You may be considering an internship abroad for numerous reasons. Maybe you want some international work experience, or perhaps a change of scenery, or maybe you are just really bored – whatever the case, interning abroad is an invaluable experience. Here are five reasons you should stop google searching “should I do an internship abroad?” and just go for it.
1. You will not be the same person – in a good way
I’m a big proponent of getting outside your comfort zone as much as possible. Everyone knows the saying, “nothing ever grows inside your comfort zone”. Well yeah, they’re right. And this is exceptionally accurate for an internship abroad. Yes, there will be times you miss the comfort of home, and you will probably have to deal with some sort of adversity along the way (missing a flight(s)*, leaving a bag at the airport*, etc…), but you will most definitely grow. Embrace the differences and the challenges, and just know they are making you better. And once you return home you’ll see that the place hasn’t really changed that much. But it feels different. And you realize the thing that is different is you.
*not personal examples…well actually, maybe personal examples…
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” – Nelson Mandela
2. You will obtain major network #swag
Everyone knows the importance of networking. “You never know how a connection might help you in the future!” – every teacher ever. But it is really true and you should be networking as much as physically possible until you run out of business cards and/or start creeping people out. Working in an international office means your colleagues are most likely from vastly different places – giving you a network with connections all over the world. Make sure you take advantage of your networking opportunities, *cough cough – LinkedIn*. Plus, what’s cooler than saying you have new friends from all over the world? And, it’s insanely interesting hearing where people are from and the differences/similarities you can uncover – mainly that everyone everywhere loves chocolate.
3. Your horizons will be a little more than “expanded”
Learning through first-hand experience is the best way to discover other cultures and people. Maybe you have preconceived notions about an area or the people that live there because of what you’ve seen on the news, or what someone else has told you. Going abroad gives you the opportunity to see first-hand what a place is actually like. And if you are working abroad, you get the opportunity to interact with people from different cultures everyday and find out what their culture is actually like. Not only that, but there will be certain nuances about your international office that you haven’t experienced before in a U.S. internship – and that’s okay, just roll with it.
4. You will gain experience working in a diverse landscape
If you are working in an international office, guess what – it is highly unlikely you will be surrounded by Americans; in fact, you might be the only one in the office. How often in your life has this been the case? Working in a diverse office can be challenging, but it allows for different perspectives and opportunities to learn about different cultures. Plus every job interview ever asks, “Give us an example of a time you worked in a diverse landscape”… oh remember that one time you did an internship abroad? Yeah…
5. You will “hopefully” get a job afterwards
I don’t have any statistical evidence behind this, but I guarantee you an internship abroad is going to enhance your resume or CV…just a lil’ bit. No employer is going to say “wow she has experience working abroad – that’s a deal-breaker for us, we probably shouldn’t hire her”. If you are tied with another candidate, and you have experience working abroad (or even being abroad for that matter), you are most-likely going to win out. Bonus points if you learned a language.
I hope this information was helpful and you see the value in doing an internship abroad. If not for yourself, know you can at least understand the motives behind your “crazy friend who is always traveling”(me).
To learn more about interning abroad and finding an internship that suits your needs, I would start with everyone’s trusted friend, Google, or your university’s study abroad office.
I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity I had to do an internship abroad. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has created an invaluable program for recently graduated student-athletes to further continue their education or gain professional experience (PEO Program – Post Eligibility Opportunity), and I’m happy I was able to take advantage of this opportunity. Thanks to the Nebraska Athletics department and Life Skills staff that made this possible for me and all the other student-athletes.
I also want to thank Barcelona SAE for allowing me to have an exceptional internship experience abroad with Production Paradise, a photography and film production directory in Barcelona. I was a marketing intern for the company for two months and was the only American in the office. I feel extremely equipped to take the skills I learned at the company back to the U.S. to pursue a full-time position in an area that I’m passionate about. I highly recommend Barcelona SAE to students looking to pursue internships in Barcelona.
And alas, thank you to Production Paradise for allowing me to be apart of the team for two months and take in the killer office views every day. I loved getting to know you all and will cherish the time I spent as an intern there. Also, thanks for letting me take an obscene amount of pictures of the office to show my friends and my mom.