Enhancing employability skills through internships: perceptions of foreign Master students in Germany

A. Kapanen, S. Dressler, D. Edgar, T. Rachfall

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    336 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper investigates foreign management and engineering Master students’ perceptions of the effect of internships on their employability skills. It adapts the employability skills portfolio developed in the European OVPELO project and applies it in a survey of foreign students engaged in internships at German companies. The study explores the learning conditions, processes and outcomes in the nine employability skills areas of the OVPELO framework. The research explains the development of foreign student employability during internships. Furthermore, it aims at suggesting practices that students, educators and employers can apply to enhance the employability outcomes of internships.

    The research addresses the problem of disappointing employment outcomes among foreign university graduates in Germany. Surveys and statistics indicate that while three out of four foreign students desire to work in Germany after graduation, only one out of four graduates succeeds in entering full-time employment in Germany. The urgency of alleviating the problem of weak employability continues to grow with the growing proportion of foreign students at German universities: currently, foreign students represent 13 percent of all students and 20 percent of new enrolments.

    Internships during studies can make an important contribution to the development of graduate employability. In particular, foreign students may lack culturally adapted generic job market and workplace skills, which are given less attention than technical skills in higher education. Internships provide foreign students an opportunity to develop employability skills through easily accessible practical exposure in Germany.

    This study is conducted using a mixed-method design comprising a questionnaire survey and follow-up interviews. The research sample consists of foreign Master students at the HTW Berlin, University of Applied Sciences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationICERI2016 Proceedings
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Print)978-84-617-5895-1
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

    Publication series

    ISSN (Print)2340-1095


    • graduate employability, international education, internships, Germany


    Dive into the research topics of 'Enhancing employability skills through internships: perceptions of foreign Master students in Germany'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this