Prepare a list of local emergency contacts before departing, including emergency services, employers, roommates, or local acquaintances.
  • Verify contact availability after work hours in case of an emergency.

At Home / U-M Contact:

  • Establish communication plans, including how frequently and through what form of communication, with your U-M contact, family, and friends for sharing updates and concerns.

Tip: Store these contacts on your phone, a secure online database, and keep a physical copy with you at all times.

Housing

Housing & Arrangements:

  • Does the internship offer housing accommodations? If so, do the quality, safety standards, and location in relation to the internship site meet your standards? Will you have a roommate, and if so, how will you manage cultural and language differences, as well as any conflicts?

Self-arranged Housing:

  • If the housing arrangement is self-arranged, does the employer have vetted suggestions for safe lodging? Will they provide recommendations from past interns for secure housing options? Can you conduct a housing search before arrival on reliable platforms, e.g., Airbnb, Booking.com, etc.?
  • (See Safe Housing Checklist).
Technology

Secure Connections:

  • Will you have access to reliable internet?
  • Are you connecting to trusted Wi-Fi networks and avoiding public or unsecured ones?

Update and Encrypt:

  • Are your devices updated with the latest security patches?
  • Are you using encryption tools like VPNs for online protection?

Scam Awareness:

  • Are you vigilant against phishing emails, suspicious links, and unfamiliar websites?
  • Are you practicing caution while sharing personal information online?
  • (See U-M Guide to Safe Computing).
Transportation

Travel Logistics:

  • What mode of transportation will you rely on to get to and from your internship site?
  • If using public transportation, have you assessed its reliability and safety?
  • What precautions will you take when using transportation?
  • (See Plan for the Land and OSAC Country Security Report resources).

Driving a vehicle:

  • For those considering driving a rented (or purchased) vehicle, what measures will you take to confirm your eligibility to drive in that location and to secure liability/vehicle insurance?
  • What are the driving conditions in your area?
Health & Well-being

Healthcare Abroad:

Mental Well-being:

  • How will you maintain your mental well-being, cope with stress, and access support resources while abroad?
  • What would you do in the case of a mental health concern?
  • (See Resilient TravelingU-M CAPS).
Finances

Budget:

  • What are the estimated expenses for your internship experience, including airfare, housing accommodation, transportation, food, living costs, visa fees, and so forth?
  • Do you have access to extra funds for unforeseen emergencies?
  • (See U-M Budgeting for Travel and Financial Planning for Travel).

Travel Insurance:

  • Have you explored purchasing travel insurance to account for trip cancelation or interruption, flight delays, lost baggage, etc.?

Money Security:

Travel Destination(s)

Research:

  • What aspects of a destination’s culture, including intercultural communication, workplace norms, community values, etc., should you learn more about?
  • (See Global Road Warrior).

Risks and Mitigations: