When graduating is not exciting enough, following up with an international internship should do the trick. Not only is an internship abroad possible, it may be a bridge to your career that can give your entry-level resume a boost. Interning abroad shows future employers that you are willing to take risks, thrive outside your comfort zone, have a well-rounded education and have first-hand exposure to foreign culture and language.
Benefits of Interning Abroad
If your hometown is also known as the boondocks, you may have no choice but to expand your horizons. Catching a jet plane overseas and checking out the job market there is an adventure. Notably, you'll have the chance to fine-tune foreign language skills or pick up a new language.
If interested in an international career, an internship can provide the professional and cultural experience you need but can't find back home. Regardless of your motivation or circumstance, an international internship lets you explore a career while you explore the world, and could be the highlight of your life.
Considerations Before You Go
Landing an internship abroad takes work. Application deadlines may not correspond with American academic calendars and the process may be ridden with language barriers. Working in another country may also require permits or visas. And everything will cost money, including the planning, getting passports, paying for the move and possibly even the internship itself. If you are lucky enough to find a paid internship, do not expect it to cover all your expenses. Expect getting an internship to be competitive, even if you will be working for free.
Finding an Internship Overseas
Finding international internships to apply for is more difficult than finding ones in the U.S. Don't expect to find them at job fairs or local job boards, as you are going to have to go looking. The Internet is an excellent place to begin. Websites such as idealist.org and transitionsabroad.com have information on internships.
Many companies advertise for interns directly on their websites, so search multinational or international companies to find opportunities. Check the requirements before applying. Some internships specify they will accept recent college graduates, while others require you are a current student.
What to Look For
Moving overseas for an internship is a big commitment. Do your research on any company or organization you decide to intern for before you get on the plane. Ask the employer if you can contact previous interns about their experience and about the level of support the organization offers its interns. Look for an internship with a reputable or recognized organization, so it is familiar to future employers when you list it on your resume.
Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.