Internships are an essential part of the Howest training programs. They guarantee optimal preparation for your later professional career. Many Howest bachelor students opt for an internship abroad, in order to provide an answer to the challenges of our globalizing economy and labor market. A carefully chosen internship abroad offers undeniably extra advantages on your CV, and guarantees the acquisition of extra competences that represent a serious added value, both for your professional and personal development. These benefits offset the extra investment associated with a foreign internship. By the way, the funding programs below can pretty much cut the cost. Howest also contributes to the preparation of your internship abroad.
If you are considering doing your internship abroad, please contact the internationalization coordinator of your study program in due time and view the "Step-by-step plan for an internship abroad" on Leho infosite Go International.
Below you will find an overview of the possibilities, the financing programs and other useful information.
As with study abroad, the principle also applies to internship that the program first decides whether you are eligible. You can also find information about the selection procedure at Leho Go International. It often starts the academic year before your large internship. You take all steps in consultation with your internship supervisor and the internationalization coordinator of your study program.
All information on this site can be found in an in-depth version on Leho “Go International” and in our “Go International with Howest” guide.
Erasmus internship grants
Howest students can obtain an Erasmus grant to do an internship for at least two months in one of the 33 Erasmus countries.
This concerns the 27 EU Member States in addition to Belgium, with their overseas territories, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Turkey, North Macedonia and Serbia. An internship in Switzerland through our partner schools over there is also eligible for an Erasmus grant funded by the Swiss government. The internship must be an integral part of the study program, and the student must therefore also be able to acquire ECTS credits for it. This is automatically the case with all Howest courses, of course if you pass the internship.
You can now also apply for an Erasmus grant for an internship period after graduation, if your study program supports such a project.
Howest has a specific application and selection procedure for Erasmus internship. You can find them on Leho info site Go International, along with the scholarship amounts and more information. The first step is your online registration for internationalization, no later than mid-March / mid-October in the semester before your internship.
In addition, there is a deadline for submitting an application file for Erasmus internship, by which the arrangements with your internship abroad must be fully completed. The “Learning Agreement for Traineeship”, your internship contract, contains the result of all agreements between Howest, the student and the internship organization. The exact timing for all steps can be found at Leho “Go International”.
Erasmus also provides a compulsory online language test, which every student must take before departure. After approval of your Erasmus grant application and if the “Learning Agreement for Traineeship” has been fully signed, the International Office will grant you the license for the language test. If it turns out that your language level is lower than what the internship place expects, you are expected to continue training via a free online Erasmus language course. International Office will also provide you with the license for this. Upon your return, you will have to take another online language test, in which Erasmus hopes that your internship abroad will have improved your language skills.
Erasmus Belgica scholarships for internships in French or German-speaking Belgium
Erasmus Belgica is a Belgian initiative to promote the mobility of higher education students between the Flemish, French and German-speaking Community. With “Erabel” the aim is to give students the opportunity to integrate effectively in the language and culture of another community of Belgium through their studies or internship.
In parallel with the European Erasmus program, Erasmus Belgica also allows internship mobility. Each student receives a fixed sum of € 100 regardless of the distance, to be regarded as a premium or incentive. An additional monthly allowance of € 100 is awarded to the students who prove that they are renting accommodation for the duration of their internship in the other community. For the rest, everything runs exactly according to the rules and conditions of the European Erasmus exchanges. An Erasmus Belgica internship lasts at least two months and a maximum of one year. The usual school insurance remains in effect during that period.
Flanders Trainee Programme
Would you like to do an internship at an agency of the United Nations, UNESCO, the World Trade Organization, the OECD? These are just a few of the numerous international organizations that also accept students for an internship at their headquarters. The Flemish Government wants to give this a boost and has developed a very attractive scholarship system. You must first get hold of the internship position on your own. Anything but an impossible assignment: you won't be the first Howester to succeed!
You can find all the information about the funding program on the Flanders Trainee Program website and on their Facebook page they regularly post internship offers from various eligible international organizations.
Worldwide internship with a grant from the Province of West Flanders
You can also do an internship in all countries in the world (except Erasmus countries) with a grant from the Province of West Flanders. You can find the call on Leho “Go International”.
Please note: your application file must go through Howest International Office. We therefore necessarily have an earlier internal deadline than the deadline of the Province that you will find on their website! All information for Howest applicants is clearly stated on our “Go International” info site on the Leho platform.
Intercontinental internship through our partner universities
Our partner universities in China, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia also facilitate internships for Howest students. For this, you can apply for a grant at the Province of West Flanders (see above), at Vliruos (see development cooperation) or within the Flemish subsidy programs “ASEM-DUO” or “Priority Countries”.
Furthermore, Howest also participates every year in the Flemish scholarship program "The Washington Center" for excellent students. Selected students will receive a generous grant for a semester internship with a professional field partner of the prestigious Washington Center, in the capital of the USA.
The three Flemish scholarship programs mentioned have only one annual application deadline, in March, which applies to mobility throughout the entire academic year. Getting there early is the message: keep an eye on the annual call (via Leho). More information can be found on our Leho info site Go International.
Financing your international internship
Howest facilitates as much as ten grant programs that can help you finance your international internship, depending on your destination. These programs are subsidized by various governments:
- European Commission: the Erasmus program
- Belgian government: Erasmus Belgica and VLIR-UOS
- Flemish government: Priority Countries program, The Washington Center grants, ASEM-DUO, ASEM Work Placement, Flanders Trainee Program and the Generic grants. The latter are also supplemented with grants from Howest funds.
- Province of West Flanders: Provincial Grant Regulations for international education, internship and research experiences.
Thanks to those ten grant programs, more than two hundred Howest students do international study or internship with a grant each year. To find your way in all those programs and destinations, you will receive the necessary support from the internationalization coordinator of your study program, from the internationalization coordinator of your campus and from the International Office. And, of course, you can find a nice overview of programs and associated destinations, with all details, on the Leho info site Go International. Our "Go International with Howest" guide will also get you on the right path.
'Free mover' internship
You can also undertake a foreign internship project as a “free mover”, outside any fair framework, and therefore without a mobility grant. These are internships that deviate from the minimum period stipulated in the various funding programs, or for which your grant application has not been approved.
Free mover mobility means that you are responsible for all travel and accommodation costs. Also take into account the costs associated with the visa procedure. For example, a visa for an internship in the USA will quickly amount to € 1000. On the other hand, such internships are often paid, and a strategically chosen non-European internship position provides such added value for your CV that it may make the investment pay off in the long term.
Looking for an international internship?
If you have yet to start the search for a fascinating foreign internship position, it is best to first inquire about the foreign internship contacts within your study program. Howest International Office and Howest for Impact also have specific internship contacts in our international focus countries, such as China, India, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, the Philippines, etc. Our partner universities in the global South also facilitate internships (see above) . The Howest internship tool increasingly contains foreign internship offers. Your own foreign contacts can also lead to an accepted internship.
Finally, there is also the worldwide web of course. However, caution is advised for those looking for an international internship via the internet. After all, many commercial internship brokers promote their services online to internship-seeking students. Keep in mind that some of them ask a fee if you find an internship through their website. Certain intermediaries also offer the service to find a tailor-made internship abroad. Of course against payment. Many also have all-inclusive packages with accommodation, cultural program, etc., usually at a hefty price. Always inform yourself well in advance if you want to use such services. Not all of those internships meet the Howest requirements.
And realize that Howest’s has sufficient competences and language skills to find a decent internship abroad themselves, supported by their program.
Surf on Leho info site Go International (accessible via your Howest account) > module “International mobility: useful information and documents” > “Looking for a foreign internship” for an overview of databases and websites where you can find international internships.
Preparation for your foreign internship
It goes without saying that doing an internship abroad requires a lot of preparation. Keep in mind that the visa procedure for non-European countries can take several weeks, and is usually not free.
You must also arrange your travel and accommodation in good time. The internship provider often helps you find housing.
On our website you will find a lot of practical information, for example in the sections:
Optimal language and cultural preparation also provide an extra guarantee for the success of your internship abroad. Keep in mind that it is best to start in time with a refresh of your internship language if your last practice dates from your secondary studies. Make sure you have a certain degree of “language self-reliance” before you leave! This makes your integration easier!
You can also receive a financial boost from Howest to learn the language of your internship country (see next point).
To get to know the culture of your host country, take a look at the information about cultural preparation on our website.
We recommend that our students from the programs within the Business and Organization study area participate in the annual Businet Student Conference (Edinburgh, UK, every November), on the theme of "Thinking Employment". A wonderful preparation when looking for a foreign internship or job.
This conference is organized by Businet, the network of which the business-oriented Howest training courses are part. More information and the participation fee can be found at businet.org.uk (click on “student conferences”).
Also check whether there is no operation of the Erasmus Student Network in the region where you are doing your internship. ESN has hundreds of local branches and is active in dozens of European countries. It is an non-governmental and non-profit international student organization that organizes a wide variety of activities for Erasmus students. That way you can still come into contact with student life, which is otherwise not always easy during an internship.