Congratulations on being accepted for an internship overseas. Through IAESTE, you are not only given an opportunity to apply your knowledge to solve problems and experience life independently, but also a chance to broaden your global outlook and sharpen your competitiveness for your future career development. In order to make the most out of your internship experience, you must make a concerted effort to do the research, plan ahead and prepare well. We have prepared the tips and reminders below to help you.
Before departing Hong Kong
Training Visa / Work Permit
- Make sure that you have obtained a valid work permit/visa for working/training purpose before departure. You may contact relevant consulates in Hong Kong for more details.
- Check if you need to apply for additional documents after settling in the country, e.g. residential permit. You may obtain more information from the IAESTE office of that country.
- If you are going to visit other countries, make sure you have obtained valid entry visas for countries that you are going to visit. You may check with relevant consulates in Hong Kong for more details.
- Confirm your ticket before departure as there may be last-minute changes on the flight schedule due to special airline arrangements.
- Make a copy of your air ticket and place it separately from the original. In case you lose the original, you may use the copy as a reference to ask for a ticket replacement.
Purchase suitable insurance for your entire travel and training period before departure. The following terms should be included in the insurance:
- Personal accident (including death and permanent total disablement);
- Medical expenses (including hospitalization, evacuation and repatriation);
- Baggage and personal effects;
- Personal money and documents;
- Personal liability; and
- Travel delay, missed journey connection and overbooking (on cancellation charges or re-routing costs).
Points to note:
- Some countries/employers may require you to acquire specific insurance coverage. Check if your package meets with those requirements.
- Read through the policy details carefully. Some insurance plans may specifically exclude coverage on ‘dangerous activities’, such as scuba diving, motorcycling, and even trekking.
- Check if the insurance company will pay doctors or hospitals direct or you have to pay on the spot and claim later. If it is the latter case, make sure you keep all documentation and/or receipts.
- Some policies require you to call the insurance centre in Hong Kong / host country where an immediate assessment of your problem will be made.
- Bring copies of your insurance policy only. The original document should be kept by your family for emergency reference.
- Make sure you know the method for 24 hours worldwide assistance if provided.
Make sure that you have reserved your accommodation accordingly before departure. You should obtain the detailed address, phone and/or fax number for yourself and your family’s record.
Prepare enough money for expenses during your trip, especially in the first month, which normally includes one-month rental fee. You may handle your money in the following two ways:
- Open a saving account with an international ATM card in Hong Kong and draw cash abroad. You are recommended to deposit your money in two separate accounts and bring along two ATM cards. In case one of your cards is lost or not working, you can still draw money with the other.
- If you prefer to open an account after you have settled down, you are recommended to bring enough cash and traveler’s cheques for expenses in the first couple of weeks. It may take some time to arrange a pay-roll account.
Set up an appointment with your family doctor or the University Health Service (or its equivalent at your university for non-PolyU students) 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to:
- Learn about disease risks and health recommendations for your destinations
- Ensure you have the correct vaccines for your trip
- Obtain a Travel Medicine Kit
You are also advised to look for more information about travelers’ health. CDC Travelers’ Health provides a lot of useful information for you to start with.
Copies of Important Documents
Make copies of your important travel documents. Take a copy with you (separate from the originals) and leave a copy in Hong Kong with your family.
Tuition Payment, Grant/Loan Application and Subject Registration
As most of you will stay overseas until the end of August, you are reminded to:
- Check the deadline for payment of tuition fee and application for grant/loan for the next year/semester.
- Seek help from your family members or schoolmates to handle the payment and/or application for you.
- Prepare an authorisation letter to authorise a family member or schoolmate to handle registration for you.
For those who will stay overseas for one year, inform your academic department and/or Academic Secretariat that you will be away for one year and make necessary arrangement beforehand.
For subject registration, liaise with your academic department for special arrangement.
International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
Your student ID card may not be accepted as proof of student status while you are abroad, so you may want to purchase the International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which is the internationally recognized proof of student status. Benefits of ISIC vary from country to country, but may include discounts on transportation, accommodation, admission fees to museums, etc.
For detailed information on the ISIC and its benefits, as well as information on locations where you can purchase the ISIC, visit www.isic.org.
Chinese Embassies and HKETOs
Get the address and phone number of the Chinese Embassy or Consulate General closest to your host city. You may find their contacts on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. See ‘Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Travelling Outside Chinese Territory‘ for the scope of services and assistance that can be provided by a Chinese embassy or consular mission.
There are also eleven Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices (HKETOs) overseas which can offer assistance to you, visit GovHK for their contacts.
Understand your host country
Do your homework and research on your host country. You may start with The World Factbook provided by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
While you are abroad
General advice and several safety tips for a pleasant and successful stay:
- Call home as soon as possible to confirm your safe arrival.
- Use the main entrance of your apartment especially when you return late in the evening. Be observant and look around before entering.
- Close the door securely whenever you are in your hostel room and apply all of the locking devices provided.
- Check if all sliding glass doors/windows and/or connecting room doors are locked.
- Do not answer the door in a hostel room without verifying who it is.
- Do not put your room key wherever they can be easily stolen.
- Do not invite strangers to your hostel room.
- Do not leave your bags or belongings unattended at any time. Do not agree to carry or look after packages or suitcases for anyone.
- Avoid using your full name and address on your baggage identification tags.
- Try to act like you know what you are doing and where you are going so that you are less easily identified as a newcomer.
- Learn what the locals do to protect themselves (neighborhoods to avoid, places that are known to be safe, where to walk, where to shop, etc.)
- Carry your purse close to your body – do not let it dangle. Carry your wallet in an inside coat or front trouser pocket.
- Avoid inviting attention by displaying large amount of cash, expensive jewelry or luxury goods.
- Take care when using a laptop in public. It is not always safe to use laptops in public in all countries. We are accustomed to using laptops in public cafes and shopping malls in Hong Kong, but you should probably avoid this activity while overseas.
- Use traveller’s checks and credit cards instead of cash whenever possible. Take only those credit cards you need.
- If you see any suspicious activity, report to the hostel’s management office and/or relevant party.
- Keep informed of current political situations. In an emergency, advisories may be made to the general public through the media.
- Make use of online translator, such as Google Translate or Yahoo! Babel Fish, to help you overcome the language barriers that you may come across.
After your placement
Get in touch with us
We need to ensure you safely arrive home after the internship so please inform us upon your return.
Share your experience and joy
We’d love to hear about your experience! Share with us your experience, photos, videos or any other matters about your trip upon your return.
Complete the IAESTE Trainee’s Report
You are required to complete the IAESTE Trainee’s Report and submit it to us within two weeks after you have returned to Hong Kong.