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Frequently Asked Questions for Applicants/Interns.

This section deals with questions you may have as an applicant/intern curious about doing an internship programme or looking for more information on what exactly is to be expected These have been set into three categories which will make it easier to navigate and find the answer you are looking for.

Internships/Placements
Accommodation in a Host Family
General Information

If you have not made a complete CV already then it is advisable that you build a good CV using the European CV Format as this will help you to create a presentable CV with all the necessary information - please keep this to maximum 2 pages! You may also want to make an assessment of your English level using the European Self-Assment Grid if you are unsure as to what your 'official' level of English is.

Internships/Placements

What is an Internship?
Why should I do an internship?
How long can I stay?
Where will I be located in Ireland?
I am from outside the EU, I need a work permit or student visa?
Are there ant restrictions on who can apply?
What is the minimum level of English required?
What type of placements do you offer?
Will I be paid?
Can I request a specific host company?
What will my working hours be?
What kind of experience can I expect to receive?
Will the host company want to interview me?
Will my host company give me a job after the placement has finished?
What happens if my host company do offer me a job?
What if I am not satisfied with the placement?
What happens if my host company fires me?
Can I reserve a language course in advance?
Is it expensive to do an internship?
Who do I contact to make a booking?
Can I get certification/validation of my placement?
Will my personal details be secure?


What is an Internship?

An internship is a personal investment of your time in return for someone else's expertise.
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Why should I do an internship?

Internships are fast becomming a necessary step to gaining the vital experience needed in order to enter the job market 'running' - experience which gives you the edge over others who may not have done an internship and thus makes you more attractive to potential employers. Taking up an unpaid internship confirms your genuine interest in any particular sector and removes any doubt a potential employer may have about your motivation for applying for a particular job.
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How long can I stay?

The minimum stay is 4 weeks and there is no maximum duration, however stays of longer than 6 months are uncommon. The longer you stay, the more attractive it is for host companies and also you should receive increased responsibility within your placement. Please note if you are coming from outside the EU, you will need to check with your local embassy/consulate on your permissions for travel to Ireland, typically for many other countries, you may be allowed to enter Ireland on a tourist visa for up to 90 days.
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Where will I be located in Ireland?

At the moment placements/internships are only available in Dublin, however in the near future we plan to offer Galway & Cork as potential destinations.
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I am from outside the EU, I need a work permit or student visa?

No, an internship does not require you to have a work permit as you are not being paid for the experience, however, it also does not qualify you for a student visa as it is not yet recognised by the Department of Justice in Ireland as a recognised study programme.
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Are there ant restrictions on who can apply?

There are no restrictions with regard to age, race, colour, creed. However if you are a citizen of a country from outside the EU, you may be subject to travel/entry restrictions.
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What is the minimum level of English required?

The minimum recommended level of English you should have is 'intermediate' or a minimum of level 'A2' using the European Self Assessment Grid - meaning you should be able to communicate without difficulty through English on various familiar/everyday situations. Having a lower level than this will make it difficult for you to understand what is going on in your host company and therefore no benefit will come from taking up an internship as there will be no basic communication ability upon which to improve while based in a busy work environment.
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What type of placements do you offer?

Most professional sectors are available for office based work such as HR, Marketing, Tourism, Finance, Computers/IT, etc.. There are also opportunities for more technical placements however a longer stay of approx 12-24 weeks would be necessary. Only upon receipt of your application can we advise if your particular choice is available.
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Will I be paid?

No, internships in Ireland are on an unpaid basis. Some host companies do provide the cost of a local bus/rail ticket during your placement which will cover the cost of local transportation in the city of your placement/internship. On some very special programmes, a small wage/pocket- money may be payable depending on the conditions of the placement and the requirements of the promoter.
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Can I request a specific host company?

No, specific host companies cannot be requested unless a placement with that company has been advertised by one of our partners. You may request a particular area/sector in which to do your internship, however we do ask that each applicant make three sector choices as your first preference may not be available depending on your education/experience, level of English, duration of stay, time of year, etc... and you should be prepared to work in any one of these three choices knowing that we will always make every effort possible to secure your primary choice first!
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What will my working hours be?

You should be prepared to work a full working week, in Ireland this means 40 hours per week, normally Monday-Friday but depending on the sector or nature of the internship, shift/weekend work may be an integral part of your experience. In most cases interns will have reduced working hours of 30-35 hours per week... however on occasion you may be required to work longer.
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What kind of experience can I expect to receive?

This will depend on many factors such as your level of English, length of stay, etc... and most importantly your attitude towards the work you are given, no matter how simple it may seem! As a minimum you will be providing administrative assistance or office support for the full time staff... at the other end of the spectrum you may become involved with serious projects the company is embarking upon.
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Will the host company want to interview me?

Some companies wish to interview interns as a matter of procedure and maintaining standards. Other companies may have a doubt over your level of English (for example if the work involves much customer contact) and may request an interview to confirm your level. If you are not already in Ireland then a telephone interview will be arranged and normally it will be you who phones the host company for the interview, in the same way you would go to the company's office for a personal interview.
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Will my host company give me a job after the placement has finished?

They are not obliged to do this, however it can happen and typically 5% of all interns are offered permanent/contract positions within their host company.
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What happens if my host company do offer me a job?

In this case you are one of the lucky ones! You will be responsible to deal directly with the host company on all issues regarding contracts and payment.
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What if I am not satisfied with the placement?

If you are not satisfied with your placement for any reason then you should firstly communicate this to your supervisor, because most issues can be resolved directly with the host company. If this fails to yield a positive result then we can assist in the attempt to make a good solution for both host company and yourself. Failing this, a new placement may be sought for you. Please remember though, that if your dis-satisfaction is a result of your expectations being greater than your abilities then there will be little we can assist with as the situation will be no different in another host company.
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What happens if my host company fires me?

This will be a serious situation and a full investigation to the incident will be made. It is quite difficult for a host company to fire someone who is esentially not being paid, so their reasons will have to be valid and taken seriously! Depending on the result of this investigation, a new placement will be sought, or, it will be recommended you finish with the internship programme. The investigation will involve taking reports from both host company and intern, they will be passed on to your agent in your respective country and a decision will be taken on your future on the programme.
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Can I reserve a language course in advance?

Absolutely, we are not a language academy ourselves but we do have good connections with most of the main reputable English language academies in Dublin. Please ask your local agent for more information on what is available.
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Is it expensive to do an internship?

Surprisingly no! There is one fee per placement no matter how long you stay. Even for the minimum stay of 4 weeks, the cost of an internship is cheaper (per hour) than a language course for the same 4 weeks! Also as there is only one placement fee, a 12 week internship will cost the same as a 4 week internship (excluding accommodation)!
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Who do I contact to make a booking?

If you do not already have a representative agency in your own country, please contact InternNational Ireland either by e-mail or by using our
online enquiry form and we will put you in contact with one of our partners who can assist by taking your booking and offer more information on pricing and conditions.
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Can I get certification/validation of my placement?

Yes, official certificates from InternNational Ireland are available for a very small fee, this certificate will provide you with confirmation of your start date, duration, and host company name (plus department in which you worked) - it will not specify which tasks you performed. In addition, if you request a written reference letter from your host company then they should be able to assist and normally this will list some of your daily tasks.
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Will my personal details be secure?

Yes, your personal contact information will not be used for any purposes other than those related to your work experience or host family accommodation. Unless you specifically authorise it, your details will not even be shared with other interns for friendship purposes!
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Accommodation in a Host Family

What type of accommodation is this?
What are the advantages?
What are the disadvantages?
What is included in the price?
What are the rooms like & will I have my own bathroom?
Are there any cultural issues I should be aware of?
How far will I live away from my host company?
Can I chose the area where I want to live?
What if my friends/parents/partner wants to visit me?
Are there many rules in a host family?
What if I have a special diet or allergies?
If I don't want a host family, what other options do I have?


What type of accommodation is this?

It is a solution to the shortage in availability of short-term rented accommodation (less than 6 months) for foreign students coming to Ireland. It also acts as an addition to the whole 'experience' of living and working in a foreign country as it will allow you to integrate completely into the Irish way of life, and it's customs & traditions.
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What are the advantages?

The advantages are that you will not have to worry about things like food shopping, utility bills, laundry expenses, isolation, security deposits, etc... it also allows you to make new friendships with people from another country and gain an insight to a different culture.
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What are the disadvantages?

The disadvantages are that you should abide by house rules and as every family is different, so are the rules/customs. However most host families will open their home and treat you as an adult, granting you certain freedoms, but it is always important to remember that you are a guest in their house and will not have the same freedoms as you would if living in your own rented accommodation.
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What is included in the price?

Included in the price is single room accommodation, laundry washed once per week (but you must do your own ironing!), breakfast & evening meal, electricity/gas, and hot water. Use of the telephone and internet access are strictly under the control of the host family and their decision on such things should be respected, there are many internet and call shops available if your family does not permit use of the phone, internet, etc. Reasons for refusal of permission for these items can be a result of a bad experience with previous/other interns or students who may have abused permission to use the phone/internet. It should be remembered that this permission should be seen as a luxury more than a 'right'.
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What are the rooms like & will I have my own bathroom?

Rooms vary greatly in size and facilities, there is no official grading system for host families as there is with hotels/guesthouses. We would grade families on the warmth of their welcome rather than their social status. It will be highly unlikey that you will have a private bathroom or items such as television etc in your room.
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Are there any cultural issues I should be aware of?

Each family is different and will have different traditions. However some things you should be aware of before taking host family accommodation are:
- Irish people tend to live in houses outside the city centre rather than apartments in the city or closer to the city. It is quite common to live up to 20km from the city centre and commute each day to/from work.
- Since the birth of the 'Celtic Tiger' economy, Irish family life has suffered to a certain degree. The welcome and friendly nature of Irish people is still alive, however it is not common for a family to sit together for meals and people normally eat meals alone rather than around the table. So if your family do not sit to eat with you then do not think it's because they don't like you... it's simply a new part of Irish society.
- Irish people value the words 'please' and 'thank you' very much and use them very frequently throughout the day, please remember this when asking for something or if someone will give you something or do something for you...
- In Ireland there is very little distinction between social classes, the terms 'working class' / 'middle class' / 'upper class' are not commonly used or acceptable descriptions in Irish society and people are judged more on their character and politeness rather than the social position they hold or profession they work in.
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How far will I live away from my host company?

We endeavour to place you as close to your host company as possible, normally on a direct transport link. However in some cases, typically at busier times of the year, it may not be possible to place you close to your host company. Travel times of 20mins-1hour should be expected. Again this results from many Irish families living outside the city rather than closer but in an apartment.
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Can I chose the area where I want to live?

Unfortunately not. The area where you live will be dictated by the location of your host company and you will be placed into the closest availiable family related to your placement.
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What if my friends/parents/partner wants to visit me?

You may ask your host family if they can stay with you but the family are under no obligation to accept. If the family does accept, always offer to pay for the stay as if staying in a guesthouse - most families will politely refuse payment but it will be a welcome, if unnecessary, gesture of goodwill to make the offer. Otherwise there are various options for hotels/hostels/guesthouses available around Dublin.
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Are there many rules in a host family?

You will need to check with your host family when you arrive what rules they may have in place. Normally you will be granted freedom to come and go as you please, but please remember communication and politeness are the key to a successful stay. Always ask before taking something which is not normally included in your stay, etc... this will make your stay more comfortable if you can establish good open communication with your host family.
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What if I have a special diet or allergies?

When making your booking you will be asked to detail any medical requirements, special dietary needs, or allergies you may have. These will then be passed on to the host family before your arrival so they are aware of your needs. It will also be helpful if you remind the family when you arrive of any special requirements as host families do generally take interns/students from many different agencies and there is always a chance they may forget about your particular needs!
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If I don't want a host family, what other options do I have?

There are other options available to rent private apartments/flats or to share houses. InternNational Ireland cannot book these for you as there are private contracts and security deposits generally involved with such rentals. Two popular search facilities in Dublin are www. daft.ie and www.celtichalls.com - InternNational Ireland or it's partners are not connected, and do not have agreements, with these services and cannot guarantee availability. We can also only offer limited support if goes wrong should you decide to rent your own accommodation.
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General Information

I am travelling alone, how do I meet other interns during my stay?
What if I cancel my request for an internship?
What happens if I need to return home and terminate my placement early?
How much money should I bring with me?
What is the weather like?
Is Ireland a safe place?
What about Northern Ireland & Belfast, are they not dangerous?
What if I want to travel during my placement?
What kind of support do you offer?


I am travelling alone, how do I meet other interns during my stay?

Many interns do actually travel alone and coming to a different country without any contacts can be a daunting challenge. At InternNational Ireland we want your 'experience' to encompass the social and cultural aspect as well as the professional. With your permission we can pass your e -mail address and/or phone number to other interns in Dublin so they may make contact with you. Due to data protection laws we can only pass on personal contact details if you have given express permission to do so.
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What if I cancel my request for an internship?

If you cancel your request before a placement is confirmed then there is normally little or no fees to be paid. If you cancel after the placement has been confirmed then the full placement fee is normally due as all work will have been done on your behalf.
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What happens if I need to return home and terminate my placement early?

Depending on the reasons for your premature termination of the internship, we will endeavour to refund as much of the 'unused portion' of your stay as possible - typically an accommodation refund with the possibility of a small cancellation fee. Placement fees cannot be refunded in this case.
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How much money should I bring with me?

Depending on your personal spending habits, this can range from 50euro to 300euro per week. Ireland can be as cheap or expensive as you make it for yourself and there are activities available to suit every budget.
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What is the weather like?

Mild & Unpredictable is about as specific as we can be with the Irish weather! When you come to Ireland you should bring an umbrella & sunglasses and carry them with you each day! Ireland is not a typical 'sunshine' destination and there is little difference between summer and winter with regard to temperature.. typically winter can see termperatures of -3C to +12C and summer may experience temperatures of +15C to +25C degrees - these temperatures can change on a daily basis. Ireland is still popular with tourists because of the warm friendly nature of it's inhabitants and it's rugged and scenic landscapes.
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Is Ireland a safe place?

Generally yes, there is not a high rate of violent crimes and you are unlikely to experience any problems during your stay. The police in Ireland don't even carry weapons! However due to the large numbers of tourists visiting Ireland each year, 'petty' crime can be an issue, pick- pockets, snatch-and-run, etc.. as in any major city it is always wise to take reasonable caution with your valuable belongings. Common sense will be your best friend when considering the correct caution to practice during your stay.
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What about Northern Ireland & Belfast, are they not dangerous?

Northern Ireland is one of the most scenic parts on the island of Ireland and is well worth a visit if you have the time. Belfast has suffered a lot of bad publicity due to the past troubles. However, these troubles are most definitely in the past and Northern Ireland has experienced major changes in the past couple of years. There is a new devolved government present in Northern Ireland made up with members from all areas of the greater community and on 31st July 2007, Britain withdrew it's military presence in Northern Ireland as a show of confidence in the peace process which has been very successful in bringing peace to the people of Northern Ireland.
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What if I want to travel during my placement?

Ireland is a small country and it is possible to reach any part of the country for a weekend break. Your host company will also normally be flexible if you need to request a day off to allow you a long weekend (or two!) during your stay. You may also be given permission by your host company for several days leave in order to return home or travel for some days during your stay. Cheap flights from Ireland to the UK re available on both Ryanair & AerLingus, with flights to some cities in the UK from as little as just 1cent!
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What kind of support do you offer?

During your stay you can expect to have full support should you experience any difficulties. We have a 24-hour emergency mobile number for any issues which cannot wait until the next working day. You may contact us at any time during your stay with questions no matter how large or small - please bear in mind also that you are on a programme which is very 'independent' and you should always endeavor to find answers to your questions by yourself if they are of a nature for which information is freely available (eg - tourism destinations).
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