The German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – DAAD) is the world's largest funding agency for the international exchange of students and scientists. DAAD is a NGO that receives its budget (about 470 Mill. EUR in 2013) from the 15 German states, the EU, several federal ministries and other public and private donators. The funding strategy of the DAAD is controlled by its members (more or less all German higher education institutions) and pursues different goals, including such ones contradicting each other. The promotion of internships is not among the core objectives of the DAAD, but is offered as part several of the 212 programs (31/12/2014). For more details see its scholarship database: https://www.daad.de/deutschland/stipendium/datenbank/en/21148-scholarship-database/ In general, the website of the DAAD is a good source to gather reliable information for students who want to study or intern in Germany: https://www.daad.de/en/
http://www.iaeste.de/ IAESTE provides practical training placements for students of natural and technical sciences, agriculture and forestry. The website provides all information necessary in a very clear presentation. Please note that applications for IAESTE funding have to be submitted at the IAESTE national committee of the country where the student is currently enrolled.
http://www.make-it-in-germany.com/en “Make it in Germany” is the multilingual “Welcome to Germany” portal for international qualified professionals. It is run by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. For the purposes of SEMSEM it is a rather “suspicious friend” since Make-it-in-Germany addresses young professionals who consider to move (or even to migrate) to Germany. It provides, however, excellent information about working and living in Germany.
For more links and sources see chapter 3 Finding Fitting Placement Ads (page 2) and subchapter 4.2.6 Further links (page 5).
To express it as clear as necessary: Finding a placement in Germany needs your own initiative. Most German universities (or their respective student body) run offices to support students to find an intern, but these offices only provide advice, they do not do the job of searching and finding. You have to spend own time and efforts. Finding a good internship is worth one or two days of work.
Basically, there are three strategies of finding a good placement in Germany:
Read the ad carefully. It is most important to follow the procedure requested. Basically there are two ways of submitting an application:
One thing is easy to understand. A deadline is a deadline is a deadline. A German HR officer will not even read your application if you submit it a second after the published deadline. Crucially, unless expressly stated otherwise, is the arrival of the application at the recipient. You must not show up too early or too late for an interview either. If something prevents you from arriving in time, give them a phone call in advance.
If possible, call the HR office prior application. Refer explicitly to its offer and ask for details regarding the content. It is not advised to discuss payment during the first phone call. Figure out who the responsible contact person is. Ask whether your application is welcome or not (mention nationality, specific educational background, and language). In your special situation of applying from abroad it is appropriate to ask whether a possible interview could be done via Skype or another video chat channel. Prepare the phone call very carefully. Maybe the HR officer keeps you in mind.