One of the advantages of our ticket system in the FSFE, which we now use to manage among other things our internship applications, is that it's very easy to get an overview. I just extracted a report of our internship applications for the past month.
Since the 18th of April, we've had 29 applications for an internship or traineeship. Among those, we've accepted 1 (one!) who will start her internship now in the end of the month. Most of the applications we get sadly do not make the cut.
We have to prioritise among the applications, and we tend to prioritise those who've shown a previous commitment to free software, and who we think would benefit the most from an internship. Working with the FSFE is a challenge: as an intern, you are not only encouraged, but expected, to participate in and lead our work. It's a true learning by doing experience.
Each intern is also an investment from our side. We believe in what we do, and we believe that giving people experience from working on political, technical and social issues in a non-profit organisation is one of our most useful activities. As such, we invest significant time and effort into each intern, which is also why we limit the number of concurrent interns to what the organisation can actually manage at any one time.
Each year, we accept somewhere between three and six interns and trainees, a bit depending on the number of applications we receive and the relevance of them. If current trends continue, this means an acceptance rate of about 1,7% of all applications. Or put in a different way: it means that for every intern we accept, we decline 58 others.
Here are some hints, if you want to be the FSFE's next intern:
- Motivational letters help, especially if you show that you've done your homework and read up on our activities beforehand so you can relate them to your own experience and interests.
- Be careful about reading through the requirements for our internship. It wastes time for both you and us if you apply and we get into a discussion, only to find out we can not accept you due to the internship not being required by your university1.
- References aren't as important as you may think. It's more important how you present yourself, and what previous experience you can show for.
- Previous experience in Free Software isn't a strict necessity, but you must definitely know something of the field of free and open generally, and the stronger background you have in this regard, the more useful an internship will be for you.
Good luck with your application!
We have a separate traineeship program which has less formal requirements, but it comes at a more significant cost for us, and we can not accept as many as we want. If you're interested in sponsoring our work so we can increase the number of trainees we accept, I'd love to talk to you! ↩