International Internships: An internship is a temporary position within a particular occupational field which allows students or recent graduates to combine the theory they have studied with practical work experience. International internships provide this hands-on experience while also giving you the opportunity to get a valuable insight into how business is conducted in other countries. International internships are offered worldwide, particularly in Western Europe; the United States; Asia; and Australia and New Zealand.
International internships are available in a wide variety of career fields such as Accounting; Business; Hospitality; Information Technology and Engineering among others. Internships abroad can last from a couple of months to a year and may be paid or unpaid. In some cases, if you are in the country on a student visa it is illegal for you to receive payment for your work. Accommodation may be provided with host families or you may choose to find your own private accommodation in shared housing or an apartment. You may be able to able to earn academic credit for the completion of a successful internship.
What are the benefits of completing an international internship?
Internships can help you to decide whether a particular career path is best suited to you following graduation. However, completing an international internship also allows you exposure to differences in how business is conducted in another country. You can compare work styles in your host country and your native country and observe differences in how projects are undertaken.
Many interns are offered full-time employment on graduation as they have proved their abilities to their employer and the learning curve is much shorter and this is also true for international internships. The networking opportunities provided by an international internship are a significant advantage and these professional and personal contacts can lead to job openings in the future. Having an international internship on your résumé makes you a very attractive prospect for future employers.
In this era of globalization, exposure to international business and culture gives you a distinct edge in the jobs market. It also suggests to employers that you are self-confident, open to challenges and willing to observe and adapt to your surroundings if required. The experience of global markets and understanding of how different cultures function you have gained will make you a valuable asset to any company.
Completing an internship in another country allows you to immerse yourself completely into the culture of that country and gain an understanding of the perspective of the people. You can use your spare time to travel and visit places you might not otherwise have a chance to see. If you are travelling to a non-English speaking country, your internship may require you to learn new foreign language skills and carrying out your work experience in a different language will help you to attain a level of fluency.
How do I find an international internship?
If your academic program allows the opportunity to complete an internship abroad, your educational institution may help to organize your placement and accommodation. They may have information on companies who regularly offer internships to foreign students and may be able to find you a placement that is best suited to your academic background and career goals.
Alternatively, agencies specializing in placing students in internships abroad can prove a valuable resource in locating a suitable internship. You can also forward your resume with a cover letter directly to companies that you would be interested to work for, outlining your suitability for the position.
The application process can take up to a few months depending on the country and field of work you are interested in so make sure you plan accordingly. Some companies will request telephone interviews before offering you an internship while others will require only letters of recommendation. You will need to ensure that you comply with all immigration laws of the country you would like to intern in.
Below is a list of some of the various types of internships.