Internship is a great way to set yourself apart from your peers and increase your prospects in the eyes of potential employers. The experience, especially if relevant to your preferred line of work, will make you a front-runner when looking for that first job. It cannot be over-emphasized how valuable doing an internship while you are still at school is. If you want something that’ll really challenge you and equip you for the job market, step out of your comfort zone and do an internship abroad. Here are a couple of reasons why you should do so.
Working in a different country is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and practices. Cultural differences exist even among countries that would seem to share a lot of societal norms such as the United States and Canada.
It’s one thing to learn about the culture of another country from within the four walls of a classroom but completely another to experience it first hand. In any case, there’s only so much that can be packed into a classroom lesson.
Lesson in Independence
Interning abroad forces you into a much higher level of independence than working in your home country. Whereas technological advances have made the world a much smaller space by enabling real-time communication from virtually anywhere, it cannot replace that powerful connection that comes with being physically close to your friends and family.
Ergo, when in a different country, you’ll have to make friends with strangers and learn to tackle difficult challenges on your own. This ultimately makes you a more self-driven employee.
International internship is an opportunity to develop a valuable network of global contacts. This is especially the case if you intern at an office staffed by individuals from diverse nationalities. By having a pool of contacts outside your home country, you dramatically expand the potential number of job leads at your disposal.
An international network of friends and work colleagues is also beneficial in other aspects of your life. For example, if you plan to go on vacation abroad, you’ll have someone to show you around or at least introduce you to someone else who will.
Many people will study a second and third language to improve their competitiveness in the job market. Yet, attending a French class is not as effective at mastering the language as working in France or learning Polish.
By living for months in a country whose language you’re trying to learn, you’ll be well placed to pick up new vocabulary, understand nuances and experience useful slang that you’d otherwise not learn in a classroom environment.
After all, one of the main goals of learning a new language is to better interact with speakers of the said language. Overseas internship can greatly improve your proficiency.
Only a tiny percentage of Americans study abroad each academic year. An even smaller number complete overseas internships. If you are keen on securing a good job, you must recognize that such jobs attract stiff competition.
To increase your chances of getting hired, anything that positively sets you apart from other candidates is crucial. An international internship will do that. Of course, an internship abroad is not an end of itself. You must demonstrate to employers that it was a meaningful experience that enriched you personally and professionally.
To succeed in your professional life, you need a strong personal brand that people will see and clearly understand the benefits they can derive from associating with you. It’s difficult to build an effective and consistent brand if you have not done some deep introspection to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.
Internship abroad pushes you out of your comfort zone forcing you into self-discovery. In a different country, there’s less pressure to conform to what friends and family have always expected of you. You can better test your limits and see what you are really capable of.
Living and working abroad is an exciting experience filled with fascinating new insights and people. It’s a journey of discovery whose impact will last a lifetime.