Below are some of the most frequent questions about the GIP3.  If your question is not answered here, please contact the .


  • Who can apply?
  • GIP is open to degree-seeking students, both domestic and international, at the University of Pennsylvania. Current Penn freshmen, sophomores, juniors and graduate students who are NOT graduating in May or August 2018 are eligible to apply.

    Students are not eligible to apply to a placement in their home country.

    Note: If you are an exchange student, a senior or graduate student graduating in May or August, or a non degree-seeking student, you are not eligible for internships through GIP.

  • Can I study abroad and do GIP?
  • Absolutely!  With careful planning, students can extend their time abroad by doing a GIP internship the summer before or after a semester or year abroad.  GIP students may also be interested in the Penn Global Seminars, which are semester-long courses taken at Penn with a short-term travel component.

    Students that choose to study abroad in the same country they intern in may also be eligible for a Boren scholarship.  See the Penn Abroad scholarships page for more information.

  • Do I have to speak a language besides English?
  • It depends on the placement.  Any placement that requires a language other than English will list it in the placement description.  Some placements do have a language requirement because the office or the nature of the work requires that language to function.   If the placement requires a specific level of fluency, be honest in your assessment of your abilities. 

    Some placements recommend an additional language.  In this case, that language is not required, but it would greatly help with your work and would make your application more competitive.  Most placements do not have a language requirement, so if you don’t speak an additional language you can still apply.  That said, even if the placement has no language requirement, speaking another language may still help you in your work and make daily life in the community easier.

  • I participated in GIP previously. Can I apply for another internship?
  • If you have previously participated in GIP, you are not eligible to apply for GIP again for an internship or research placement.  If you were offered an internsip previously, and declined the offer before the acceptance deadline, you are eligible to re-apply.  You may however, apply for funding-only through the GIP application if you have secured an internship or research experience on your own.

    Please take into consideration that if you declined the internship offer after the acceptance deadline, you will not be eligible to re-apply for GIP.

  • What is Funding-Only? How does it differ from GIP?
  • The Funding-Only Application is part of the larger Global Internship Program.  If you have already secured an internship or research experience abroad for next summer that is 8-12 weeks in length, you may apply for funding through the GIP application.

    If you do not already have an internship or research experience set up for next summer, you will want to apply for either an internship placement or research placement through the GIP application.  You will also be eligible for funding if you are offered a placement.

  • I opened an application, but have decided not to apply. What should I do?
  • If you decide not to apply, we appreciate that you withdraw your application.  To withdraw your application:

    1.     Log in to Terra Dotta (where your application is) by using your Penn Key and password.

    2.     On your homepage will be a list of your applications.  Click the blue “withdraw” button.

The Application Process

  • Where can I learn more about GIP?
  • Come to an Information Session! Dates, times and the location are located on our website. We will discuss the program and give tips on the application and interview process.  Past participants may also attend and can give you more insight into their placement and GIP experience.

    Additionally, all students are required to meet with the Global Internships Manager as part of the application process.  During this appointment, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and talk about your interest in the GIP.  You may schedule an advising appointment by clicking here.

  • Where can I find the application?
  • Once the application has opened in October, you can start an application online (link to follow). Please read all the application instructions carefully.  The application is submitted entirely online.

  • Are recommendations required? Who can write one for me?
  • Generally, GIP placements do not require recommendations.  However, individual employers may decide to require one.  If this is the case, the recommendation can be submitted digitally through the online application.  It must be from a Penn professor who has graded you or from an employer or professional reference of your choice.

    • Recommenders will be asked to vouch for your character as well as your academic and professional caliber, so choose recommenders who know you well.
    • If you would like to have a TA write a recommendation for you, you will need to have the Professor grading the class complete the recommendation form, but the TA can provide input and a letter of support.
    • You may also have an advisor write you a recommendation.
  • I want to know more about the placement. Who can I talk to?
  • Contact a past participant.  Everyone listed on our website has volunteered to be there and answer your questions.  They are your best resource for information about the organization and the location.  Even if your placement has no past participants listed, someone who has lived in the same area can likely provide you with excellent advice about housing, visas, and airfare.  GIP applicants may not contact the host organization directly until after they have been accepted.

  • What does the review committee look for in candidates?
  • Strong candidates will be able to meet two or more of the following criteria:

    • Coursework relevant to work in international development
    • Personal or professional experiences in demanding circumstances
    • Work and/or travel time spent abroad
    • Foreign language proficiency
    • Ability to work independently
    • Flexibility, adaptability and resourcefulness
    • Professionalism, reliability, and attention to detail
    • A willingness and desire to go out of your comfort zone!

Internship Placements

  • What kind of internship will be best for me?
  • We recommend that you choose an internship that is related to your major or a personal passion or interest, such as communications or marketing, healthcare, education, or international development. If you are studying a foreign language, consider a summer internship requiring you to work in that language. Think about what you want to get out of an internship, what you are willing to put into it, and whether you have the language skills to work day-to-day in another language.

    All GIP internships are outside of the U.S., so you must be comfortable being away from home, and in many cases without modern conveniences such as air conditioning and western toilets.  We will do our best to prepare you for the personal and professional challenges you are likely to encounter while living and working in another country, but expect to be surprised!

  • Will I be doing office work as an intern?
  • GIP offers a wide variety of internships. Some GIP placements require office work, while others require hands-on work at field sites, schools, or clinics. Your internship may require a certain degree of clerical work, but a lot depends on the needs of the host organization, as well as your personal strengths. Be sure that your resume mentions your specific skills, experience, and interests, such as foreign language ability, experience planning and coordinating events for a student club, and computer skills.

  • How long are the internships?
  • GIP internships are at least 8 weeks and up to 12 weeks in duration.  Depending on the host organization’s needs, your internship start and end dates may vary.

Preparing and Going Abroad

  • What do I need to know about my passport?
  • If you don’t have a passport yet, you should apply for a passport now.  All GIP interns will need a valid passport for travel abroad and back to the US. If you are a non-U.S. citizen, you will also need to be certain that you have a valid U.S. visa or other authorization for re-entry into the US.  (Visit ISSS with specific questions).

    Double-check to make certain that your travel documents are in order, and that they will not expire within six months of your return date.

  • How do I get my visa?
  • You are responsible for securing your own visa, if needed, prior to departure.  Please find out as soon as possible whether you will need a visa for travel associated with your internship. The State Department website may be helpful for US citizens and non-US citizens.

    The time it will take to secure your visa will vary by country, so start your visa application early.  Not all visas are the same. Many countries issue different types of visas for tourism, work, study or business. Each Penn GIP intern is responsible for finding out if s/he needs a visa, and if so, what kind of visa is required for his/her position. Penn Abroad can provide a letter or other documentation of your internship if that is needed for your visa application, but cannot obtain a visa for you.

    For help with your visa, you can visit CIBT’s website. For a fee, CIBT will help you figure out what visa you will need.

  • Am I covered by insurance while I’m abroad?
  • International SOS (ISOS), Penn’s Travel Assistance Provider, is made available to all Penn students, staff and faculty who are traveling abroad. It is an invaluable resource providing safety, health, visa, travel and cultural information specific to your region of travel. It also provides emergency assistance in case of crisis. 

    All GIP students will receive an ISOS membership card with Penn’s member number.  You may also print a copy of Penn's ISOS card yourself.  In addition, ISOS counts as medical travel insurance. Interns should check with their personal insurance provider to see if they cover international health insurance and MUST maintain their personal health insurance even while abroad. Interns must also check to see if the country they are going to requires any additional, separate insurance.

  • How do I get housing abroad?
  • Some placements provide housing on-site, while others do not.  If your placement does not offer housing, you are responsible for finding your own accommodations.  Your host organization will have in-country knowledge regarding safe neighborhoods, home-stays, short-term sublets, or hotels/hostels; however, it is ultimately your responsibility to secure and pay for your housing. Past participants are a great resource.

  • Do I have any obligations to Penn Abroad while I’m abroad?
  • As part of accepting any scholarships from Penn Abroad, all GIP interns must agree to share their experience abroad.  Students will be asked to complete evaluation surveys, as well as blog posts and picture/video projects.  More details will be confirmed by the time applications are open.

  • Do I have any obligations to Penn Abroad after I return?
  • Each GIP intern is required to complete the following at the conclusion of his/her Internship:  

    • Online survey to evaluate your internship experience. This will be solicited from you in the fall after you return.
    • A summary report of the work you performed during your internship. 
    • Attend the fall re-entry debriefing at Penn to share your experiences, outcomes, and give feedback on the program overall.
    • Volunteer at info sessions for future GIP students.

Finances & Academic Credit

  • Is the internship paid? Is there an award?
  • GIP placements are unpaid.  However, when applying for placements, students will have the option to be considered for several scholarships to help offset the cost of this unpaid internship.  We have over 100 scholarships available, and these scholarships can be applied to your airfare, housing, food, transportation, visa fees, etc.

    Please note: These awards are not intended to cover all costs.  We recommend that you talk to past participants about in-country costs and budgeting for your internship. It is more than likely that you will be paying for some of your internship out of your own pocket. No additional funding will be given other than the award amount you receive.

  • Can I receive academic credit for my internship?
  • Penn does not award academic credit for summer internships; however, you may want to consider doing an independent study on a topic related to your internship after you return.  Try reaching out to a faculty member in a related department to see if they will sponsor your independent study, and visit the department website to view their independent study policy.

  • Can I use my financial aid for GIP?
  • GIP is a non-credit program, so you cannot use your financial aid to fund your participation.  However, we have over 100 scholarships available to students to help offset the costs associated with this experience. Additionally, GIP interns receiving financial aid, but expected to contribute summer wages towards their tuition costs, may be eligible to receive a waiver for the summer contribution.

Upcoming Events

GIP Info Session: October 11th from 1:00pm-2:00pm at Penn Abroad

GIP Info Session: October 20th from 12:00pm-1:00pm at Perry World House

GIP in Asia Info Session: October 20th from 1:00pm-2:00pm at Perry World House

GIP in Africa Info Session: October 26th from 4:30pm-5:30pm in the Africana Studies Conference Room (3401 Walnut Street, Suite 330A)

GIP for Graduate Students Info Session: November 3rd from 1:00pm-2:00pm in the Graduate Student Center (Room 305)

Education Internship Info Session: November 6th from 1:00pm-2:00pm at the Graduate School of Education (Room 120)

Contact Us

Jillian Cener
Global Internships Manager

Penn Abroad Office

3701 Chestnut Street, Suite 1W
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: 215-898-9073
Fax: 215-898-2622