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Mat Wright

Find up to date programme information in our response to Covid-19.

We will be open for registrations in October 2020, please check back again then.

Are you a science, engineering, technology or applied arts student at a higher education institution in Northern Ireland?

From electronics in Japan to earthquake detection technology in Colombia, an IAESTE placement is a guaranteed way to boost your career. 

It’s also a hassle-free way to experience life abroad. You’ll be supported by the IAESTE team every step of the way: from choosing an employer and applying for visas, to finding accommodation and settling into your new country.

Am I eligible?

To apply for an IAESTE placement, you must be:

  • aged 19 or over
  • enrolled at any higher education institution in Northern Ireland
  • studying science, engineering, technology or applied arts
  • in the second year of your undergraduate degree or above, including any year of your MSc or PhD.

Students of any nationality are welcome to apply. However, if you are on a Tier 4 visa, you will need to submit additional documentation.

If you aren't eligible, please take a look at our other opportunities to study, train or work abroad.

Do I need any foreign language skills?

English is the standard language requirement. Other languages are usually optional but will be specified on the placement details if required.

What subject areas do IAESTE placements cover?

You can apply for any placement that is relevant to your studies. We understand that there is often an overlap between subjects within the job offers.

Placements are available in the following subject areas (areas followed by an asterisk can be rare):

  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Agriculture*
  • Anatomy*
  • Applied Arts
  • Architectural Studies
  • Architecture
  • Astrophysics
  • Audio technology with multimedia /Audio Engineering*
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Avionics
  • Biochemistry
  • Bioengineering*
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Science
  • Biophysics*
  • Biosciences
  • Biotechnology
  • Brewing*
  • Building Surveying*
  • Business Information Systems*
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Commerce
  • Computer Animation*
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Games 
  • Technology/Design
  • Computer Science
  • Construction management and surveying*
  • Dairying*
  • Design and Communications*
  • Digital media*
  • Ecology
  • Economics*
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Electronics
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Science
  • Fire Safety
  • Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition*
  • Food Technology *
  • Forensic and crime scene investigation/Forensic Anthropology
  • Forestry*
  • Geodesy
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Horticulture
  • Hotel Management*
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Material Science
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechatronics
  • Media Studies*
  • Medical Engineering*
  • Medicine
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Metallurgy
  • Microbiology
  • Mining
  • Naval Engineering
  • Neuroscience*
  • Nutrition*
  • Optometry*
  • Parasitology*
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Studies
  • Physics
  • Plant Science
  • Power Engineering
  • Process Engineering
  • Product Design
  • Prosthetics *
  • Psychology
  • Quantity Surveying*
  • River and Coastal 
  • Engineering *
  • Rural Surveying *
  • Statistics
  • Structural Engineering
  • Technology
  • Telecommunications
  • Zoology

We do not have placements in the following areas:

  • Chiropody
  • Dentistry
  • Music
  • Physiology
  • Podiatry
  • Social Sciences
  • Sports Science  

What documents do I need in order to apply?

Before starting the online application process, make sure you have the following to hand.

Scanned documents

You’ll need to upload electronic copies of the following documents:

  • your CV
  • a university transcript showing your course grades to date
  • proof that you are enrolled at university – a certificate or letter of enrolment
  • a reference from your university tutor – please use this reference template

Non-UK nationals also need proof of proficiency in English: a qualification certificate if you have one. Otherwise, please download this template English language certificate and ask your tutor to sign it. 

Keep all documents in one place after submitting your application. You will need them again later in the process.

How do I apply?

Tips for completing the form


Mention all software relevant to your subject that you are using, even if you don’t have much experience in it.

Average percentage grade

You will be asked to enter your average grade as a percentage. If your grades are issued as letters, use the table below for conversion:

Average grade as % Grade classification Average grade as letter St Andrews 20-pt scale
70-100 1st Class A 16.5-20
60-69 2:1 B 14-16.4
50-59 2:2 C 11-13
40-49 3rd D 8-10
0-39 Fail E-H 0-7


Please select only the maximum period you can do.


As the programme is competitive, please remain flexible where possible. For example, if you want a placement in Germany, please select Europe, as Germany might not have the perfect match for you this year. 

Validation fee

To complete your application, you will need to make a payment of £10 (plus VAT) via our online payment system. We cannot accept offline payments.

How do I find a placement?

As soon as you submit your application, you’ll be prompted to set up an account on the IAESTE Exchange Platform.

Please make sure you fill in every field on the platform to allow us to validate your account. 

We’ll be notified when you have created your account. If we need any more details, we’ll get in touch with you directly. Otherwise, you’ll receive an automatic notification that your account has been validated. 

You’ll then be able to see and apply for current placements. We will also send you regular updates about placements that match your interests. 

Types of placement

There are two types of IAESTE placement, and you may apply for either or both.

  • AC (Annual Exchange Conference) placements are less competitive as you will compete only against students studying in the UK. AC placements appear once each year and will be on the Exchange Platform by mid-February 2019.
  • COBE (Continuous Online-Based Exchange) placements are received from employers throughout the year. COBE placements are more competitive, being open to students from 92 IAESTE countries. However, students from the UK have the highest rate of occupancy of these offers in the world, so it’s worth submitting an application for a job that interests you. Opportunities include one-year placements with the chance of a permanent job at the end.
  • FCFS (First Come First Served) placements are allocated to the country which submits an application first. Once a student is allocated, the job is reserved and no other country can assign a student in the meantime. Students must act fast if they are interested in a FCFS offer.

What's the timeline for applications?

This timeline applies only to AC placements (please see 'How do I find a placement?' just above for more details). The process for COBE placements is similar, but placements are handled individually, and opportunities are advertised throughout the year. 


We share a catalogue of international placements with all applicants who registered their interest with us. 

You will be asked to submit up to three placement preferences, and we decide who to nominate for each placement.


You will find out if you have been successfully matched to any of your placement preferences. If so, you will need to submit further documents and a covering letter.

The employer makes the final decision. You will be told as soon as possible if you have been accepted by the employer. There may be a delay before you receive confirmation.

If you don’t find a placement at this stage, you can continue to apply for any suitable COBE placements.

April to June

Once we confirm that your placement is going ahead, you will need to pay the £200 (plus VAT) placement fee. You have now committed to the placement, so please don’t pursue other opportunities. It is unusual for the placement to be withdrawn, but if this happens, IAESTE UK will try to find you an alternative.

You will be able to arrange your travel, insurance and any visas.

IAESTE in your host country will inform you of accommodation details once you have confirmed your travel arrangements to IAESTE UK.

We will give you contact details of your employer before you start. If you have any questions about the type of work you’ll be doing, please don’t contact them until we confirm it’s OK. Contact us instead at

Before you go

Pre-departure briefings in the UK will give you the chance to get to know other participants who are going overseas. You will also meet students who have taken part in IAESTE before and have the chance to ask them questions. 

June onwards

Go on your placement – and enjoy it!

How much will it cost?

The cost for you will be:

  • £200 (plus VAT) placement fee. When you apply for a placement and sign the Nomination Form, we consider this your formal commitment to paying the £200 fee, if accepted by the employer. The placement fee is non-refundable if you are withdrawing from the programme post acceptance due to other opportunities offered or change of mind
  • flights/travel to and from the country
  • any visa or vaccination costs
  • additional spending money.

You will earn a stipend while you are on your placement, and this should cover all your accommodation and living costs. In some cases, your university may provide funds to cover some of the costs associated with an IAESTE placement. Be sure to contact your university guidance centre to see if this is the case.

What funding is available?

On top of the IAESTE salary, you can apply for separate funding from these two programmes:


Erasmus+ students carrying out a placement in the EU may be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant to help cover travel and subsistence costs (including insurance and visa costs). Make sure your placement matches with the Erasmus+ objectives before applying.

Please ask your university's Erasmus+ representative if they offer this mobility grant to IAESTE students, and any other questions about Erasmus+.

FISITA student travel bursary

If you are an engineering student and you are nominated for a work placement in the automotive industry, you can apply for a FISITA student travel bursary and receive up to €2,000.

FISITA considers applications twice a year. Deadlines are as follows:

  • April – October placements: 31 March
  • November – April placements: 31 October.

If you have any questions about the bursary, please contact FISITA directly.

What support will I get while I am on placement?

Your host country will put you in touch with their local IAESTE student committee who will welcome you to their country and help you get settled. Through this network, you will be able to meet other students on placement in the area.  

If you face any problems during your placement, the host IAESTE committee in country is your first point of contact. IAESTE UK staff at the British Council are also here to support you with problems that can’t be resolved locally. Please use the contact details towards the end of this page.

What happens after the placement?

Fresh from your experience, you could join your local student committee and:

  • help and support other students and make new friends
  • make contacts in companies through networking, which could come in handy when you graduate
  • get involved in international events and do more travelling as you visit IAESTE local committees overseas
  • put it on your CV – another way to improve your career prospects.

Join the IAESTE alumni network

Current and former trainees and employers share their experience through the IAESTE alumni network.

You can network professionally and socially, whether advertising a job in your company, reminiscing about experiences, or seeking a new international contact.

Each IAESTE country has a group of students called the Local Committee (LC) who have been on placement or wish to go on placement, and can offer advice and support you through your application process. They meet regularly for social activities and you can contact them via their Facebook page. New members are always welcome!

Can I go on more than one placement?

You can accept two or more placements, so long as the placement periods don’t overlap.

Why is IAESTE only for students in Northern Ireland?

The IAESTE programme is supported and funded in Northern Ireland by the Department for the Economy. Students enrolled in higher education institutions in Northern Ireland are therefore eligible to participate in IAESTE.

Registrations for Scottish students are suspended while we explore options. We hope to share further news about this later in 2020. Please check back for updates.

The IAESTE programme does not currently receive any support or funding in England or Wales. Students enrolled at higher education institutions in these countries are therefore not eligible to participate in IAESTE. Students from England and Wales, can however, apply for currently available internships through IAESTE Global, under special arrangement. 

Contact details

If you have a question that isn't answered above, email or call our customer contact centre on +44 (0)161 957 7755.

IAESTE for students outside the UK

Students outside the UK can do traineeships in the UK, but will need to apply via the IAESTE office in their home country.

If you have already been accepted to do a traineeship in the UK, you can find information before you arrive in the UK.

We are monitoring the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union process closely, however the outcome of this will depend on the ongoing negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

We would like to offer our reassurance that both the British Council and our overseas partners both in Europe and worldwide remain committed to the programme. The IAESTE programme is not reliant on EU funding to function and as such any potential impact of the UK leaving the EU would be at an individual participant level in terms of visas, health insurance etc. rather than at a programme level. 

IAESTE for employers and universities

If you are an employer, find out how to recruit an IAESTE trainee.

Institutions who want to encourage their students to take up an IAESTE traineeship can find support to promote the programme.

Back to Study and work outside the UK.