Fee-based Internship Programs are services offered by private organisations that charge a fee to organise internships for their customers, and these are usually abroad and unpaid with some providers also offering virtual opportunities. The tasks performed by students should either be primarily observational or purely benefitting the student gaining practical experience. The work undertaken by the student should not assist the host of the internship with work activities that raise revenue.
To search for these types of opportunities, you can visit GoOverseas.com and GoAbroad.com, both of which are external websites advertising programmes that have not been vetted by the University of Birmingham. We would advise you to research these programmes thoroughly before deciding to sign on to ensure you are receiving a high-quality experience from a reputable and reliable provider.
We have compiled a list of questions below to support your research into your chosen internship provider, with the advice to explore any other factors that may be relevant to your individual circumstances.
Due Diligence questions
General due diligence
- Have you researched the organisation and their activities thoroughly?
- Do you know the timeline of your experience and the likeliness of this changing closer to the time?
- Do you have the details of the in-country organisation hosting you on the experience? Have you checked the government travel advice for the country you are planning to travel to?
- Have you received enough information about your internship roles, including expectations and potential challenges? Will you be expected to produce a piece of work and will this benefit the organisation financially in any way?
- Do you know what support you will receive from the organisation prior to going on the experience? Are they organising any of the details for your experience, such as accommodation, airport transfers, translators etc.?
- Do know what support you will receive from the organisation during the experience? Is there clear information on how you can raise issues and ask questions throughout, as well as your options for terminating the internship early should you wish to?
Legal due diligence
- What legal entity are they intending to work for? Are they well established?
- What has the organisation said about insurance? Do they confirm there will be insurance in place?
- What are the visa requirements?
- What are the immunisation requirements?
- What is the Covid-19 protocol?
- Is there a written contract in place confirming the rights and obligations of both parties? Have you read it carefully?
- Are you comfortable with any requests that have been made for disclosure of personal data? Is it necessary and relevant?
Financial due diligence
- Are you aware of all the fees involved and at what point in the application process these are required? Are you required to pay a deposit and is this refundable?
- Are fees in GBP£ or local currency and what exchange rate will be used?
- Is there a cooling off period?
- What is their policy on cancelling the opportunities and refunds?
- Are their fees in line with other internship providers? If their fee is much higher, have you challenged this with the internship provider and do you know what other options you have available?
Reputational due diligence
- Have you read reviews from previous students on an external platform that is different to the provider’s website? Glassdoor is one of the most popular review websites in the UK, but you may find other websites, like RateMyPlacement, which have reviews sections.
- Have you explored any information available about this provider and other people’s experience with them on any external forums/discussion boards?
- Have you reached out to your UoB alumni community to find someone who could tell you more about being on this particular experience?
Recognising that these opportunities may be suitable for some of our students, Careers Network offers any support required from our students in relation to taking part in a fee-based internship programme. You can access this support from your dedicated College Careers Team either by booking an appointment or sending us an email enquiry.