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  • Internships in foreign countries are wonderful learning occasions. Not only do you gather experience in your area of work, but also practice languages, meet foreign cultures and learn how to behave in a new environment.

Nowadays almost all the internships are paid. The amount of money one can receive belongs to most important factors students and alumni take under consideration while choosing internship destination.

Most common mistakes they – we – make is simply looking at the amount of money and saying “well, they pay a lot. Count me in!” or “meh, I wouldn’t be able to sustain myself with this little cash”. Why is it a mistake? Most people forget that it’s not just the amount of money that counts – it’s also how much everything costs in the country where you’re going.

The most expensive countries for interns in Europe are Finland, Great Britain and France. Their opposites are Portugal, Spain and Poland.

All the costs below are the ones found in capital cities of particular countries. If you were to work anywhere else, you could reasonably expect to save ten to twenty percent of those amounts.

Where and how much

- Poland is one of the most eastbound parts of the European Union, and it offers a lot of interesting internship opportunities. You will probably make there less money than in many other countries of EU, but keep in mind that everything in there is comparatively cheap. Place to live – in reasonably good standard – won’t cost you more than 150-210 euro. As far as food is concerned – and Poland has arguably one of the best in Europe! – you won’t spend more than 12 euros per one big shopping. Cost of moving around the city using buses and trams totals at 13 euro per month. This means that 300-350 euro per month is all that you’ll need to survive.

- Lisbon is slightly more expensive. Generally, lodgings costs 200 to 350 euro, but you can lower the price by asking for a room without windows. As funny as it may sound it is actually a thing, so if you are not planning to stay in your room for other reasons than to sleep in it – go for it. An average shopping in Portugal ends with a bill of 16 euro; a bearable sum to say the least. An unlimited pass for city communication is fairly expensive, and generally will costs 29 euro per month. This means that an intern should expect to spend 400-450 euro per month.

- Spain is last of the “cheap” countries presented here. A room will generally cost somewhat 200-400 euro. Shopping prices won’t kill you, since they are only slightly bigger than the ones in Portugal. Price of getting around the cities is not a trifle, as it will cost you 52 euro per month – and this is only for the city center and its vicinity. You can reasonably expect that you’ll need at least 500 euro per month.

Now the prices get higher. You have to remember, though, that in places where the costs are big – so is usually the payment.

- 300-500 euro per month of renting a room is the minimum you should expect of Paris. Food will cost you circa 25 euro per shopping, which will total during the month to something approaching 300 euro. And if you want to travel around – which you probably will, Paris is a beautiful city after all – be prepared to spend additional 110 euro per month. This means that you’ll probably have to pay 800 euros every month.

- London would probably feel offended if it knew it is being placed right next to Paris, but it’ll have to bear that. Costs of rooms are similar anyways, though slightly higher – 350-500 euro per month. Making sure you have something to eat is much more expensive, though – it is estimated that it’ll be hard to buy an average set of supplies for less than 36 euro. If you were to travel all over the London, your TravelCard would eat a considerable chunk of your income – namely 113 euro – but by choosing appropriate options you can significantly lower this cost. 900-1000 euro sounds like a lot, but hopefully the payment for your internship will make it worth it.

- Cold Finland is the last country on our short list. Renting a room in Helsinki generally amounts to spending circa 600 euro per month. Food is slightly more expensive than in London  – 37 euro per shopping, which means at least 400 euro per month. If one was to add travel costs to this mix, we’d probably reach a very amount , but there is one thing that comes to our rescue. You see, in Finland you can rent a bike for a fairly low price, and since it is almost a national vehicle, the infrastructure for bikers is extremely good.

There are also a few things you should remember about. Eating in restaurants is a no-no since if you were to visit them regularly, your bill would skyrocket. Ask for students’ discounts wherever possible. Find out when are the local markets taking place, for it is usually one of the cheapest way to buy really good food.

And always plan for the future.

You have to be well-prepared and informed if you are leaving for an internship abroad. Wrong ideas about costs of living may have tragic results.


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