One Step Ahead. International Students Improve Professional Opportunities through Practical Experience

Policy Brief l February 2016

International students are viewed as the skilled professionals of tomorrow, but too many of them do not get off to a good career start on the German labour market. They can significantly improve their prospects through volunteer work and internships. The survey of 2,565 master's degree students shows: anyone who volunteers speaks better German, has more contact to domestic students and feels a greater sense of belonging in Germany than other students who don't. In addition, volunteering contributes to creating networks and to acquiring skills relevant to the job application process. Volunteer work is therefore just as important as internships for professional opportunities later on. The Expert Council's Research Unit recommends: universities should establish networks with the private sector, local actors and volunteer agencies to give international students better access to internships and volunteer work.