As all college students know, internships are crucial to getting noticed by a prospective employer. Internships are used to put your studies to practical use, network with others in your field, and develop on-the-job skills. Most students are looking to intern with established companies that will get their resumes notice, but have you ever considered an internship abroad? Not only will it get your resume noticed, but you’ll have the experience of spending time in a new country, familiarizing yourself with a new culture, food, and language, and exploring new land, while still getting the same benefits as those who decide to go the traditional route.
Not only does an internship abroad get you an international perspective of your field, but it also contributes to your personal growth as an individual, and as a traveler. So pack your laptop, and some skimpy swimwear, and get ready to navigate your international internship.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone, and Into a New Country
The first day of an internship, no matter where in the world it is, will be a bit nerve wracking. Maybe you exaggerated just a bit on how familiar you are using Excel, and did they actually call that reference you listed who happens to be your cousin and not a previous supervisor? If they did, you’re probably praying your cousin wasn’t drunk when she answered and she remembered she’s supposed to act like your old supervisor. What about lunch?! You won’t know anyone and will have no one to eat with! These are valid concerns, but can you imagine them while transitioning into your role in a new country?!
An internship abroad pushes you out of your comfort zone completely. Not only are you paranoid about first-day jitters, but what about the language barrier? Will you adjust to the new foods? What happens if you get lost? And currency exchange?!
However, we learn that first-day jitters are just that, and they will pass. Same goes for new country jitters! It’s normal, but remember you’re pushing yourself further outside of your comfort zone than the average, so the return in growth will also be above average.
Open Yourself to New Opportunities
Every time you take up a new opportunity, you realize how many more open for you. It’s no different with an internship. Working and living overseas will change your perspective in so many ways, and the experiences you gain will better prepare you to do it all over again, if you want. On average, students who intern abroad have an amazing experience, and then take it back home to utilize and develop those same skills with a local company. However, many times, those interns tend to stay abroad longer than initially planned.
It’s cliche to hear that traveling changes a person, but there’s a reason you hear it so often–it’s true! One trip to a new country and people realize how much there is to this world, and how much they haven’t seen. Making connections, gaining on-hand experience, and taking language courses makes interns who work internationally more confident in their ability to stay abroad and travel. Depending on the country, the cost of living may be cheaper, and the pay suitable enough to provide a comfortable life which allows for more extensive travel. The opportunities are endless.
Your Experience is What You Make it
Truth be told, not everyone has a great experience. Whether they are traveling, interning, working, or studying, there are some instances that will shut someone off from the idea of taking another international trip. However, your experience is always what you make of it. Be it overseas or right in your own backyard, the only thing that matters is your perception.
Sometimes we realize that a certain country, geography, or custom doesn’t suit us well. Great! That’s what traveling is for. To learn about ourselves; Our likes and dislikes, to understand how others live, to live and experience new things. But good or bad, we can always learn. And when you focus on the positive learning experience, you realize that it can never really be bad.
Internships Abroad Force You to Grow Up
For many, college feels like the first step into adulthood. No more parents, curfews, or homework checks. But you learn there’s more to it than the minimal freedoms you get in college.
It’s harder for your loved ones back home to understand the world you’ve chosen to navigate abroad. You learn that tradition and social constructs can be so completely different than your own. Therefore, that advice your mother gives you on how to handle your inconsiderate house-mate may not be a suitable solution for you. You learn to problem-solve accordingly, deal with confrontation, choose ripe fruits at the market, and manage your spending. Welcome to adulthood, really.
There’s No Better Learning Experience
From having to create a completely new life to learning how to approach various situations in your new country, there’s absolutely no better learning experience. An international internship makes for a stand-out resume, skills you could have only developed overseas, and an expansion of previous thought.
Living and working overseas builds your communication skills, interpersonal relationships, forces you to speak with and meet others you might not normally interact with, gives you insight to international business, and boosts your confidence. Any work you do at an internship can never be taught inside of a classroom, and any experience you gain overseas can never be gained at home. So, embrace the change and recreate yourself with an internship abroad.