I am in a quite urgent situation. I recently received an offer for an internship with an international organization. The headquarters of the organization in which I will do the internship are located abroad – in a different european country than mine. The HR person confirmed the internship but told me two weeks ago that the internship will be fully official when they will send me a formal letter of acceptance. At the moment, I still haven't received their letter of acceptance. This is not because they are hesitating so much to select me, but rather because they requested a document which took time for me to obtain (and I think the time it took me was reasonable). But now I think I will get the official confirmation very soon, probably this week.
They asked me two weeks ago when I will be available and I gave them a specific date in early May (I prefer to not indicate the date, I'm a bit paranoid). The issue is that, because I did not have their official confirmation, I have not really been able to prepare my stay abroad. For example, I need to find an accommodation, and even though I found something nice, I was not able to book it because I cannot pay the deposit and book the apartment if I'm not a 100% sure for the internship. I also need to handle a lot of administrative formalities before I go – the internship agreement with my university, the scholarship application for internship abroad that must be done before I leave my country, the health insurance etc. I cannot do all this if I'm not sure about the internship and if I don't have their official confirmation. Maybe these stuffs may seem quite basic but when you add them in such a short time, it is a lot to handle, in particular because the job is abroad.
Given the starting date that I gave them and the fact that I also need to arrive a few days before the internship starts, this gives me very little time to do all I have to do before I can start. If I receive the formal letter of acceptance this week, it only gives me a few days (absolute maximum one week).
If I am officially offered the job, how can I ask them to postpone the starting date by one week ? Which arguments should I bring ? Do you think it is fine to ask them this one week deferral ? I am also hesitating about when to ask them to postpone. Should I do it just after they send me the official offer with the dates ? Or should I do it after they have signed the contract ? I guess it is better to ask them before we all sign the contract, but I am just afraid that they decide to finally not hire me because of my request. This position is a great opportunity for me and I don't want to miss the chance.
Thanks for your help!