Internship Exchange

Establishing stronger business, political, and human ties

Key program elements

  • Intern exchange programs enhance the skills of international students through exposure to American business techniques, methodologies, and expertise.
  • Participants are current university students or recent graduates.
  • Participants come from countries key to U.S. national security interests like Brazil, China, India, Korea, and Eastern Europe.
  • Interns and trainees return to home to utilize their enhanced professional skills and knowledge to advance their careers, and to share their experiences and increased understanding of the U.S., creating a powerful multiplier effect.
  • Maximum program duration is 12 months for interns.


Creating leaders and partners for the future

Intern exchange participants take home positive impressions of the U.S. and its people, as well as an enhanced understanding of American business and professional practices. Their time as interns leads to more business contact and partnerships between the U.S. and their home countries. Over time, as these program alumni continue to move into positions of leadership, their exchange experiences create a foundation for positive relationships between the U.S. and their home countries, and contribute to a reservoir of bilateral goodwill that will support American interests in the future.


Supporting the interests of American businesses

American companies, businesses, and nongovernmental organizations choose to act as intern exchange hosts for a variety of important reasons. Many American companies seek to develop a pool of trained representatives overseas or hope to expand their overseas presence. Some businesses with significant overseas operations wish to exchange key staff in order to improve communication and understanding. Still other organizations and companies see exchange programs as a means to forming ties between world citizens and international markets, cutting through stereotypes and perceptions formed by the media, and creating productive partnerships forged through face-to-face interactions.

Indeed, American companies increasingly see professionally-based exchange programs as integral to their operations. The relationships formed via exchange programs lead to new overseas partnerships and expansion into new international markets. The programs improve the productivity of American staff, as working with an international colleague often requires new modes of thinking, which can stimulate improved performance. Exchange programs also encourage innovation—the different worldview that international interns bring to their American workplaces encourages problems to be approached from new angles, and typically results in more comprehensive solutions.


Protecting international interns and American workers

The Alliance and its members support strong intern exchange program regulations that protect international participants, as well as the interests of their American hosts, and the American people. Intern sponsor organizations are designated by the Department of State, which regularly monitors and makes adjustments to the regulations for these programs. Intern program regulations require:

  • Intern exchange participants may not displace American workers or serve to fill a labor need.
  • Intern host employers must complete, and have approved, an Internship Placement Plan, to ensure that exchange participants obtain professional skills, knowledge, and competencies through structured and guided work and activities.
  • Host employers must also agree to provide interns with opportunities to supplement their work experience, such as classroom training, seminars, rotation through several different departments, attendance at conferences, and similar learning experiences.
  • Sponsors must actively facilitate cultural exchange opportunities for participants, beyond the cultural exchange that happens daily in the workplace.
  • Sponsors actively protect the health, safety, and welfare of program participants, and take seriously their role facilitating experiences that will improve the image and influence of the United States abroad.

See more information on the Internship Program on the Department of State website. 

Many Alliance members also facilitate outbound intern/work exchange programs of varying lengths to allow Americans to gain professional experience abroad, as well as in-depth exposure to a foreign culture and society.

The following Alliance member organizations sponsor internship programs:

AIESEC United States

Alliance Abroad Group (AAG)

American Hospitality Academy

American Immigration Council

American-Scandinavian Foundation


ASSE International Student Exchange Programs

CCI Greenheart

CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange

Communicating for Agriculture

Council for Global Immigration [formerly American Council on International Personnel (ACIP)]

Council on International Programs USA (CIPUSA)

Cultural Exchange Network (CENET)

Cultural Homestay International (CHI)

Cultural Vistas

French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC)

German American Chamber of Commerce California (GACC CA)

German American Chamber of Commerce New York (GACC NY)

InterExchange Career Training USA

International Culture & Career Exchange (ICCE)

International Cultural Exchange Organization (ICEO)

Intrax Cultural Exchange

Korea-U.S. Science Cooperation Center

Mountbatten Institute

Mountbatten Internship Programme

Spirit Cultural Exchange

The Ohio Program (TOP)

A list of all inbound internship sponsors designated by the Department of State can be found on the Department’s website.