An internship can prove valuable to your career both through the actual work experience in a company but also for the opportunity of extending your professional network.
Internships on own initiative
If you arrange your own internship you and your contact in the company or at the lab need to ensure that the internship is set up according to regulations and reconcile what applies in relation to your academic studies. There are various ways to gain practical experience but common is that it often provides an expanded network of contacts and an insight into a concrete work. The experience is also a valuable asset in the competition in the labor market.
It is important that you discuss with your contact in the workplace before you begin your practice what it is expected of you. Practical experience can include everything from a defined project or task to just job-shadowing. If the internship involves a project, a position and a salary then it is in fact no longer an internship, it is a "real" job. Internships generally (in Sweden) are unpaid, should be approved by your study programme (if it is part of the study plan) and generate academic credits and/or be included in your degree.
- Check with your study programme if the internship can be part of your education. For instance as part of your thesis.
- Your company or laboratory contact should check with HR in the workplace under what conditions you will able to work and what applies actuarially
- Agree with your contact who will be your supervisor, what is expected of you and if you will receive compensation for your work. Best is to write an agreement so that the obligations becomes clear to both parties.
- Ask for an official certificate when you finish, and preferably also a written recommendation.
Scholarship funded internship opportunities and volunteering
An opportunity to practice parallel to studies may be to apply for internships that are funded through scholarships. There are some international internship opportunities that can be done with the support of scholarships, during studies, between semesters and in the final stage of your education, for example Erasmus+. Karolinska Institutet also has stipends for students who are offered the opportunity to gain research experience during their studies. It is the department at KI that arrangs for the stipends if they have an internship position to offer to a student.
You can also work as a volunteer. Volunteering is unpaid work experience and are rarely designed as a project but usually consist out of more regular work. Experience as a volunteer should not be underestimated. It is an experience that many employers value.
External internships programmes
Karolinska Institutet is regularly contacted by companies offering opportunities for internships. Here below we list some offers:
- ECDC fellowships
- ECDC traineeships
- NovoNordisk - internships
- AstraZeneca - internships
- Roche - Internships
- Eurasmus - internships and housing in Europe
Internship programmes for KI PhD students and researchers
Internships in the hospital or in research labs
If you are looking for clinical internships in hospitals you need to contact the hospital's HR department directly for more information.
In Sweden universities and hospitals are separate authorities; hospitals are either private or run by the county council, while universities are government authorities as is the case for Karolinska Institutet. KI cannot act as an employee for a trainee who is to do a clinically oriented internship within the field of medicine or health sciences at a hospital, as this is considered as work and not studies. The Stockholm hospitals affiliated to KI are first and foremost dealing with students and exchange students studying at KI.
If you are looking for internships in the research labs within Karolinska Institutet you will not be registered as a student unless this is done within an exchange agreement. Read more in our FAQ Erasmus+ and Traineeships at KI.