Have you ever heard that the best way to get a successful job is to start by doing an internship?
Are your peers telling you that an internship is a great opportunity to gain work experience while in college?
They may also be suggesting that an internship is a prime chance to network and gain valuable future contacts.
Well, all of these points are probably valid, but where you do your internship will make your experience more worthwhile.
At the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with performing an internship in your home country.
You will gain work experience, make new contacts, and put yourself in position for a future job.
However, you’re limiting yourself by staying in your native country.
Instead, you can be a bit adventurous and venture to a foreign country to do an internship abroad.
An internship shouldn’t be just about the work and professional experiences, but also about the life and cultural experiences.
Let’s discuss several of the aspects that you'll be missing out on by sticking around in your home country.
Your Passport Should Be Collecting Stamps, Not Dust
Obviously the biggest disadvantage of not doing an internship abroad is not being able to travel and explore other countries.
Instead, you’re driving the same roads, passing the same trees, and stopping at your usual Starbucks on a daily basis.
Aren't you getting bored of this?
Go and experience a different culture, instead of the stagnant lifestyle you’ve become accustomed to since you were a child?
Jacob Ohrt, an engineering student at the University of Iowa, decided during his senior year that he wanted to take part in a study abroad program.
After discovering from his university that internship opportunities abroad are also available, it was just the cherry on top because he saw the chance to gain work experience at the same time.
Ohrt, shares some of his favorite things he had the pleasure to see during his adventures, “My fondest memory from my summer in China is getting to walk on The Great Wall of China.
I also really enjoyed getting to see famous architectural sights such as Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai Tower, and Shanghai World Financial Center.”
Every community in the world has a group of individuals that are born and die in the same city.
You don't want to categorize yourself into a group with these people.
Seriously, think about the lives that these kinds of people live.
These people experience the same city everyday of their lives.
They are born, go to school, get a job, and die, all in the same city. It is an extremely repetitive lifestyle!
These individuals only experience a fraction of what the world has to offer.
Instead of hiding behind a wall like they have, climb the wall and see what’s on the other side.
Learn A New Language The Real and Authentic Way
Acquiring the ability to speak a second language is one of the most treasured things you can gain in life.
Imagine traveling to another country, being able to speak the local language, and getting a job for an international company.
The benefits can take you a long way in your professional and personal life.
The privilege of writing down a second language on your resumé could be what puts you over the top.
Employers will look for anything that they believe brings value for them.
Fluency in a second language may be just that.
One of the most valuable things you can gain from an internship abroad is immersing yourself into a new language.
Sure, you can take that Spanish class at a local language school in your hometown, but its not authentic.
You’ll learn new phrases and after class you'll go back to speaking English with your friends and your significant other.
However, to truly get the full benefits of learning a new language, it’s best to converse with the country's locals.
Stepping out of your comfort zone and forcing yourself to do something completely different, changes how your brain processes information.
Hannah Polston, a student from the University of Denver, got to experience learning a new language first hand during her study abroad in Spain.
Polston expresses, “being constantly surrounded by a language different from your own can encourage (or force) you to get really good at this target language.”
Some language professionals believe it is more beneficial to learn a new language without any connection to your native language.
It forces you to start from scratch and learn more intensively.
Give Hannah’s article a look on "11 Tips For Learning A Language While Studying Abroad."
Your Contact List Is Boring, Do Something About It!
As previously stated before, you can make new contacts doing an internship in your own country but how far will that take you?
As you’re reading this, think about how many international business contacts you have.
It’s likely that you can count the number with your fingers.
With an internship abroad, you can network yourself and make long lasting global contacts that can enhance your future career.
Maybe you’ll make contacts during your internship in Singapore and that leads to a future job in China.
The possibilities are endless.
Evan, a writer for BRIC Language Systems, discusses in an article the importance of networking and connecting with people when abroad.
He also goes on to talk about how in this day and age, we as a society have become naturally impatient, and undervalue the effectiveness of face-to-face interaction.
We crave instant results by favoring various forms of technology for communication.
Check out Evan’s article "Networking Tips While Abroad," for more insight on why “networking is an important component of doing business no matter where in the world you are.”
An internship abroad, will give you the opportunity to attend several networking events organized by various institutions, chambers, and private groups.
The attendees of these networking events usually include company professionals, industry specialists, and possibly other interns.
It’s very useful to interact with these people and exchange contact information.
These events may be more formal with a particular theme or topic, and others will be less formal with general mingling around and drinking.
Based on different events and time availability, choose networking events that are most relevant to you.
For more tips on networking, take a look at this article, "Networking 101: What To Do At Your First Networking Event."
Be The One In The Room Everybody Looks At
"Global outlook is one of the top five desired attributes that employers seek in employees, but many companies report that job applicants are often missing this experience." Cara Narkun
The job market today has never been more competitive and any advantage you can gain is a plus!
Let’s say you’re from the United States and that’s where you’ve completed an internship.
More likely than not, you plan to get a job in the United States.
That internship won’t make you look as appealing as another American candidate who completed their internship in Switzerland.
Stand out from the crowd to increase your chances of landing the job you want.
Businesses everyday try to gain competitive advantage and this can also be said for young professionals.
"The more that technology allows us to connect to one another, the more global opportunities emerge.
Although it is becoming easier to work across borders and seas, only seven percent of American graduates have global work experience.
That means that of the nearly two million students that graduate from college each year, only about 120,000 have gone abroad to intern or work."
This is an excerpt from an article titled, "How Global Internships Are Changing The Way Graduates Get Jobs," written by Cara Narkun.
International work experience on a resumé attracts a considerably greater amount of attention to an employer than without it.
You may not think it’s a big deal to have international work experience, but put yourself into the shoes of an employer.
Choose between a German applicant, who has studied and completed an internship in Germany, versus another German applicant, who has studied in the UK, and completed an internship in Thailand.
Consider they have the same qualifications, which candidate sounds more appealing to hire?
It’s obvious which one sounds more interesting, right?
Yes, You Can Get A Job Overseas!
Getting a job in another country may sound extremely absurd for you. It may be something that you’ve probably never even considered.
Well, the chance to find a job and work in another country increases dramatically after completing an internship abroad.
For example, Asia Internship Program has placed 400+ candidates throughout Asia and 83% of those people have gone on to find full-time opportunities post internship.
Securing a job post internship all starts with the company that you’re interning for.
Your host company wants to know if you bring value, if you’re a hardworking individual, and if you're an asset.
A nice article to read through is, "Internships Can Make You An Asset."
Not only do internships from abroad look great on resumés but international work experience looks even better.
Companies find it impressive when your employment history goes beyond your native country and into other parts of the world.
Employers will perceive you as having an open-mind, being adaptable, and possessing communication skills.
Now as we talked about before when doing an internship abroad, you’re bound to meet company professionals at various networking events.
Building relationships with these people is another approach towards acquiring a job in another country.
The saying "it’s not what you know, it’s who you know," is somewhat accurate.
A Business Insider report based on numbers provided by Glassdoor, says that, "your chances of getting an accepting offer are a statistically significant 2.6% to 6.6% higher if you were referred by a current employee than if you weren’t."
It is advantageous to network as much as possible, and try to build as many connections as you can.
By doing so, you can increase your chances of acquiring a job abroad.
Challenge, Discover, and Improve Yourself
We talked about all the benefits and advantages of doing an internship abroad.
You may have overlooked however, the opportunity to gain personal growth outside of your natural environment.
You will undoubtedly see the world differently when you place yourself into new surroundings.
There are several aspects to life in another country that will be challenging, which you will need to adapt to.
Obstacles that you face will be intimidating at times, but finding ways to navigate around them will bring you more confidence in the long run.
If you ever talk to someone who has studied, interned, or worked abroad, they will more than likely tell you that their experience has developed their personal growth in some way.
Regardless of whether their time spent abroad was positive or negative, they discovered something about themselves which they may not have known previously.
This cannot be said however, for someone doing an internship in their own country.
Victoria Einarsen Westvik, a hospitality management student at Glion Institute of Higher Education, has completed two internships abroad.
Her most recent internship was done in Dubai with the InterContinental Hotels Group.
An essential part of Victoria’s internship for her was to gain as much as she could from it.
She says in her article, "For me, it was important to complete my internship in an environment where I was able to have my own responsibilities in order to develop myself as much as possible."
Victoria originally wrote her article while she was still doing the internship, but she goes on to say, "Even though I have yet to complete my internship, I can already say that I have gained more than I thought was possible!"
Now Go and Become A Badass
An internship abroad all starts with figuring out what you want to do and where you want to do it.
Choose a country that you want to visit and find an internship opportunity there.
Learn the language of the country that you visit.
It's a major asset that you will never lose and very beneficial in daily life situations.
Go to networking events and meet new people during your internship.
You'll never know who you meet and they could even help further your career.
A major benefit to your internship abroad is that you can put it on your resume!
When you go back home, you'll have that competitive advantage over your peers with international work experience.
If you don't want to go home, you have a big opportunity to find a job overseas.
An internship abroad is challenging, but you will learn and gain so much after completing it.
There will be stumbling blocks along the way but just like Victoria said, it’s important to develop yourself as much as possible!
Have you done an internship abroad yet? Comment to let us know your thoughts!