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Senior Co-op: Visas and Interning Abroad Legally

posted by Sabrina Sunde


Whenever something bad happens, my mother reminds me that big things come in threes. I don’t know if someone lost count, but this summer saw more than three things go wrong.

Life has bite, with sharp teeth and all, which can make us yield or rise to fight. When I received an email eight weeks before my departure to Ireland for my Senior Co-op saying “You need a work permit.” I was close to the former response.

I took a moment, a night, a day... (Because that’s my way: baby steps.) and got to work. I was in contact with my Co-op liaison in Human Resources at Fota Island Resort, and was introduced to the other intern who will be joining me in a few weeks. Together we interns sent emails, spent hours researching, and each visited a consulate. (New York for her and Chicago for me.)

Would you like to know what our research yielded? That my original research was correct. I don’t need a visa and I don’t need a work permit (internship or otherwise because I won’t be paid). I will register with Irish immigration by providing documentation and they will stamp my passport if I’m approved. (Documentation: plane tickets, letters of invitation, insurance, school credit. I’ve got them in triplicate.)

Everyone’s situation is different, but here are some of my strongest recommendations for researching interning in another country:

Visit many website: Your best bet is websites maintained by the country you plan to enter

Visit a consulate (or two): Calling around may suffice but nothing beats face to face reassurances

Have a support system: Whether this is your school, your internship sponsor, or your family. (These people will be invaluable when you need a pre-fight pep talk (think “Rocky”))

A few other places which might be helpful: Travel agencies, blogs (like this one!), travel guide books (B&N), and previous interns

My research continued and still continues because I get mixed answers. I already have a plane ticket (much $$$) and would like to not change it if absolutely necessary. I have double (triple) checked and tried to prepare for all contingencies.

It has been a stressful summer. More than three things went wrong, mom. Life has never been clean cut, though, has it? Do your research, fight battles worth fighting, know your resources and don’t give up.

Fingers crossed I make it through customs ;-)

Find out more about studying abroad at LIM College!

Topics: study abroad, Ireland, fashion internships