Internships w/ European branches of American consultancies

I’m seriously considering getting an internship in Europe (I speak French), but I want a paid one, which rules out local EU firms since I’m a foreigner.

Can anyone offer some advice on specific branches I may be interested in, whether in France or not? I would prefer France, but i only see ones in Italy, Spain, and Germany it seems (I tried wading through the directory, but didn’t get very far).


which rules out local EU firms since I’m a foreigner.

It does?

Well, maybe I don’t fully understand things, but I thought that local EU firms by law must consider EU applicants first, and also they are frequently unpaid. American branches, on the other hand, aren’t subject to those laws and usually pay. Am I wrong?

Everybody I know (about five people) that got European internships were unpaid. One person did really good work so they ended up getting a check at the end of the internship; I think the firm expected less or something. I’d say your biggest handicap will be not being French and looking for a job in France.

Yeah, that’s why I want to try for an EU branch of some American firm. Thanks for confirming how things are though, I had heard a few things, but wasn’t really sure.

Any reason why your not applying to the UK?

no language barrier here and we have so much culture comming it’s spilling out of our ears

No reason, actually. I guess I’ll look more into that, too. I sort of wanted to keep my French up, but any place that will broaden my perspective as a designer helps, right? Do most UK consultancies pay interns? I’m married, so I’d need to support my wife since it would be tough for her to find something I would think.

You can certainly try, but to get a paid position you will need a work permit. (Paid internships might be treated differently, but I kind of doubt it. I went to university in England, and I don’t believe I would have been able to do my third year in industry over there (didn’t try though). Work permits are hard to come by any time, and surely almost impossible now. It costs a company a pretty good chunk of money to go through that process- why should they bother if they can just get some local graduate? I had an awfully hard time trying to work in England after I left school there. Without a work permit or passport, at that level you have virtually no unique experience, so your application goes straight in the bin.

You’re already married, but if you were single, I would suggest finding yourself a nice European to marry. (That was a coincidence for me, but I now hold dual passports.) And there is always under the table work if you’re feeling bold and can find a small company willing to do it.

I know Canada has its own laws and stuff, but is it easier for Americans to work there? Quebec is nice.

Yeah you should defiantly check the UK. I’ve hardly come across any internships that are unpaid. I don’t even look at internships that are unpaid, they’re just so unrealistic, but I haven’t seen many.

It costs a company a pretty good chunk of money to go through that process- why should they bother if they can just get some local graduate?

Ok i don’t know how much of this applies to your situation since it’s the other way round. But when I’ve looked into internships over to the states the process seems hassle free. If you have a company willing to take you on, and you can give a start date and end date when you’ll be in the states then it’s pretty straight forward. Doesn’t cost the companies anything. It’s different to a normal work permit, I forget the name, but it’s for people going on internships, training etc.
So don’t let that put you off, get a company interested first and worry about the details later.

Good luck

Yup i dont know anyone from our uni who went on placement and didnt get paid. (in the uk) as allready mentioned a year long placement which requires relocation and no salary is just not feasable unless you are spoilt and have very rich parents.

I think the place i was at paid the least out of everyone in our year, £350 a month… but i still got paid and just about managed to live. but then i suplimented that with a freelance job i scored in the evenings.

Thing i think you will anywhere when looking abroad is that your always competing with the local talent so you will have to bring something special and different to the table.