What’s more impressive on a resume than a hometown internship? One that you completed abroad, of course! Doing internships while studying abroad allows you to gain job experience and get a taste of what it’s like to work in your chosen field.
It will open you up to new experiences, get you out of your comfort zone, and put you on the path toward a satisfying career.
Here are five major reasons why you should study and intern abroad
1. Going abroad for your internship shows added initiative
Doing internships while studying abroad will undoubtedly look great on your resume.
As it is, only around 10% of students in the United States study abroad, and an even fewer number add an internship to their experience. Proving that you are capable of keeping up with your academics, working professionally, AND navigating a foreign country all at the same time boosts your resume and your place in the job applicant pool.
You’ll stand out for all the right reasons, as international work experience often indicates maturity, initiative, and the ability to follow through. Future employers are sure to be impressed with the skills you have added to your qualifications — skills that may include a second language.
The research is also there to back up this claim. According to statistics compiled by UC-Merced, 80% of students who spent time abroad (either doing study abroad or an internship) reported that the experience allowed them to better adapt to diverse work environments.
2. Gain skills for the global economy
These days, many employers are disappointed by how unprepared graduates are for the global marketplace. Adaptability, communication, problem-solving, and autonomy are all key skills that students can learn by working abroad, and they’re the most in-demand skills of the global economy.
The Institute of International Education recently surveyed several 21st-century employers. All cited intercultural skills, flexibility/adaptability, confidence, and self-awareness as important skills they look for in potential employees.
Large companies often have locations in several countries or make partnerships with international businesses, and someone with the skills and experience gained from interning abroad gains a significant competitive advantage in the job market. An internship abroad allows you to expand these skills as well as foreign language proficiency, cultural awareness, tolerance, and more!
3. Make international connections
Adding an element of employment to your study experience immerses you even further into the culture of your selected country. Oftentimes, study abroad students spend a lot of time with the other members of their program, keeping in a familiar group. This is a wonderful source of comfort, but it can be difficult to branch out on your own and experience your new home with the locals.
Study abroad and internship programs guarantee that you will meet locals, practice the language, and truly become a part of the community as a student and professional. In addition, expanding your social and professional network opens opportunities for a return in the future.
Even if you’ve never considered moving abroad permanently, having international connections can be very helpful for getting your foot in the door. You never know who might be able to help you get a job or build a business in the future, and in today’s global economy it pays to have some international connections.
4. You have more interesting and unique internship placement options
Some internship abroad providers, like API, work on a very personal basis with students, which means every placement is custom and personalized for your career goals. Some study-intern locations have specific focuses in certain areas of study, from journalism, NGOs, and business administration to teaching positions, film studies, and medical studies.
While an internship in the States may seem like “a dime a dozen,” an internship abroad immediately provides some uniqueness and personalization to your experience. Plus, the chance to study in your area of interest while also practicing it in a professional setting will prove to be an invaluable learning experience.
5. An internship abroad could point you in the right direction
Doing internships while studying abroad can provide you with the opportunity to “try-out” a career path to make sure it’s the right fit for you. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 75% of college students change their major at least once.
On the flip side, a 2002 survey found that 70% of students who completed an internship abroad reported that their experience ignited an interest in a specific career direction. If your college path requires an internship, going abroad provides the opportunity to invest in your future career.
In addition, doing internships while studying abroad gives you the most bang for your buck. Taking classes abroad often costs less than or equal to a semester’s tuition in the United States. Study and internship programs offer an academic and professional experience for prices comparable to traditional study abroad programs. So, essentially you get two for the price of one!
Get the best of both worlds…intern while studying abroad!
Get out there and find study abroad and internship programs!
You don’t have to choose between an internship or studying abroad—you can do both! Ultimately, students should choose whichever program option works best for their budget, the road to college graduation, professional goals, and location preferences. However, participating in a program that combines study abroad and intern abroad can prove to be a valuable addition to an overseas experience and major talking point on your resume.
Whether you choose an individual internship abroad or pursue internships while studying abroad, an international professional experience can be a life-changing opportunity!