FAQ

What's in a name, right? This page sums some of the questions we get the most, about who we are, about our application procedure and about our other activities. Should your question not be included here, you can either find the answer somewhere else on this website, or by contacting us through our contact form.

Application

I am not enrolled in a Belgian university, but would like to do my internship in a Belgian company. Is this possible through IAESTE Belgium?

Generally speaking, no. We can suggest that you first get in touch with you Local IAESTE Committee back home, and see what possibilities they offer. You never know they have an offer available in a Belgian company. When they don't, you can try and contact Belgian companies yourself and try to get an internship that way. If you're up for that, you can always suggest to the company to arrange the internship through IAESTE. This will make administration (for both you and the company) easier, but the company will have to pay a fee to IAESTE Belgium (€650, in some cases €100). Apart from these two options, there's not much we can do. We get a lot of requests like this, but it is impractical, if not impossible for us to call Belgian companies and suggest you as an intern, or to send you contact details of Belgian companies.

I'm enrolled at a Belgian university. Can I apply for an IAESTE internship?

Only students enrolled at an IAESTE member university, i.e. Ghent University, VUB/ULB or KULeuven, can apply for an IAESTE internship. Unfortunately, we are currently not active in any other Belgian universities. Should you (and maybe a couple of friends) be interested in making your university an IAESTE member university, don't hesitate to contact us!

I am an Erasmus student in Ghent/Brussels/Leuven. Can I apply for an IAESTE internship?

Unfortunately, you can't. The best way for you to get an IAESTE internship is to check with the Local IAESTE Committee in your home country.

I am a degree student in Ghent/Brussels/Leuven. Can I apply for an IAESTE internship?

Yes. If you are enrolled for a complete masters degree in one of the IAESTE member universities, i.e. Ghent University, VUB/ULB or KULeuven, you can indeed apply for an IAESTE internship though IAESTE Belgium.

I am graduating this year. Can I still go on an IAESTE internship?

Yes, you can! As long as you are enrolled at one of the three IAESTE member universities in Belgium (Ghent University, VUB/ULB and KULeuven) when you apply, you can go. Some internships require that you are enrolled as a student during the whole period of your internship though, so do double-check if you graduate before the start of your internship.

Can only engineering students apply for an IAESTE Internship?

No, all students with a science and/or technical background can apply! This includes engineers, bio-engineers, biologists, physici, mathematicians, chemists, computer scientists... as long as they are enrolled in one of the IAESTE member universities (Ghent University, VUB/ULB or KULeuven). We will be honest though: we are indeed most active within the engineering faculties, and most internships we provide are therefore also aimed at engineering students. However, if you are a non-engineering student and you wish to go on an IAESTE internship, then please fill out the IAESTE Wish List (if its in the appropriate period of the year, i.e. between October and December) or check out the internships on the Exchange Platform. Instructions how to do can be found on the application page. You can also contact us for more information. Who knows, you might be that one IAESTE pioneer that your study needs!

There are no internships on the Exchange or Application Platform that match my field of study!

The list on the Exchange Platform is a list of FCFS offers that companies offer through IAESTE throughout the year. If there are no internships in your field of study at this moment, then that is simply because no companies within your field of study are currently offering a vacancy. However, this list is updated continuously, so it is possible that internships that are relevant for you will appear on our platform in the future. Keep an eye on the platform to see if that is the case.

If there are no internships that match your field of study on the list of yearly offers (through the yearly procedure, on the Application Platform), then unfortunately there simply are none for the regular procedure for that year. Then you can check the Exchange Platform for FCFS offers, and make sure to fill out the Wish List next year to increase the likelihood that we will find an internship that does match your field of study.

Does filling in the IAESTE Wish List imply that I will get to go on an IAESTE internship?

No. Filling in the IAESTE Wish List doesn't guarantee anything. It remains very important for you to fill it in though, as it is a way for us to get an idea of what kind of internships we need to look for when exchanging the Belgian internships for the foreign ones. The higher the demand, the more we know that we need to look out for a certain kind of internship.

Does filling in the IAESTE Wish List imply that I will have to go on an IAESTE internship?

No. Filling in the IAESTE Wish List is not binding in any way. So go ahead and fill it in, as it is a way for us to get an idea of what kind of internships we need to look for when exchanging the Belgian internships for the foreign ones. The higher the demand, the more we know that we need to look out for a certain kind of internship.

I didn't fill in the IAESTE Wish List. Can I still go on an IAESTE internship?

Yes! Filling in the IAESTE Wish List is important, because you are letting us know what you are interested in and what we need to look out for when we exchange internships. It is however, not a requirement to apply or go on an internship.

How do I write a good motivation letter?

A broad question, but still one we get very often. There are some important things to consider:

  • It's a letter, so write it as one! Provide contact details in the upper right corner, possibly the logo of your university in the upper left corner, start with 'Dear...' end with 'Sincerely, ...'
  • Convince us (and later the employer) why you are so motivated for this internship: are you the perfect match, is this your dream internship, is it the perfect cross-over of your studies and another field of interest, are you super interested in the culture of that one country...? Tell us about it!
  • Be enthusiastic but polite, and use correct language.
  • Very very obvious, but we get them every year: write in English! Don't be that person applying for an international internship with a Dutch motivation letter. You might be able to go to the Netherlands.

As a more practical piece of information: we expect a motivation letter for every internship you apply for. If you apply for 5 internships, that means 5 (preferably at least a bit different) motivation letters.

Where do I find the Transcript of Records?

For Ghent University: Go to oasis.ugent.be and select the current academic year in the left column. Your curriculum details will appear. Select your current curriculum and hit the 'print transcript of records' button. Done!

The Offer Form of an internship shows that the internship needs to start/end on a certain date, but I'm only available starting from the week after the start date/until the week before the end date. Is this a problem?

It might be. First of all, you might already be excluded during the nomination process, where we check on those dates. Secondly, if you do get selected to go on an internship, the company can refuse you if you cannot come between certain dates. If this doesn't happen and you get accepted, there's always the chance to get in touch with the company and ask them about your working dates. At this stage, most companies are relatively flexible and don't mind if you shift your working period with a couple of days or a week. So, it's worth a shot, but realise you are decreasing a bit your chances to get selected and accepted.

The description of the internship is not very clear, can I just contact the employer and ask for more information?

NO! It is strictly forbidden to contact the employer mentioned on an IAESTE offer before you are officially accepted. There are several reasons for this, one being the function of IAESTE in the whole process. We are there to ensure that the workload of finding a good candidate for an internship is limited for the companies we work with. Not really helping if everyone starts contacting them, right? If we find out that you in any way tried to contact IAESTE employers in the context of an IAESTE internship before being accepted by them, you will be excluded from the nomination procedure.
Of course, we do understand that not all internship descriptions are very accurate. You can always contact us, we might be able to provide more information or will reach out to the employer ourselves if necessary.

Nomination and selection

When I apply for an internship, what is the chance that I'll actually be nominated?

Regular application procedure (through the Application Platform)
Statistically speaking, your chances are somewhere between 40 to 50%: between 150 and 200 students apply every year for approximately 80 internships. Life can't always be expressed in statistics however, and you will notice that your chance of getting nominated highly depends on how many other people are applying for the same internship: if that one Chemical Engineering internship in Japan has 18 other applicants, your chances are obviously a bit lower.

Nomination procedure through the Exchange Platform
The offers that appear on intraweb are on a first-come-first-serve basis. This means that, if you apply for an internship that interests you, and we think your Motivation Package is good enough, you are automatically nominated for the internship! So, very often, this is a 100% successrate (on nomination!) once you have applied.

When I apply for an internship, what is the chance that I'll actually be selected to go?

Acceptance by the employer of course depends on whether the company or institution thinks you are a good match, but also on the kind of application you did: students applying and nominated through the IAESTE Belgium Application Platform usually have a higher acceptance rate by the employer then students applying through the international Exchange Platform. If you think about it, it makes sense: very often, the candidates nominated through the Application Platform have already been through a quite tough selection procedure, and are more likely to match what the company or institution is looking for. This of course doesn't mean that you should apply through the Exchange Platform: if you are applying for an internship that matches your abilities and interests, the employer will of course be glad to take you into consideration.

What courses need to be on my transcript of records?

In short: all courses that you will have taken (not necessarily succeeded) before you start your internship. This includes bachelor courses!

What countries require a recommendation letter, and what is the best way to get one of those?

The list of countries that require a recommendation letter can be found below. If your country of destination isn't on the list, you can assume that a letter of recommendation is optional, unless we communicate differently with you. In all cases however, a recommendation letter can be considered an asset.
There are several options to get such a letter. You can get one from a professor that you get taught by, from a previous employer (even if that is a summer job, if relevant of course), basically from anyone that can comment on your professional attitude. The letter should contain some information on how the person that's writing it knows you and on why he/she thinks you would do a good job. Assuming you are applying for an internship through Portal, it's always a good idea to start informing with people that you think could write this letter for you, as after your nomination, there are only three weeks left to complete your Nomination Package.
Here is the list:
  • Letter of recommendation REQUIRED for: Austria , Canada, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA
  • Letter of recommendation RECOMMENDED for: Brazil, Ecuador, Hong Kong, India
  • Letter of recommendation OPTIONAL for: Australia, Belarus , Cyprus, Hungary, Jordan, Malta, Oman, Poland, Spain, Tunesia, Turkey, UAE

How does my top-five of internships on the Application Platform influence the nomination process?

This is a very hard question to answer. We always try to take into account the order of preference you gave as much as possible. This means that we will be inclined to give you a slight advantage for an offer you have at 1st or 2nd place, because we assume that you're most motivated for your first choice, a little less (but still a lot of course!) for your second choice etc. One of the largest consequences of this is in case you are applying for a very popular internship (10 or more applicants). In that case, IAESTE Belgium needs to make a first selection of applicants to take into consideration. If 15 people apply, of which two have this internship ranked fifth in their list, they will most likely be the first ones to drop out througout the selection procedure. The key is to apply for the internship that matches best with your capabilities, and to convince us that you are the right person for the job.
IMPORTANT: We do assume that you are motivated for all the offers you apply for, even if they rank 4th or 5th in your preference list. This means that, should you get your 4th choice for example, we still expect you to go on that internship, considering that you applied for it. Please don't apply for an offer just to have a back-up if you're not really sure you want to go anyway. This messes up our nomination procedure and does not do any good to anyone.

Isn't the nomination procedure very subjective, because the people making the decisions favour their friends or other IAESTE members?

It of course makes sense to think that, but we do our best to select candidates as objectively as possible. The nomination decision is taken by representatives from all three Belgian Local Committees (Ghent, Brussels and Leuven). Even if you are (a close friend of) an IAESTE member, if you're not a suitable candidate, the representatives from the others Committees will not let you pass. So knowing or being an IAESTE member, or being a friend of one does not increase your chances of getting an internship. We mainly select based on CV and motivation letter.

I've been selected to go on an internship, but I can't/don't want to go any more. Am I obliged to go?

That depends on where you are in the procedure:
  • If you haven't signed the agreement with the employer yet (the N5a form), stating that you will actually execute the internship, you can still get out. Please let us know about this as soon as possible!! If it's not too late, we might find another candidate that is interested in the internship as well to fill your place.
  • If you have signed the agreement there's no way back, the employer is counting on you to execute the job he/she has for you. There are exceptions to this of course, like family illness or disease.
Please note that we don't reimburse the administration fee you paid once you are accepted, unless you can provide us with a proof of an exceptional situation. This basically comes down to (severe) family or own illness. Since an internship abroad is officially accepted as a valid reason to reschedule a re-examination, this is not considered a valid reason for reimbursement!

How long does it take before I know whether the employer accepts my application?

Hate to say it, but it depends. By the end of March, the IAESTE Committee in your country of destination will have received your Nomination Package from us. They then send it to the employer, who can accept your application or reject it. They inform the local IAESTE Committee, that communicates the decision to us, who communicate it to you. As you can see, there are several steps here where time can be lost, especially when it comes to the decision process from the employer side. So, as said, it depends. In most cases, you get informed in April or May, but you might even get confirmation as late as halfway June.
Should you be really concerned about your application, you can always send us a mail, and we can check with the committee abroad if they have an update.

How do I know whether the employer accepts my application?

We communicate this to you, by mail, as soon as we get the information. A few final administrational steps will follow, where you indicate your date and time of arrival, agree on the final time period of the internship etc..

My application was rejected by the employer, but I'd like to know why. How do I find out?

If you receive a message from us that your application was rejected by the employer, you might already find a reason for that in the mail we sent you, if that information was communicated to us. Should this not be the case and you're still interested in knowing why you didn't get the job, you can send a mail to belgium@iaeste.org. We will then try to see if the employer gave a specific reason for not accepting you and let you know as soon as we get that information.

How do I prove that my English is good enough?

Through a 'proof of language proficiency'. You can find a template of such a proof on the How To Apply page, under 'Nominations'. The person to sign this can be a professor that you take courses given in English from, or even a high-school teacher that can confirm that you are good enough at English to communicate. Keep in mind that in some cases (especially native English-speaking and Scandinavian countries) will probably require something more than a document signed by your high-school teacher.

My internship

So I get paid during my internship, great! But how does this affect my 'student job working days', and possibly my parents' child allowance?

There's two options here: either you get an allowance/expense fee from your employer, or you get a proper wage. You can tell the difference by looking at the Offer Form of your internship: If the 'salary deduction' is not 0, that means you will be paying taxes in your country abroad, and are getting paid a wage.
  • In case of allowance/expense fee, you don't need to worry: this is not a taxable income, so it will have no effect on your 'working days' or on your parents' child allowance.
  • If you're getting a wage, it depends on the country of your internship. Within the European Union... . Outside of the European Union... (coming soon!).

I've heard I can use my internship to earn credits (studiepunten). How does this work exactly?

This of course depends on your university and what you are studying.
  • Ghent University
    • Engineering and Architecture (burgerlijk ingenieur en ingenieur architect)
    • You can get 3 credits for an internship of 4 weeks; for an internship of 6 weeks or more, you can get 6 credits. More information on what this means concerning practical arrangements can be found here (English) and here (Dutch).
    • Engineering and Architecture: Engineering Sciences (industrieel ingenieur)
    • An internship of minimum 4 weeks is worth 3 credits. Some special cases are civil engineering students (bouwkunde), who can make an IAESTE internship part of their mandatory summer internship, and the computer science students (informatica) who can earn up to 6 credits with an internship of minimum 6 weeks. More information can be found here (English) and here (Dutch).
    • Bioscience Engineering (bio-ingenieur)
    • All information regarding internships and credits for Bioscience Engineering students can be found here (English) and here (Dutch). Most importantly, internships in an academic context (i.e. at a university) are not eligible for credits. Internships of minimum 4 weeks are worth 5 credits, when you do an internship of minimum 8 weeks, this is worth 10 credits.
    • Bioscience Engineering: Biosciences (biowetenschappen)
    • An internship of minimum 4 weeks is worth 6 credits for biosciences students, but only if the internship is in a non-academic context (i.e. not at a university). More information can be found here (English) and here (Dutch).
  • VUB/ULB
  • More information can be found here (English)
  • KULeuven
  • More information can be found here (English) and here (Dutch)

If my forms indicated that the local IAESTE Committee will find lodging for me, do I need to do anything else for this?

Nope, you should be all set. Upon arrival, someone of the Local IAESTE Committee (LC) will likely pick you up from the airport/train station and take you to your place, where you receive your keys and need to sign a contract. Of course, once you have been officially accepted for the internship, you can get in touch with the LC of your destination about this. They can send you some pictures, inform you about the price, possibly sign the contract ahead... Depending on the country, you can still ask them to find something else, but be aware that it is often not easy to find short term accommodation for you.

The wage mentioned on the Offer Form of my internship seems incredibly low. Will I be able to live off this?

Usually, the payment you get should be enough to cover living expenses (housing, food...). You can find an 'estimated cost of living including lodging' on the Offer Form as well, so if you compare the two numbers, you'll get a good idea of what to expect. Keep in mind that €300 in India for example, gets you a lot further than the same amount in Belgium. Flights excluded, an IAESTE internship should be a break-even operation. Apart from this, there is the chance that you will travel (a lot) during the weekends of your internship. This is of course not taken into account in the 'cost of living' and usually is an additional cost.

Will there be things organised for me at the location of my internship?

Yes! Expect at least to be picked up from the airport/railway station, but in many cases much more. Like our Local IAESTE Committees in Belgium, the Local Committees (Lcs) abroad often organise activities, parties, weekend trips... for all IAESTE trainees, mostly during summer. Even if this is not the case, it is very likely that you are not the only IAESTE trainee in the neighbourhood, and the LCs will at least be able to get you in touch with the others. No harm in organising a small trip or party yourself, right?
IAESTE is medium-sized to very big in most European countries; expect groups of 50 or more trainees and weekends with up to 200 participants in Eastern Europe! In Asia, activities are organised as well. LCs in South-America are a bit less active, but we hardly ever get complaints about boring days there, as you'll likely be travelling a lot in the weekends with a relatively small group of friends. North-America and Australia have no real LCs; you will likely be picked up by your employer. These regions are however in general very open to 'new' people and it will be easy to communicate and find a group of friends (if you're unsure about this, ask our alumni trainees to confirm!).
To round up: should you be afraid to be headed towards a boring summer full of only work, we can highly recommend reading our internship booklet(s) of this and previous years. As you'll notice, a boring IAESTE summer doesn't exist.

Are there possibilities to get a scholarship or a grant to go on an IAESTE internship?

Yes, in two ways. Firstly, concerning the administrational fee, there is a difference between a standard fee and the fee you pay if you are a scholarship student (beursstudent) (€80 vs the full €145). Secondly, if your internship is outside of Europe, you can be eligible for a grant of €200. More information on that is communicated in June. Other than these two options, there are no possibilities for scholarships or grants. Do keep in mind that you are getting a wage or an allowance that should be enough to cover your living expenses (housing, food...). The only costs to an IAESTE internship should be limited to the administration fee and the transportation to your internship country.

IAESTE as an organisation

Does IAESTE only arrange internships?

NO! Internships are our core business, but we do so much more! Some examples:
  • Summer Reception: just like you are going on an internship abroad, students from abroad come for internships in Belgium, mostly during summer. And like in your case (mostly), we organise fun activities to bring everyone together and have fun. This is what we call summer reception, featuring a Brussels Weekend, a Gentse Feesten Weekend, national evenings, sports activities... Joining one (or all) of our Summer Reception events is perfect if you're interested in getting into the international atmosphere while staying in Belgium.
  • IAESTE Brussels Quiz: Well, a quiz of course! As a now 6-year old tradition, IAESTE Brussels yearly organises its quiz around the middle of November.
  • IAESTE Ghent Quiz: A bit jealous of the great success of the IAESTE Brussels quiz, IAESTE Ghent decided in 2016 to try and go for it as well!
  • Twinnings:As IAESTE is all about exchange, that's also what a twinning is: two Local Committees (LCs) 'exchange' themselves and visit one another for a (long) weekend: a Belgian LC visits the LC abroad, and a couple of weeks/months later, we get to receive some guests from the foreign LC (or the other way around). A twinning is an activity reserved for IAESTE members. Examples of some twinnings we did:
    • 2014 - 2015: LC Ghent - LC Graz (Austria)
    • 2014 - 2015: LC Ghent - LC Malta (Malta)
    • 2015 - 2016: LC Ghent - LC YTU (Istanbul, Turkey)
    • 2015 - 2016: LC Ghent - LC Prague (Czech Republic)
    • 2016 - 2017: LC Ghent - LC Skopje (Macedonia)