Deciding to pursue an internship abroad can be an exhilarating adventure. However, the only way to ensure the experience is what you’ve hoped for is to choose the right fit for your wants and needs. So how does one do that, exactly?
Finding the best fit for an internship abroad involves a few different criteria. From assessing the direct and indirect costs to the work and time commitments required, these stipulations can make or break your decision to apply to certain companies or organizations. Beyond that, you’ll want to ensure you’re choosing an internship that will make the trip abroad feel worthwhile.
This guide will cover exactly how to find the perfect fit for an international internship. We’ll also briefly explain which countries are best for international internships.
What Makes a Good Fit?
When deciding whether or not an internship opportunity is a good fit, students should bear a few things in mind. Aside from choosing an interesting opportunity relevant to your course of study, you should also consider any financial costs, the time and work commitment involved, and whether or not the internship will fulfill any university requirements.
Going into the application process with these things in mind will help you make the most informed decision possible.
Direct and Indirect Financial Costs
Unlike domestic and local internships, international internships have several costs to consider. If you don’t know anyone in the country you are looking to intern in, you’ll need to find living quarters. You’ll also need to factor in how much groceries and other living costs will set you back.
At this point, you’re also going to want to see if the internship you’re interested in is paid or provides other compensation in the form of living arrangements or grocery allowances. If the internship is unpaid, you’ll have to rely solely on your savings or other sources of income to live in the country during your internship period.
In some cases, you may need to obtain a work visa to accept an internship abroad. However, this depends on the country you’re applying to. While some countries allow internships to be completed on a 3-month tourist visa, others will require a legitimate work visa instead.
Internship Time Commitment
Another important factor in the decision-making process is the time commitment put into place by the organization. Time-wise, internships abroad can vary from as short as three weeks to as long as a year or more. You should always be sure to only apply to an internship that you can feasibly justify in terms of time away from university and the financial implications of living abroad.
In some cases, your university may have time limits regarding how short or long an internship must be to receive credit towards graduation.
Type of Work Required
The work required during the internship is perhaps the most important factor to consider. When looking at a potential opportunity, you should first check to see if it’s within your desired field of study. Beyond that, you also need to decide if the position requirements will help you learn valuable skills during your time abroad.
For example, if a student majoring in public health is looking at an internship for a research institute overseas, they won’t want to take the position if the work has nothing to do with their desired career. The same sentiment goes to positions with requirements that you already have plenty of real-life experience.
While an internship abroad will certainly help your resume stand out from others, you should try to make the most of your experience by applying for internships where you’ll learn new skills.
Fulfilling University Requirements
The last thing you should consider is whether or not the international internship will fulfill any graduation requirements put in place by your university. The best way to find an internship that meets these requirements is to meet your academic advisor and the advisor of your specific department.
These advisors will be able to give you the right tools for finding qualifying internships and can also help convince the right officials to make an internship eligible if it isn’t already.
How to Find the Right Internship Abroad
Along with keeping the previous conditions in mind, there are other helpful ways to ensure you find the right internship to best fit your needs. Rather than doing it all yourself and risking potential mistakes, you can take advantage of several job boards or other resources to help match you to a good fit.
Here are some excellent examples of beneficial resources for finding international internships that fit your needs.
Use an Internship Placement Provider or Program
When it comes time to search for an internship, your best bet is to check with a service provider or your university’s international studies office. Using either of these options will help ensure you find legitimate internships with reputable companies and organizations. Beyond that, they can also help you every step of the way during the application process.
In some cases, international internships can be completed in conjunction with a study abroad program. In other instances, the internship is your only cause for being in the country. If you don’t want to take an entire semester or more off from your studies, it may be worth checking into the internships that work with students studying abroad.
These types of internships can be arranged through the study abroad program run by your university. In most cases, your university’s program will be run by the international studies department.
There’s also the option to use an internship placement program outside your university. Websites like Intern Abroad HQ, Asia Internship Program, and Evolve Abroad are among the hundreds of internship placement programs available to college students.
While these programs can make finding an internship on your own much easier, using your university’s resources is the best way to ensure you get an opportunity that is fulfilling in university requirements and job skills.
Check With a Global Company
For students looking for paid internship opportunities, it may be worth looking into internship programs offered through global companies. Although these opportunities are typically more competitive than other internships abroad, they’re usually some of the most rewarding if you get accepted.
Not only that but working at a large company also makes for a great addition to your resume when it comes time to apply for work after graduation. This is especially true if you’re trying to break into the corporate world in your desired career field. The best way to increase your chances of getting accepted into these internship programs is to make sure your application is thorough and mistake-free and to apply months in advance.
Check Internship Job Boards
Internship job boards are helpful tools for students searching for internships on their own. There’s a special tab dedicated to internships on most job board websites. Once you’re on a specific board, you can filter your results to only show opportunities outside the United States and within your desired career field.
Along with digital job boards, you may also find internships posted within your university’s career services website or office.
Use Established Connections
If you have foreign connections in the country you’re trying to find an internship in, you may find it beneficial to ask them for help finding an opportunity. Not only could they help you score an internship, but they may also be able to provide housing or other resources to make your life easier while living abroad.
Doing this takes a little more drive and confidence as it requires you to put yourself out there more than a digital job board does. When doing this, it’s important to make sure you present yourself professionally to make a good impression on any potential opportunities.
Which Countries Are Best For Interning Abroad?
While there isn’t necessarily a “best” country for international internships, China, Europe, and Australia tend to be the most popular countries. With that said, the country that best suits your needs will heavily depend on the type of work you’re looking to do. You’ll also want to choose a country where you’re proficient in their native language, or English is commonly spoken.
It’s worth noting that not all internships abroad will be spoken in English during your time there. While you don’t necessarily need to speak fluently in the country’s native language, it may be beneficial to learn as much as you can about the native language before arriving.
Finding the right internship abroad to best fit your needs can be difficult, especially if you don’t know what to look out for. However, you can usually find a good fit by considering the requirements, financial implications, and the type of work required while there.
By keeping these things in mind and utilizing the many resources available to college students, you should have no trouble finding the right internship. Whether you’re looking for a non-profit to do community work in or trying to break into the world of corporate business, the opportunities are there.
Regardless of your job prospects, we hope this guide has been a helpful tool for you in prioritizing which opportunities will best fit your needs.