Q: How do I apply for an internship?
A: If you are interested in doing an internship at the Grameen Bank please email a statement of interest, a copy of you resume/CV, an outline of your purpose and objectives, and proof of academic enrollment
Q: What are the deadlines for applying?
A: You can apply at any time; however, we need to have a minimum of 4 weeks notice.
Q: Will I be informed of the receipt of my application and status?
A: Yes, we will send you an email confirmation upon receipt of your application; this usually takes 5-10 days.
Q: What are the educational requirements to apply for an internship?
A: There are no set educational requirements for an internship; interns are accepted according to degree of interest, experience and study in related fields.
Q: What kind of skills are you looking for in an intern?
A: We are looking for interns with a passion for learning and a desire to be involved in helping end poverty. Please consider that communication will be difficult if a student does not speak English or Bengali, however we do our best to accommodate interns from all backgrounds.
Q: Do I need a visa for Bangladesh? If so, what kind of visa do I need?
A: Bangladesh requires that most foreign nationals get a visa prior to arrival; the procedure varies depending on your nationality and country of residence. Please contact your nearest Bangladesh Embassy or Consulate for further information. We are not authorized or qualified to give advice on visa type. However, many interns arrive with a tourist visa. When getting a visa make sure that you ask for enough time; once you are in Bangladesh applying for an extension will be difficult and time consuming, and is not guaranteed.
Q: What should I know about Grameen Bank before starting an internship?
A: We encourage that interns have a basic knowledge of the Grameen Bank and microcredit prior to their arrival. This can be achieved through the following recommended readings: Banker to the Poor by Professor Muhammad, and The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank by Daniel Bornstein.
Q: When should I do my internship?
A: Internships are available year-round. However, most student interns come between June and August during their summer holiday. Internship dates are flexible; it is up to you to decide when you would like to come and for how long you would like to stay. This depends on your particular circumstances. Our internship program starts from any given Sunday as it is first day of the course.
Most summer interns stay for more or less one to two months. Please consider that the months of June through August are the busiest times of the year for our coordinators because of the sheer numbers of interns. Therefore, it may be more difficult to arrange multiple village visits and meetings during this time. Many informational interviews will likely be done I groups of 2-8 at a time to cater to the larger volume of interns. Day trips will also be done in small groups.
Q: What does an internship at the Grameen Bank entail?
A: Grameen Bank welcomes interns as guests not as workers. There is no particular structure for this internship; choice of activities and learning experiences are flexible and organized on an independent basis. One has the opportunity to pursue specialized interests and cater this experience to their own objectives.
An average intern will spend the majority of their time learning about the Grameen Bank, its system, processes and procedures, as well as other organizations within the Grameen Family. We will not provide you with any clerical work, but small projects and assignments may be given depending on your level of expertise and out mutual needs.
One of the greatest benefits of interning at the Grameen Bank is the ability to observe and attain first hand knowledge from the bank’s employees and borrowers, and they are generally eager to share their experiences and knowledge with interested parties.
All Head Office employees have spent numerous years in the field, they have extensive experience of how to establish and run Branch Office. These offices are commonly known as the foundation of Grameen Bank’s work, and time spent there will give an intern a more thorough understanding of the loan process.
Q: What role will my coordinator play in my internship experience?
A: Each intern will be assigned a coordinator. Your coordinator will be your primary point of contact and will be responsible for helping you get the most out of your time here. Upon first arrival at the Grameen Bank Head Office you will meet with your coordinator to discuss your goals, objectives, and other important information. They will provide a brief introduction to the structure of the Grameen Bank and will advise you about important information to consider, particularly safety precautions and cultural issues. You will then be taken to the Audio and Visual Department to watch power point presentations and videos about the history of the bank, how it works, and individual case studies. Your coordinator will work with you to arrange village visits, interviews with Grameen Bank managers and employees, and other informational meetings. If you have any special requests or interests your coordinator will do their best to accommodate you and help you achieve your goals.
Q: What kind of jobs may I be requested to do?
A: Here are some examples:
- Assistance in drafting and preparing official documents
- Translating and editing documents
- Task specific internet research
- Assistance with and updating of websites
- Collection and writing of case studies for publications
Q: What department will I be working with?
A: You will be working with the International Program Department .
Q: What will be expected of me upon completion of my internship?
A: Every intern is required to submit a final written analysis, which reflects what he/she has learned during his/her time at Grameen Bank. It should be more than just a simple description of what transpired during the internship period, but rather a critical analysis of how your internship relates to your academic or professional interests. This is also an opportunity to reflect on your particular experience, difficulties, and challenges you may have encountered, and feedback to the organization. The structure of the paper is flexible and can be tailored towards an intern’s specific focus, though it should be well written, using proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Additionally, the paper needs to include a cover page, including a brief biography of the intern (name, university, field of study/major, degree pursued, duration of internship, etc.). It is required that the paper be turned in before final departure.
Q: Can I do a part-time internship?
A: Internships at the Grameen Bank are flexible. We will work with each intern on an individual basis. Please contact us with your proposal and we will work together to help you achieve your goals.
Q: Is there any financial or organizational support for housing?
A: We cannot provide any financial assistance for housing or any other costs related to the internship. Once you have finalized the dates of your internship, we will send you information about your accommodation options, and will do our best to help you find housing within your price range.
Q: How much does it cost to do an internship at the Grameen Bank?
A: There is a fee of $50 for undergraduate student and US$ 60 for graduate student for a one-month internship, and $75 for undergraduate student and US$ 80 for graduate student for any period of time longer than one month. Interns are responsible for covering all associated costs of the internship, including roundtrip airfare, visas, accommodation, transportation, food, and miscellaneous expenses. In addition, interns are responsible for all costs associated with day trips and village visits, including transportation, food, and interpreters.
Q: Why is there a charge for doing an internship?
A: The Grameen Bank is a socially conscious organization, which is always striving to maintain prudent costs, in order to pass on the savings to our poor borrowers. Therefore, it is necessary to charge interns a small fee to help cover a small percentage our added costs associated with the use of our facilities and human resources. It is also part of the Grameen Bank philosophy of not giving things away free of charge. We believe that when one pays for something, even a small amount, it creates more value and appreciation for the desired results.
Q: How much does it cost to live in Dhaka for one month?
A: This can vary dramatically depending on your lifestyle. There are five-star hotels that cost up to $500/night and very basic accommodations starting at $17/day. Apartments range from $300- $1000, but these must be found through your own personal contacts. The same concept applies to all other personal expenses; you can make it as cheap or as expensive as you want, according to your taste. Most of our interns choose to stay at mid-range hotels that cost $25-$65/day and on average spend between $10-$30/day on food. A variety of restaurant options are available in Dhaka City, but few are within walking distance from Grameen Bank. Most interns usually either eat at the local restaurant of the Grand Prince Hotel (10 minute walk from the bank, to Mirpur-1), or travel to the neighborhoods of Gulshan, Dhanmondi, or Bonani for more diverse dining options. A cab or CNG takes about 45 minutes in traffic, costing between 200- 300 takas ($3-$4), each way. Food at local restaurants average between $5-$10/meal. The cost of living in Bangladesh is much lower than that of the developed world.
Q: How much does it cost to visit a village?
A: These costs vary widely, but are relatively affordable for most international interns. Field visits are optional, but are usually considered the most valuable and educational aspect of a Grameen Bank internship. Bengali-English interpreters are the most significant portions of costs associated with village visits and cost $20/day. Accommodation is provided free of charge at the Branch Office if it is a Grameen Bank owned building. Cost of food can vary, but will be no more than $5-$10/day. To reduce the costs associated with field visits it may be possible to choose public transportation over private, or travel together and share costs with other interns. Your coordinator will work with you to achieve as much exposure as possible within your budget constraints.
Q: How much does transportation cost?
A: Getting around Dhaka is relatively inexpensive, but the exact prices depend on your choice of transportation (taxi, bus, mini taxi, CNG, or rickshaw) and the distance traveled. Most interns spend an average of $3-$6/day. Traveling to districts outside of Dhaka is more expensive. The average price of a taxi from Dhaka (Zia) International Airport to Mirpur-1 or Mirpur-2 (Grameen Bank) is about 1000 takas ($13 US), taking about one hour to reach the final destination. Some hotels include free airport pick-up/drop-off. Transportation costs for day visits depend on the type of transportation used. Hiring a taxi for the day costs on average 500 takas/ hour and taking a local express bus can cost between 140 takas upward each way, depending on distance traveled. A 250 km, one-way train ticket for first class, no AC, costs around 225 takas ($3.50). When using a taxi or CNG for traveling within Dhaka City, be sure to always ask to use the meter, or bargain a set price (contract) before getting in.
Q: What is the best option for currency exchange?
A: The Bangladeshi Taka is a restricted currency. This means that you can exchange your currency in Bangladesh only, as foreign institutions (banks, airports, or hotels) do not sell or buy the Bangladeshi Taka. There are two preferable options to bring in currency: 1) the actual currency in paper money, or 2) ATM Card. Paper money is the most convenient and easily exchangeable at most local banks, however there is a concern of theft. For paper money, it is best to bring larger bills (above $20 US), in good, crisp condition, as banks or hotels will not exchange it if otherwise. There are several banks for exchange of paper currency into the Bangladeshi Taka, at Zia International Airport, as well as around Dhaka City. If you’re worried about losing your money, then ATM Card is a better option. The banks and money exchange generally give better exchange rates than hotels. Additionally, ATMs are available throughout Dhaka City if you prefer to withdraw money using your credit/debit cards, and many up-scale businesses and restaurants accept major credit cards.
Q: What should I bring?
A: Most necessities are available in Dhaka, but some items can be hard to find. You must carefully think of what you can and can’t live without; it is a matter of personal preference. Please discuss what to include in your medical kit with your doctor, including any prescription medications you might need (i.e. Malaria medication, vaccinations, etc.)
The following is a list of various recommendations from some of our interns:
- First aid kit: non-stick sterile bandages, band-aids, Imodium and/or Peptobismol (for upset stomach and diarrhea), acetaminophen, cortisone cream, triple antibiotic ointment, betadine, Benadryl (or other anti-histamines), antacids, ibuprofen, mosquito/bug spray and cough/cold medicine.
- Miscellaneous: Lonely Planet Bangladesh (travel guide book), insect repellent, hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wet wipes, feminine hygiene products (tampon, pads, etc.), head lamp or flashlight, camera, water bottle, passport, emergency contact numbers, etc.
Q: What health precautions must I consider?
A: Please discuss this with your doctor. For more information you can check travel health websites for updates and recommendations. Some interns take anti-malarial medications (Malarone, etc.). Individual government websites of interns’ respective countries should also have available information about medications and vaccinations necessary for traveling abroad.