An (international) internship is a learning experience that exposes students to a career area and allows them to apply classroom knowledge.
It also oﬀers an opportunity to build skills, and teaches them how to be successful in a professional setting.
Many domestic students are just as inexperienced as international students when it comes to spending time in a professional workplace.
Employers should not shy away from considering to hire a talented international student because of the perceived obstacles.
The benefits of doing an internship are well documented and seem to be very clear.
They will give you practical experience, a sample of life in your chosen field, networking opportunities and workplace confidence.
Thereby you could practice using specialist skills and vocabulary amongst real world customers and colleagues.
All these benefits go double for international students. Collated international data for internships is not readily available.
However, various surveys help to paint a picture of the success.
In 2012, the National Association of Colleges and Employers did a survey with 15715 graduating bachelor students.
It revealed that 55% had done a co-op experience or an internship, and 51% of this particular group had been offered at least one job after it.
It is often considered difficult for companies to understand the benefits of hiring an international intern.
And, the other way around, it also seems to be hard for students.
It is hard to understand why they should choose to do an internship abroad, rather than an internship in their home country or the country they have lived in for a long time already.
That is why we now will present to you: seven reasons or benefits why companies should hire international interns rather than domestic interns.
What are the true benefits of bringing international interns on board?
1. Knowledge of International Markets
For companies, operating on an international scale gets more and more important on an increasing level because of the globalization.
Therefore, it would be a good idea to have a bilingual student in your ranks, in order to target markets and consumers from the same area.
This bilingual student has lived in this particular country for (almost) whole his/her life, so will know the do’s and don'ts in this country.
The student’s perfect knowledge of his country’s culture and language are valuable assets for your company’s development there.
A diverse surrounding in a particular company enables employees to understand international market trends as well as new cultures.
Multiculturalism brings diversity of sex, race, gender and nationality, but most importantly: diversity of mind.
For example, Germans will almost always come up with different ideas than Americans.
2. Creativity and Innovation
Creativity is not a talent, but a way of thinking.
If you ask a person what the answer is to three plus three, they will always respond with ‘six’.
But if you ask what six really is, then you are turning the task around to get to a different way of thinking which will go beyond the subject.
It could be four plus two, or even one plus five. Then suddenly, the answer could be anything. We all have creativity.
In each culture, each problem will be solved differently.
This is because creativity will develop regarding to the experiences you are or are going to be exposed to.
There are also some children who are obviously very creative by itself, but do not know how to express it.
You have to find which symbolic language is best for you to express your creativity.
And the best way to discover this symbolic language is by putting the knowledge you have learned at school into practice by doing an internship.
By diversifying the origins of your employees, you will widen your perspectives and have access to different points of view.
This way, your company will benefit from various experiences which will trigger creativity and innovation.
Also, international interns and trainees are really eager to learn because they are enthusiastic about gaining career experience.
Thereby, it is not a secret that the younger generation (in which your potential international interns belong) is more tech-savvy than any before.
You could take that opportunity to explain your social strategy to these interns and get their feedback.
3. Stepping Stone towards Employment
Students will have the opportunity to prove themselves in your company during their internship.
You will see how it goes, you will have the opportunity to fully guide them and teach them how they need to do anything.
You can teach them what is right and what is wrong in the working field your company is operating in.
And who knows, maybe you will end up extending their internship or hiring them.
Although most students (79.2%) think about future job opportunities with the company at which they do their internship, only a few (19.3%) still work at their internship employer.
This could be because most students will not want to stay abroad their whole life to work there.
They will start missing their home country and their friends and family there.
Most students will use their internship just to gain experience in their particular working field and use this experience in the future when they are going to work at a company at their own country.
4. Motivation and Flexibility
Students are dynamic and mobile: international interns are available throughout the year for varied lengths.
Many study programs in many different countries require their students to do a mandatory period that needs to be done abroad in order to earn their academic credits.
This period varies in length, distance and wishes.
Some students need to find a place themselves, and some will be assisted by their university.
Students can also choose to call on an internship mediator like Asia Internship Program.
These kind of mediators will search a customized internship placement for them and thereby provide them with e.g. visa assistance and 24/7 emergency assistance amongst paying a fee.
When you apply to their program, they will first arrange an interview with you.
After that, they will try to find a fitting placement at a company somewhere in Asia (country of your own choice) for you.
Many students dream of putting into practice what they have learnt at school, because they did not have that chance at their university.
They need to put their knowledge into practice at a company that is doing business in their working field.
They only start to sharpen and improve professional skills related to their career field on a job.
And doing an internship is at that point the ideal opportunity for them.
They will gain practical and pragmatic experience and learn how to do their job well, rather than simply reading about the theory behind it.
5. Fresh Ideas
Things move at a much faster rate these days and you need to keep up to survive the race.
Here is where an intern’s perspective comes much needed.
Coming from the hallowed halls of academia, these young people are bursting with fresh ideas that can bring back life into offices everywhere.
These young international students are or were not inside your business every day.
That is why they can offer a fresh perspective on your business, strategies, and plans.
To experience these benefits, make sure to include your interns in brainstorm sessions and encourage them to speak up in meetings.
Attending brainstorm sessions is often a favorite among interns, so we can speak of a win-win situation here for both parties.
A recent survey by the AAC&U found that 96% of employers value problem solving in diverse settings and 83% value teamwork skills in diverse groups when hiring recent college graduates.
Another benefit of hiring international students is that interning abroad requires (and helps to develop) a certain level of independence.
It takes the students a bit further out of their comfort zone than an internship at home would.
And this independence is also needed in the working environment.
Depending on how students have found their internship, there will be things to arrange for them before they could actually go abroad.
They need to search for housing in that particular country, need to arrange a work or internship visa, and academic credit at their home university.
6. Opportunities for Students
By hiring an international student, you will give them the opportunity to grow personally and professionally while gaining cross-cultural skills.
An internship abroad experience is often considered a more individualized and independent experience than a typical study abroad program.
Employers in the future are much more likely to hire someone who already has at least some experience in the field than someone who does not have any experience at all.
When interning abroad, international students will also have the opportunity to increase their language proficiency.
Even if you have been studying a language for years and studied abroad in that language, interning abroad in whatever country enables you to learn a new set of (business) vocabulary.
Whether it is learning the right words to communicate with customers, discussing work specifics with your colleagues, or learning technical vocabulary related to your industry, you will only increase your language proficiency.
Gaining insider knowledge at a company in their career field will help the students to realize how to properly prepare theirselves for future interviews and for their career.
Industry experience will also help them to decide whether they are in the right field for them or not.
An internship is basically a low-commitment way to test out a job and career path.
When you accept a position at a firm, you are generally committing to at least a year of working there.
An internship demands much less of a time commitment.
If you really do not like the job, you only have to wait it out a few months – not a year.
Another opportunity for an international student who is interning abroad is that they could grow their network of professional contacts.
They will be able to network and establish relationships with working professionals in their field by just working in that field.
Fostering those professional connections can be useful for anything, from career advice to a job recommendation.
In a survey of more than 3,700 IES Abroad alumni, 83% of students who interned abroad said that it allowed them to acquire skill sets that influenced their career path.
On top of that, nearly 90% of IES Abroad alumni found their first job within six months of graduation!
In the same IES Abroad alumni survey mentioned earlier, 98% of students said the experience helped them better understand their cultural values and biases.
82% stated it helped them develop a more sophisticated way of looking at the world, and 97% said the experience increased their maturity and confidence.
After interning abroad, you will have new knowledge, both about the world and about yourself.
This will put you on track to becoming the “you” you have always wanted to be!
Ellen Law, who went on an internship to Padang, Indonesia, says that going abroad has broadened her horizons.
‘’I got to experience a different lifestyle, culture and environment in a new country and see how young people in Indonesia develop their careers.’’
Companies pay no program, visa, or placement fees to hire an international intern.
Most employers compensate their interns or trainees, but you got to decide yourself what to pay participants.
Companies often only think about the problems an international intern will bring.
As an example for this fact, we could name the permission that needs to be obtained for the international intern to work abroad.
However, getting permission for international students to work in another country is not as difficult as many employers think.
Most international students are in other countries on non-immigrant student visas, and these international students are eligible to accept employment under certain conditions.
In fact, hiring an international student as an intern is no more complicated, expensive, or time consuming than hiring a domestic student.
So, in conclusion: if your company is looking for a boost in diversity and a global edge, hiring an international intern may be just what you need.
A successful hire takes a lot of advanced planning, but is much easier with the help out an outside agency.
Hiring an international intern has a lot of benefits.
Like mentioned before: knowledge of international markets, creativity and innovation, a stepping stone towards employment, motivation and flexibility, fresh ideas, opportunities for students and affordability.
Are you interested in international interns for your business or organization?
Click on the link below for more information!