The Platform for

German American



German American Exchange Inc. (nonprofit organization registered with the State of Georgia) enables American students to complete an internship and to spend time in Germany during the career planning phase of their early lives.

Especially for young Americans it is important to get an insight and a clearer understanding of Germany's economic and business role within the European Union.


Students after having completed
at least four semesters of university


Three-month internship with a host company in different fields of the economy



We aim to offer internships that help the participants to become aware of and understand the growing importance of the economic relationships between Europe and the USA. Mutual trust is reinforced, mental hurdles are surmounted and prejudices are broken down.

We believe that internships for American students are one of the best ways to develop young ambassadors who will bring a new and focused dynamic to the world around them after returning to the United States. The internship program offers students the opportunity to become familiar with German culture through a three-month internship with a host company in different fields of the economy.

As students will be working in a business environment, daily interactions with leading international firms will enable students to gain a better insight into the German economy, sharpen and improve their German language skills and engage with cross-cultural challenges helping to cultivate a better transatlantic repertoire between the United States and Germany.



The program is designed to ensure that all students returning to the United States from Germany have an expanded self-confidence and will provide them with an incredible professional opportunity to accompany their undergraduate studies.

Through daily interactions with their host company, students will become true ambassadors for the rapidly globalizing world around us in a time where a larger international perspective is necessary for both personal and cultural progression, as well as creating a better transatlantic relationship between the United States and Germany.

German American Exchange provides students with ample opportunities to gain insight into the world’s economy, improve their German language skills, and enjoy cultural challenges

What we offer:

  • Procurement of work permits
  • Internships at top-tier globally renowned companies
  • Interesting accompanying activities as excursions to Munich and Berlin

Partner Universities in the US

- Auburn University, Alabama
- Colgate University, Hamilton, New York
- Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
- Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
- Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia
- Piedmont College, Demorest, Georgia
- Syracuse University, New York
- University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
- University of North Carolina at Charlotte, North Carolina
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina
- University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, Georgia
- University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida
- Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
- Wake Forest University, Wisconsin-Salem, North Carolina
- Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia

The universities are mainly organized through an advisory council.
Chair: Tobias Huning, University of North Florida  (e-mail:

Through the German American Chamber of Commerce, Inc., New York (GACC N.Y.), several universities from New England participate in the program, as well.



Dr. Christoph Rückel

Dr. Christoph Rückel

Sebastian Meis

Sebastian Meis

Dr. Christoph Rückel

Dr. Christoph Rückel


Christoph Rückel, former Chair of the Emory Advisory Council (German Department), is the founder of the US-German internship program in cooperation with the American Chamber of Commerce Germany e.V. He restructured with Rückel & Collegen (Munich – Düsseldorf) and Sebastian Meis from Baker Donelson the internship program under the roof of German American Exchange.

Christoph Rückel is one of the founding partners of the law firm BridgehouseLaw and today senior partner with Rückel & Collegen (Atlanta – Munich – Düsseldorf). He practiced for over 20 years mainly in Atlanta (Georgia), but also in Munich (Germany) advising clients in corporate matters, investment and tax related issues. He has a broad experience in advising companies doing international business. Today is practicing in Munich (Germany).

Sebastian Meis

Sebastian Meis


Sebastian Meis is a shareholder and cross-border transactional corporate attorney in the Atlanta office of Baker Donelson. He is a member of the Firm’s Global Business Team. As an attorney licensed in Germany and the U.S., Mr. Meis advises companies in corporate matters, particularly in the formation and restructuring of corporations and partnerships both in Germany and the U.S.
Mr. Meis has represented German investment funds in corporate, tax and bank regulatory matters in connection with real estate, as well as oil and gas investments in the U.S. In addition, he has advised investors on the acquisition of businesses and restructuring of investments. He has extensive experience in advising companies, as well as individuals, in the U.S. and Germany on complex visa issues and related international tax matters.



Tobias Huning

Tobias Huning

Chair of the Advisory Council View Details
Klaus Tornow

Klaus Tornow

Member of the Advisory Council View Details
Tobias Huning

Tobias Huning

Chair of the Advisory Council

University of North Florida

Klaus Tornow

Klaus Tornow

Member of the Advisory Council







Are the dates of the program fixed?
Yes, the program dates are set each year, and interns are expected to complete the three-month internship in
its entirety. If you are aware of any scheduling conflicts regarding your arrival in/departure from Germany,
please notify GAE Germany as soon as possible.

Are there mandatory events that students must attend?
Yes, there is one mandatory event for interns: the Welcome Ceremony in May. Further information will be
provided to interns by GAE Germany and participating firms closer to the event.
Students are expected to arrive in Germany no later than the Welcome Ceremony. Should interns wish to
arrive early in preparation for their stay abroad, they are welcome, too. However, all students must be present
at the Welcome Ceremony and prepared to start their internships shortly thereafter.

Will I have a say in my placement?
Students have the option to state on their applications in what general field they would prefer to work.
However, we cannot ensure that all students will (a) receive a placement, and (b) receive a placement exactly
where they wish.

Partnering companies will review candidates’ profiles – including résumé, statement of purpose and application
– and then invite candidates for interviews on a case-by- case basis. Students may decline an offer should they
choose; however, it is not guaranteed that another placement will be available.

Will GAE cover my transportation costs?
Students are responsible to organize their flights as well as cover the transportation cost to Germany and back.
Students should plan to budget approximately USD 1,000-1,400 for roundtrip air travel to Germany. Fares will
vary based upon the flight path, time the flight was booked, airline provider, etc.

Will my mentor help with my housing process?
Certain companies may provide interns with housing, or assist in finding housing. However, most interns should
plan on locating housing on their own and cover the cost. Mentors may be able to provide suggestions
regarding where best to find housing in your local area, but ultimately this is the interns’ responsibility.
We recommend that interns remain in contact with their mentor during the housing search. The process can be
difficult, and often stressful; however, all interns have found housing in previous years. Should you encounter
any significant problems, speak with GAE Germany and they will be able to assist you further.

Will I be expected to work full-time?
Yes, the internship is considered a full-time position. Daily and/or weekly schedules will be organized between
you and your mentor, but you should plan on committing to a full-time (i.e. 40 hours per week) schedule.

Will I work with other interns?
Some companies have multiple interns from the US-German Internship Program, but it is not universal. In many
cases, you will have the opportunity to work alongside other interns at your respective company who are
unaffiliated with the internship program. This can be a great opportunity to get to know individuals in your
community, as well as learn from other students.

Do I receive any vacation time?
According to German employment laws, companies are not required to grant interns vacation days for short
term internships. Therefore, GAE cannot guarantee that all interns will receive vacation time. However, some
companies grant vacation time to interns according to their company policy. If vacation is granted the amount
typically ranges between 3-4 days of paid vacation for the three month period.

Are there any fees involved with the Program?
Every student is required to pay an initial application fee of USD 50. Once a student has been selected by a host
company, the student also must pay an additional processing fee of USD 100. For more details, please get in
touch with your university contact for the program.

Do I get a refund if I am not selected by a host company?
No. There is no placement guarantee, therefore you will not be able to claim a refund.

Do I need a visa?
Due to the Visa Waiver Program and Schengen Agreement (USA-Germany), citizens of the United States are
permitted to stay in countries of the European Union for up to 90 days without a visa. The internship program
runs formally within this 90 day period. However, should you choose to arrive early and/or stay longer than the
official dates of the internship program, you will need to evaluate your options for a visa.
For non-US citizens studying in the United States, please consult the website of the German Federal Foreign
Office ( to determine your visa eligibility for your stay in Germany.
As a general notice for all applicants, GAE cannot assist with the visa acquisition process. Students who require
a visa for a longer stay in Germany should remain in contact with the appropriate government offices in
Germany. GAE Germany does not have the ability to process visa requests.

Do I need a work permit?
Yes, in order to legally pursue an internship in Germany, you must have a valid work permit, or
Arbeitserlaubnis. GAE Germany will mail each intern their respective work permit prior to their departure from
the US. Students must present their credentials at the airport’s Immigration and Customs upon arriving in

Will I receive a work contract?
Interns should make sure to address this topic with their employers prior to, or at the start of, their internships.
GAE Germany is not responsible for individual contracts between students and employers. Should you have
questions regarding this before starting your internship, please contact your company mentor directly.

What do I need to do once I get to Germany?
We recommend that all interns open a German bank account in order to be paid electronically by their
employer(s). Opening an account is generally fairly simple and provides students with the flexibility of having a
German bank card. Students must remember to cancel their bank account before leaving Germany.
Since your stay in Germany is not longer than 90 days, you are not obliged to register in Germany.




Infos für Unternehmen

Traditionally, our internship program offers 3rd-year college students in the U.S. the opportunity to gain international business experience while improving their German language skills and getting to know a foreign country´s customs and traditions as well as its people.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GAE has modified the internship program for 2021 offering U.S. students internships with German companies in the US.  GAE only accepts students to its pool of applicants that have taken German as a subject in college and have been recommended by their professors.

GAE aims to cultivate a positive view of Germany among future leaders of the United States. Through new experiences and relationships, we hope to provide interns with the foundation to serve as the next generation of ambassadors of the German-American friendship. Several companies that participated in past GAE internship programs have offered permanent employment opportunities to their former GAE interns and, thus, found reliable employees. If your company is interested in participating in our program, please see the following information.

Unser Praktikantenprogramm bietet amerikanischen Studenten im 3. Studienjahr (College) die Möglichkeit, mit einem knapp 3-monatigen Aufenthalt in Deutschland internationale Erfahrungen in der Wirtschaft zu sammeln, ihre Deutschkenntnisse zu verbessern und Land und Leute kennenzulernen.

Ziel des Programms ist die Zusammenführung von amerikanischen Studenten und deutschen Firmen bzw. deren Mitarbeitern und somit die Förderung der deutsch-amerikanischen Beziehungen. Diese stehen gerade in jüngster Zeit auf einem besonderen Prüfstand und bedürfen der intensiven Förderung.

Künftigen Führungskräften soll ein positives Deutschlandbild vermittelt werden. Firmen und feste Mitarbeiter profitieren von den interkulturellen Erfahrungen und Freundschaften eines solchen Austauschs. Nicht wenige der teilnehmenden Firmen haben ihren ehemaligen Praktikanten eine Festanstellung angeboten und somit zuverlässige Arbeitskräfte gefunden.

Sind Sie interessiert, mit Ihrem Unternehmen teilzunehmen? In unserer Broschüre (pdf zum download rechts) finden Sie die wichtigsten Informationen.