Can international students intern at Google, Microsoft, Apple, Goldman Sachs and NASA?

intern at google
Being an intern at Google can change your career prospects for the better. Source: Scott Olson/AFP

Imagine that you’re an intern at Google. 

You’re working at one of the greatest tech companies in the world. You’ve joined an office that’s more reminiscent of a campus-like environment with bicycle lanes, indoor treadmills, beanbags and the like. 

To be an intern at Google is every ambitious student’s dream. Being an intern at Microsoft, Apple, Goldman Sachs, NASA, and other big companies is just as desirable. 

Much of this has to do with the opportunity to work for an organisation with a global impact

As a student, it’s common knowledge that employers prefer graduates with more work experience. Working with a company like Google, Microsoft, Apple, or NASA will allow students to get experience whilst gaining first-hand exposure to market trends and changes in the industry. 


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Can international students intern at Google, Microsoft, Apple, Goldman Sachs or NASA? 

The short answer is yes. This is especially true if you have access to a student visa that allows you to work part-time or full-time over the summer. 

Most of this depends, however, on the country you’re studying in. You can check if you have the right visa requirements here:

Some companies, like NASA, explicitly state that they have available internships for international students. Others require you to dig a bit deeper to find out. 

If you don’t have the right visa requirements, have no fear. The great thing about global organisations like Google and Microsoft is that they have offices around the world. 

What does this mean? 

You can always apply for an open position in a different location if you cannot land an internship in the country you’re studying in, such as in your home country or one willing to sponsor your visa. 

intern at google

NASA offers internships to international students. Source: Stefani Reynolds / AFP

When should I apply for an internship at Google, Microsoft, Apple, Goldman Sachs or NASA? 

The best time to apply for an internship at major organisations is during the summer. Many have dedicated internship programmes specifically designed for students to give them the skills and experience they need to thrive in their careers.

To be considered, though, you have to apply well in advance. Some require you to apply in December for a start date in June.

Another thing to keep in mind: internships at these global companies are highly competitive. Thousands of other students, both international and local, will be vying for a spot at these organisations.

Hence, knowing everything you need to make a successful application is all the more important. We break this down for two companies, Google and Microsoft, below.


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Becoming an intern at Google

Google internships are some of the most sought-after in the world. Students get the opportunity to expand their skills and knowledge as well as build valuable connections with the best and brightest in their industries. 

Google offers internships in several areas, including: 

  • Business
  • Information technology
  • Software engineering
  • Product management 
  • Legal 
  • STEP (Student Training in Engineering)
  • Sales and marketing

The diverse range of internships shows that students have plenty of opportunities to apply their skills. The challenge, then, is in landing those internships in the first place. 

What does it mean to be a Google intern?

To be a Google intern is to have access to work on interesting and meaningful projects. Every intern at Google has the chance to do work that has an immediate impact — from helping create products and services to gaining invaluable coding experience. 

During her internship at Google Singapore, for example, Gia Phuong Phan worked on pitching Google Doodle ideas on Vietnamese culture. While she was there, she hosted a webinar and travelled on business trips.

Her favourite memory was travelling to Vietnam to run social media promotion for a gaming industry event. “It was so rewarding to see the impact of my work in person,” she shares.

Along the way, there are plenty of opportunities to meet and work with tech leaders around the world. 

“I’ve met Google leaders Jeff Dean and Urs Hölzle in person, who are trailblazers in software engineering, and others working on cool projects across the company,” says Jiehua Wu, who interned at Google’s office in Zurich, Switzerland. He worked on creating a more accessible viewing experience for visually impaired people on Google TV and Android TV OS. 

Above all, though, the appeal of being an intern at Google is to participate in its fun working culture. Sidharth Bansal, a former intern at Google’s Hyderabad office, highlights a few unique perks: 

  • A thriving food culture with three cafeterias, a sandwich corner, micro-kitchens and pop-up snack bars
  • Motivational speeches from leaders and directors every Friday 
  • Quirkily-designed rooms to work in for a change of scenery 
  • Opportunities to meet and have fun with interns from other offices
  • Fully-furnished accommodation provided
  • A gym inside the office

As such, interning at Google isn’t just a way to boost your CV — it’s an experience in itself. 


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Is it hard to get an internship at Google?

It can be very difficult to get an internship at Google. Because it influences every aspect of society, everyone is vying to intern at Google — which means that competition is steep.

However, it’s not impossible to get an internship at Google. Here’s how.

How do I become a Google intern?

The first thing to know is that every internship application to Google requires: 

  • An updated CV or resume 
  • A transcript from your uni

Google’s website states you can supply an unofficial transcript if you haven’t completed your programme yet. 

Sometimes, a Google internship application might require you to submit additional information. This could be anything from a cover letter to a short essay — so it’s important to read through every aspect of the internship application to ensure you don’t miss out on anything.  

What you need to include in your CV

Your CV is the most crucial document to submit as it’s the first thing Google will see. 

Here are some tips and tricks for a successful internship application: 

  • Tailor your skills and experience to the job description
  • Talk about any leadership experience you’ve had 
  • Talk about any uni coursework or projects where you developed the skills and knowledge needed for this role 
  • Aim for one page 

How to prepare for the interview

The next step is to prepare for any interviews you’ve been invited for. Unlike other companies, Google might put you through a series of interviews, meaning you’ll have to master the ins and outs of speaking about yourself. 

You might have to talk about:

  • How do you work as an individual and as part of a team
  • How you’ve overcome any challenges you’ve faced at school or work 
  • How your skills and experiences are relevant to the role 

Note that interviews may occur over the phone, via video call or in person. Students going on to technical interviews are encouraged to practice coding on a whiteboard, in Google Docs or over the phone.

Do Google interns get paid?

Yes, you will be paid if you are an intern at Google. While this figure varies according to where you’re interning, you can expect a decently high salary that’s usually above the market rate

intern at google

As a Microsoft intern, you’ll be at the helm of the world’s most major tech advances. Source: Eduardo Munoz/AFP

Being an intern at Microsoft

Like Google, applying to intern at Microsoft is hugely sought-after. Much of this has to do with the fact that the company is listed as the second-best employer in the world — just after Samsung Electronics. 

Microsoft interns work on all sorts of projects across a variety of fields. This includes: 

  • Engineering 
  • UX design
  • Supply chain
  • Finance 
  • Marketing and sales 
  • Consulting services

To qualify, you need to be enrolled as a full-time student. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at — Microsoft offers internships in bachelor’s, master’s, MBA and PhD programmes.


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Is it hard to get a Microsoft internship?

Similar to Google, applying to intern at Microsoft is a difficult process. As one of the world’s top employers, job openings at Microsoft are highly competitive — which means you’ll have to do some rigorous preparation to land the role. 

To qualify, you should have the following: 

  • An updated CV 
  • Relevant skills and university experience 
  • A high academic GPA 

Microsoft typically opens internships over the summer — but applications usually close in December. Ensure you keep track of your internship details on the Microsoft careers page.


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What do interns do in Microsoft?

Interns at Microsoft get involved in a variety of projects from the get-go. They go through a structured programme for hands-on learning, working with a diverse team that respects and pushes each other to do their best. 

“The common notion on interns would usually be running errands, getting coffee or photocopying documents,” shares Kristel Tariman, a former intern at Microsoft. “Not at Microsoft. I was surprised when the projects given to me had impactful value for the company. 

“It was interesting to see that even as an intern, you are given the opportunity to make an impact on the company and experience it first-hand.”

During her time at Microsoft, Tariman was a technical account manager intern. She could attend client meetings, fly to different countries, sit for dedicated “intern learning weeks”, and more. 

Do Microsoft interns get paid?

Yes. If you’re an intern at Microsoft, you can expect to be paid for your time. 

Typically, pay at Microsoft rests above the normal market rate, but this might vary according to your location.