Below are some of the most frequent questions about the GIP.  Please read the questions and answer carefully before contacting the .


  • Who can apply?
  • GIP applicants can be domestic or international students of any degree level (undergraduate or graduate).  All applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • Currently a full-time, degree-seeking student at the University of Pennsylvania
    • Will be returning to Penn next Fall semester as a full-time, degree-seeking student
    • Must be in good academic and disciplinary standing
    • Must never have participated in the International Internship Program in previous summers OR must never have accepted an opportunity through the International Internshp Program in previous summers and then withdrew

    GIP applicants may not:

    • Be an exchange student only at Penn for one semester or one academic year
    • Be graduating in May or August of 2018
    • Have already participated in the International Internship Program in previous summer
    • Apply to placements in their home city
  • I am not a Penn student. Can I apply?
  • No.  This program is only open to Penn students.  Contact your university’s International Education office to see if they offer something similar.

  • I'm a medical student. Can I do medical work abroad?
  • All students, including medical students, are encouraged to apply to the GIP.  However, interns are not allowed to do any type of clinical work on patients.  We do, however, have several opportunities in the areas of community health, health policy, and healthcare studies.

  • 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 IIP/GIP, you are not eligible to apply for the GIP again. 

    If you were offered an internship previously and accepted the offer, but withdrew after the acceptance deadline, you are not eligible to apply for the GIP again.

    If you were offered an internsip previously, and declined the offer before the acceptance deadline, you are eligible to re-apply.

  • 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.

  • Can I apply to both an internship placement and funding-only?
  • Students may not apply for both a pre-approved placement and funding-only in Round #1.  In order to apply for funding-only, you must have already confirmed an internship or research placement for next summer.

    If you apply for a placement during Round #1 and do not receive an offer or are unhappy with your offer, you may decline it.  These decisions will be released on March 1, 2018.  The second funding-only round closes on April 1, 2018, giving students unhappy with Round #1 results a month to find an internship on their own and apply for funding.

  • 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.

  • How many internships can I apply to?
  • Students applying for pre-approved internship or research placements may apply for up to two opportunities.  However, students may only apply to one "Penn GIP in..." program, but are encouraged to apply to a company as a second option, as these programs are extremely competitive.

    Students are able to open one application on their own, but must meet with the Global Internships Manager in order to open a second application.

    Several companies list multiple internships, in which case you may apply to one/any/all of them.  Since they are all under the same company, this counts as one application.  Please remember, though, that each internship you apply to requires a unique cover letter with specifications about that particular job.

  • Are applications reviewed on a rolling basis?
  • Round #1: All applications will be assessed at the same time after the application closes on January 10, 2018.  All decisions will be released on March 1, 2018.

    Round #2: Application decisions will be released on a rolling basis starting on March 1, 2018.

  • 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.

  • Why do I need to have an advising appointment?
  • Students applying to pre-approved placements in the GIP need to attend an advising appointment with the Global Internships Manager.  Please come prepared to this appointment with a few internships/placements that you are interested in applying to.  The advising appointment is a way for you to ask questions about the opportunities or the application process, as well as a way for the Global Internships Manager to help you figure out 1-2 opportunities that are the best fit for you.

    See what type of advising appointment you need and schedule yours by clicking here:

  • Who reviews my application and what do they look for?
  • All applications for pre-approved internship or research placements will be reviewed initially by Penn Abroad after the deadline.  Penn Abroad will send the strongest and most qualified candidates to the employer for review.  It is up to the employer whether or not they will conduct interviews and with whom.  The decision is ultimately made by the employer in collaboration with Penn Abroad.

    All applications for funding-only will be reviewed by Penn Abroad only.

    Strong candidates will be able to meet two or more of the following criteria:

    • Experience relevant to the position they are applying for
    • 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 some 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 submit blogs, pictures, and program evaluations.

    Students who do not fulfill the expectations of the GIP will be required to return or all or part of their scholarship award to Penn Abroad.  More information can be found in the "GIP: Scholarship Award Details" form that all students must sign when applying.

Finances & Academic Credit

  • Is the internship paid? Is there an award?
  • The majority of 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.  Every student who is accepted to a pre-approved internship or research placement is guaranteed a Global Internship Scholarship to help offset the costs of the experience.

    Students also have the option to apply to 1 of 10 special scholarships, which will each be $1,000 each.  This is in addition to the Global Internship Scholarship that students will receive upon acceptance.

    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 nearly 200 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.