Summer Internships abroad. Why and How to Embark on One?

Posted by Pat Delorean

summer internships abroad

A summer internship abroad can be an exciting opportunity for you in so many ways. Learning a new language, navigating cultural differences and learning the ropes in a field that excites you are all reasons to grab your passport and head overseas.

So why should you embark on a summer internship?

Language Practice

There are a lot of markets in which being bilingual is beneficial. Whether you work for a multinational corporation or you want to open a business in a foreign country or work in diplomacy and government, being proficient in another language is a huge plus in today’s increasingly global world.

Business inspiration

And speaking of…besides the benefit of becoming fluent in a foreign language, learning how organizations are structured in other cultures can be extremely beneficial to you in the future. It may help you land a more permanent job in that country. Or it may serve as inspiration on how to structure or re-structure a business in your home country. The more exposure you get to different ways of solving problems and experiencing success, the more dynamic you’ll be in challenging situations in your chosen career path(s).

Character building

Interning abroad will have the extra onus of taking place in a foreign environment where things as simple as figuring out how the plumbing works to ordering breakfast can be challenges. Add to that cultural differences in work etiquette and it can be a very humbling experience. Which is great for character building. Becoming more flexible in your attitudes and learning to adapt to different environments will serve you well in any field you choose to enter.

And here are some top tips on how to choose an international summer internship:

Study abroad programs hosted by your school

Your school’s career counseling center should be your first stop for gathering information about a summer internship. Most major colleges and universities have relationships with international internship programs and they should be able to help you determine if any of them are right for you and guide you through the application process.

Surf the net

There are hundreds of internship programs out there, if you type in “summer internships abroad” in Google you’ll get a long list of different organizations to choose from. Do plenty of research to find out which ones are compatible with your goals.

Go it alone

If there’s a particular business or organization that you admire and you really want to work with them, there’s nothing stopping you from reaching out to them and asking to design your own internship program. Of course, this requires quite a bit more effort and organization on your part as well as selling them on the idea that it will be worth the trouble of procuring an internship visa and other bureaucratic processes in order to have you. Send them your transcripts and at least two letters of recommendation from your professors. You may also need to get approval from your school’s Student Dean, especially if you’re expecting class credit for the internship.

Consult a mentor

Whether you decide to opt for a program that’s sponsored through your school or go out on a limb with an independent program, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of a mentor. It could be your college’s career counselor, a professor or even a parent. Talking to someone about your career goals can help you make the right decision for an internship that will be of value to you in the future.

Be proactive

Study up on the different aspects of each internship to see which one is the best match for you. Make sure you’re not just fetching coffee but actually getting hands-on experience and mentoring. Get in touch with recruiting representatives to get the skinny on what you’ll be doing and if it matches your expectations.

Get an early start

Apply early, especially if you’re applying to an internship that’s competitive. A last-minute application may look disorganized or indecisive. Reaching out early will send the message that you’re prepared and you know what you want.

A summer internship abroad can create lasting memories and benefits to you both personally and professionally. Good luck finding the right one for you!

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