Interning in a foreign country is unlike anything else. Not only does the experience teach you valuable life lessons, but it also boosts your resume significantly. Unfortunately, as enticing as the possibility of overseas work may appear, most hopefuls find that money is a huge stumbling block.
As you may be aware, living abroad may be extremely costly. Adding to an ever-growing pile of student loans isn’t always an option for students who already have a mountain of debt. So, what should you do if this is the case?
Find a paid internship abroad
You could make money a non-issue by looking for an international internship that pays you. While these opportunities are comparatively rare, they do exist. A lot of internships now pay almost the same as an entry-level full-time job. Others will go so far as to cover all your expenses – including travel, rent, commute costs, and living expenses – in addition to paying you a full salary.
Large corporations based in developed countries are more likely to offer all-expenses-paid internships abroad than non-profits and small companies in developing countries. Therefore, Look at organizations with an established presence and a huge outreach to give yourself the best chance.
In addition, You could also try your luck with a well-funded startup. It’s not uncommon for them to offer fully-paid internships to secure the most promising talent.
Top tips for securing a paid internship
As you’ve probably gathered, the competition for snagging a paid internship is high. Here are some tips that should make it easier for you to land one:
- The longer the internship period, the more likely it is that you’ll be compensated. It might be a good idea to set your sights on an internship that lasts anywhere from a few months to a year.
- Some industries are more likely to offer paid internships. If getting paid matters more to you at this point in time than getting specific work experience, consider interning in another industry. You’ll still get international experience.
- Be upfront and set clear expectations with the employer from the very beginning. Let them know you can’t afford to work for free. It’s likely you’ll manage to sway the employer into compensating you in some manner.
Alternative Internship Options
If you cannot find a paid internship, there are alternative options that can be just as good, if not better, than a paid internship. Here are some tips that could help make up for the lack of pay:
- Academic credit:Some universities offer academic credit to students as payment. This isn’t direct financial compensation, but it works out to be the same anyway. How? With academic credit, you can spend less time in university and more time working to earn money – not to mention the tuition fees you have saved. Check with your university to see if they offer academic credit for internships.
- Scholarships:Universities often grant scholarship internships for current students and recent graduates. These scholarships can cover travel and living expenses partially – or even fully – and last anywhere from 1 month to a year.
- Living stipend:Finally, there are companies that pay you a living stipend every month. For students, this may be less than the minimum wage, but at least it will take some costs off your back. Some companies may pay for your housing, food and/or travel costs directly. It is definitely worth asking if the employer can look into covering some of the living expenses in lieu of payments, especially in countries where you may not be able to get paid due to visa restrictions for internships.
What about unpaid internships?
Are unpaid internships worth your time? That depends on the internship in question. Not all companies can afford to pay interns with an as-of-yet-untested skill set. However, if you impress them enough, you could catapult yourself into a rollicking career. Sometimes you have to give first to receive.