While an internship position alone can be very exciting, with meeting new people, learning new skills and becoming more engaged with what could be your future career, many choose to add to that excitement by applying for an international internship, or an internship abroad.
Applying to an internship abroad can be somewhat complicate, but you will be rewarded by the cultural immersion and global perspective that you gain from living and working in an foreign country. This section outlines some of the best places to look for international internships, and gives some great advice about living and working abroad as an intern.
The most important this to remember when applying for an internship abroad is that the job is more important than the location. While it may seem like a good idea to apply for an internship in an exotic local that you may not other wise visit, you should remember that first and foremost, you are there to learn.
If you’ve always wanted to visit the Amazon, but have no interest in environmental protection or sustainable development (or learning Portuguese, for that matter) is might not be beneficial to find an internship there. However, you can always take a trip there after your internship is over!
It is also important to keep in mind that terminology can vary from place to place, and that outside of the United States and Europe, an "internships" may not exist. That is not to say that you won’t be able to find fellowships, volunteer opportunities and teaching jobs abroad, which could be designed in such a way that would allow you to get academic credit for your overseas internship experience.
In rare cases, and internship abroad might be paid, but in most cases you will not only be working free of charge, but your living expenses might increase with extra things like airfare and lodging. While you are doing internship job research, you should also carefully consider all of the other costs that might be associated with an overseas internship. Visas and work permits, for example, can run as high as $500 in some countries. And certain places like Ireland, France and Australia the standard of living may be much higher than what you are used to.
One of the biggest challenges of an internship abroad is the cultural barrier.
This includes not only language differences, but customs, relationships and most importantly, work etiquette. This means that the research that you do prior to leaving for your internship will be invaluable. Make sure that you get in touch with someone who has lived or worked in the country that you are going to, preferably in the same field or industry as your internship. Better yet, ask if you can get into contact with a current employee or intern who can answer real-world questions about what the experience will be like for you.
Most people say that working abroad, whether as an intern, volunteer or full-fledged employee is one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives.
If you are interested in learning a new language, or immersing yourself in something new and different, you should definitely consider an overseas internship.