York International Internship Program (YIIP)

The York International Internship Program (YIIP) provides an opportunity for any York student to work in another country or at an international host within Canada for three months during the summer, starting in May. Internship placements are not for credit and are arranged at a wide variety of governmental and non-governmental organizations that offer students a range of experiences from field internships to research and/or administrative placements

These placements allow students to apply their academic knowledge to an international work environment and enhance their job-related skills in an international and intercultural setting. York University offers funding  for successful YIIP applicants.

In this section of York International’s website, you will learn about how the YIIP program works, where placements are offered and what types of funding available to assist students. You can read firsthand accounts from former interns who share their experiences, and if a summer internship interests you, you can begin the application process online or make an appointment to speak with an advisor at York International.

What is unique about York’s International Internship Program?

  • It is designed to enhance work experience in internationally-oriented work settings.
  • It is open to students from a wide-range of disciplinary backgrounds.
  • York arranges the placements – in most other instances, students are expected to find their own placements.
  • York provides funding for this program. More commonly, funding is provided by participating organizations or costs are borne by the student.
  • York’s leadership on internationalization wins awards.
  • York International Program wins national award

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to take part in the York International Internship Program?

To be eligible, students must meet the minimum eligibility requirements:

  • Students will need to be enrolled full-time at York in a degree program.
  • Applicants must be in good academic standing and must have a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of B or higher.
  • In addition to the general criteria, specific eligibility requirements, including language proficiency, are outlined for each position.
  • The following will also be considered additional assets: academic and professional fit,prior volunteer or professional experience, proven ability to adapt to new environments, capacity to communicate effectively across cultures, willingness to take initiative, ability to work in a team, engagement in community and an interest in developing global awareness.
  • While on the internship, undergraduate students will not be required to register at York. Graduate students are required to follow Faculty of Graduate Studies policies for registration.

I will be graduating in June. Can I apply to the program?

No. Unless you are returning to York University in the fall following the summer term either to start a new program or continue with your current one, you will not be eligible for the internship program.

What can I expect from internship host organizations?

A host organization will provide:

        • A qualified staff person to serve as a supervisor and/or mentor
        • Information to help you find appropriate accommodation
        • Information on general organization policies and the scope of the internship, including assignments, responsibilities, and schedules
        • Final evaluation reports on the internship to a York University official
        • Feedback to York University about any unresolved difficulties with an intern

I am an international student. Can I apply to the program?

International students are eligible for almost all internship placements. Visit York International and speak with an advisor about the specific internships that interest you.

What should interns expect to gain from their internship experience?

The program is expected to provide students:

    • An opportunity to connect theory/research with practical and policy issues.
    • Hands-on experience in core projects, programs, and community initiatives so as to widen their understanding of the complexity of issues and problem approaches.
    • An opportunity to work and learn in different socio-cultural contexts and begin to understand issues from a cross-cultural and/or international perspective.
    • An opportunity to gain international/comparative skills in a profession of their choice.
    • Where relevant, an opportunity to improve knowledge and skills in another language.
    • Opportunities to build professional networks, thus enhancing their international career development opportunities.

What are the responsibilities of students during an internship?

Students participating in the program must agree to the following terms and conditions:


      • Participate in pre-departure orientation program.
      • Make appropriate immigration and travel arrangements, including obtaining required travel documents, immunizations and health certificates.
      • Make accommodation arrangements. Participating organizations will assist with information, but housing will be the responsibility of the student.
      • Create a travel blog to document your experience.
      • Purchase adequate medical insurance coverage for the period of the internship and provide proof to York International before departure.
      • Complete pre-departure questionnaire.
      • Register with the Department of Foreign Affairs Canada Registration of Canadians Overseas (ROCA).
      • Complete Risk and Responsibility assessment to the satisfaction of the YIIP Project Manager.

During internship:

      • Handle finances responsibly.
      • Demonstrate initiative and enthusiasm for the organization and the program.
      • Complete work required by the host organization as per position description.
      • Maintain professional attitude and respect traditions and customs of host country and organization.
      • Maintain good public relations, both internal and external, for the university and the host organization.
      • Notify YIIP Project Manager at York University and the host organization of any changes in contact information during internship.
      • Keep YIIP Project Manager and host organization informed of all travel arrangements.
      • Complete blogging assignments
      • Contact York University representative if problems arise with internship.
      • Complete mid-point evaluation and submit to YIIP Project Manager.


      • Participate in debriefing at end of internship.
      • Complete a final evaluation and a final reflection report in an agreed upon format.
      • Assist in promoting the York International Internship Program to fellow students.

How are host organizations chosen?

In selecting appropriate placements, an attempt has been made to provide variety in country choice and type of organization. The focus has largely been on arranging internships with non-government organizations.

Most placements have been developed with the assistance of York faculty members and administrators building on their existing professional networks.

Organizations with established internship programs and/or previous internship placement experience have been given preference.

What is the YIIP selection process?

Successful applicants will be short-listed for an interview process.

The top three candidates for each position will be called for an interview – language proficiency will be assessed at time of interview. Candidates will be required to provide two reference letters at the time – one academic and one non-academic.

All selections will be made by a committee formed by York faculty and administrators, and where possible institutional representatives from partner organizations.

How can I stay informed about YIIP news and events

  • Join our Listserv: You can subscribe to our listserv by sending an email to listserv@yorku.ca with the following in the body of the message: SUBSCRIBE INTERNSHIPINFO

Questions about the Application Process

Q. Do I need to submit a transcript with my application?

A. Yes. You are required to submit your official YorkU transcripts.

You may do so by ordering the transcript online and have it sent to the attention of the York International Internship Program. You may also drop your transcript off at 200 York Lanes. We are open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

If you attended other post-secondary institutions prior to coming to York, we only require a scan of your non-YorkU transcripts, to be submitted with your application to yiipapps@yorku.ca.

Lists of grades downloaded from the web will not be accepted.

Q. How many internships can I apply for?

A. You can apply for up to a maximum of 3 internships.

Q. How and where do I hand in my application package?

A. Review the process by clicking here.

Q: What should the letter of intent include?

A: This one page letter of intent introduces yourself and is your opportunity to say what cannot be said in your resume. The letter should be composed as a professional communication and not a creative writing exercise. This letter, along with your resume may be shared with the host organization.

The letter of intent could include:

        • How the internship fits into your future career plans
        • Why you want to add an international component to your education
        • What qualifies you to fill the internship position
        • What interests you in the host organization and country
        • What skills and strengths you have specific to the internship
        • Your talents, language abilities, past international and life experiences

The letter of intent should be specific to you and the position that you are applying for. Let your personality and passion show.

Q: To whom should I address the letter of intent?

A: Please address your letter of intent to the York International Internship Program.

Q: Do I need to submit a letter of reference with my application?

A: No. Applicants who are shortlisted for an interview will be required to drop off the two letters of reference in sealed and signed envelopes at the front desk of York International, 200 York Lanes (or have them e-mailed directly to yiip@yorku.ca) at least 24 hours before their interview.

Q: Who can be my referee?

A: The academic letter of reference must be from a York University professor or teaching assistant who can speak thoughtfully about you and your skills and performance. The non-academic reference letter should ideally be from your current or past employers who can comment on your ability to deliver in a professional work environment, your ability to collaborate and add value as a team player etc. In selecting your referee, approach individuals who will be in a position to comment on your academic abilities, the fit of the internship to your academic and professional goals and your ability to adapt to the work/country environment.

You should work with your referee to tell them about the internship you are applying to, why you feel you would be a good candidate and how the internship contributes to your overall goals. Writing a reference letter can be time-consuming and onerous for some people. Do your best to facilitate the process in a polite, cooperative and considerate fashion.

Please email us at yiip@yorku.ca if you have any questions.

Q: What should the letters of reference include?

A: The letters should be a maximum of one page in length each and should at minimum include the following:

        • applicant’s name
        • internship position you are interviewing for
        • your relationship to the referee

The letters should be in a sealed envelope with the referee’s signature across the sealed flap.

Q: How will I know if my application has been received?

A: You will receive an auto reply upon submission of your application to yiipapps@yorku.ca to confirm receipt of your application.

Q: When should I expect to be contacted for an interview?

A: Applicants selected for an interview will be contacted at any time throughout February. All applicants will be informed of a final decision.