Immersing yourself in a new culture, understanding complex visa requirements, and being thousands of miles (and time zones) away from family and friends can make interning abroad an intimidating feat that can dissuade you from pursuing an opportunity overseas. But have you really weighed the pros and cons? Is it worth going the distance? Taking the plunge to spend even a few weeks abroad takes courage and commitment, but it will also teach you a lot more about yourself and your field than an internship at home. Here are the reasons an International Internship’s pros far outweigh its cons:
Use Your Passport
An international internship will allow you to travel! Of course, you’ll be working hands on at your internship placement during the week, but weekends are meant to roam free–especially while abroad! You gain a deeper understanding of the cultures you’ll encounter, meet people from all over the world, and become more confident in your ability to fly solo. It’s also known that those who travel internationally while in university are more likely to continue to travel to various countries in their older years, so your passport will become your best friend.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
As soon as you step off the plane expect to feel confused, overwhelmed, and unsure–all great factors that can shake up your comfortability. But once you accept the jittery feelings and learn to handle the discomfort, you’ll be unstoppable! There won’t be a job too big, a VIP client you can’t handle, or a difficult situation you won’t face because you’ve learned how to conduct yourself in a professional, relaxed manner no matter the setting. Employers love this attribute because it makes for a great team player who’s open minded and adaptable to changes.
International Work Experience
Although you might not be paid for your internship abroad, you’re still working and that falls under the category of “International Work Experience”. You get a better understanding of your desired industry on a global scale and develops your ability to work with and communicate with a culturally diverse team. This in turn creates employees that are more culturally sensitive, non-judgmental, and inclusive.
One of the greatest benefits of an international internship is developing new language skills. Employers value bilingual candidates who can help to expand their businesses into new territories. And when we say value, we don’t just mean “appreciate”. Bilingual candidates can negotiate a 5-20% increase in their starting pay, making them more competitive in the workforce.
Live, Travel, Learn, Work
Who knew how much experience an international internship could bring? Living abroad allows you to fully immerse yourself in a country, while getting a feel of what it could be like to live there full-time. You fall into a new routine, get to know your neighborhood–local laundry, supermarkets, pharmacies–and make friends with your new, local neighbors.
Time on the weekends and after work allow you to travel to must see destinations, hot spot attractions, and even some off the beaten paths known only by the locals. Most times you can travel to bordering countries and explore a whole different world!
Learning is inevitable–learning about the people, traditional customs, beliefs, food, music, dances, and of course, language. Those who love nature and science will get first-hand experience engaging with the surrounding nature and geography, history buffs might explore mysterious landscapes and ancient ruins, while the artists visit museums and famous festivals.
And last but not least, with an internship abroad, you’re definitely gaining work experience! Develop your resume, market your new skills, and be prepared to receive offers locally, and possibly internationally!
Ready to explore opportunities for international internships? Check out our internships, here.