5 Important Ways an Internship Abroad Could Transform Your Career
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The time you spend in college can often be the most important, transformative years of your life. If you put these years to good use, then you graduate with more than just a certificate. You get a wealth of experience and exposure that can be taken along for life. Today, students need more than just a degree to help differentiate themselves from the thousands of eager applicants competing for the same job. An internship abroad could help you achieve just that. Apart from giving you an edge over your competition, an internship abroad can fundamentally change the way you approach life, the workplace and ultimately your career. If you are considering doing an internship abroad, here are five reasons you’re on the right path.
1. Intercultural Skills
Today, most workplaces include employees, offices and clients spread across the world. To be employable in this scenario, you need to have experience mingling with people of other cultures. When you intern abroad, you’re often in a country where you aren’t fully aware of the language and customs of the locals. To adapt, you need to be flexible, immersing yourself fully in the culture of the country. For an employer, the need for entrepreneurial leadership makes them look for these very same qualities in individuals. Since you learn the language of your host country, this fluency in a foreign language also works in your favour when applying for a job in today’s interconnected world.
2. Gives You an Edge
If you don’t have any internship experience on your CV, then your chances of landing your dream job are severely diminished. According to a survey by Psychology Today, as many as 82% of managers specifically look for internship experience before they hire someone. The problem, of course, is that most students seek one out while they’re still in college for this exact reason. This means that having an internship experience might not necessarily guarantee you a good job because most other applicants have one too. An internship abroad, on the other hand, is the perfect way to set yourself apart from your competition. When a manager sees that you have interned abroad, it immediately piques their interest. It tells them that you are willing to challenge yourself and that you come with invaluable international exposure. Even more interestingly, studies have shown that students who have interned abroad are offered higher salaries than other applicants.
3. Builds Character
One of the biggest, intangible ways an internship abroad could benefit you is by making you a better person. Interning abroad pushes you out of your comfort zone. It forces you to leave the easy convenience of being in the same country you have lived in all your life and takes you away from the safety net of your family. When you start living in a new country, you are forced to stand on your own two feet, tackle challenges alone and become independent in the truest sense of the word. These traits also translate to your work ethic because you aren’t afraid to take risks and don’t need anyone’s supervision to work to your full potential. An internship in a new country also makes you a more flexible, adaptable and an open-minded person. These qualities are immensely important at an office where you have to work with different kinds of people from all walks of life.
4. Forms an International Network
Arguably, more than your educational qualifications and GPA, it’s your contacts that can actually have the biggest impact on your career. Having a strong network to tap into can help you get your foot in the door of any organisation you want to work for. When this network extends across countries, it can be your most valuable asset. Doing an internship abroad can help you develop a connection with your host employer, along with other employees within the organisation. You can even extend this network beyond your organisation by forming connections outside of work through friends and friends of friends. A vast international network isn’t just an important resource for you; it also makes you a more valuable candidate in the eyes of your future employer.
5. One of the Best Ways to Travel
If you truly have been bitten by the wanderlust bug, then a weeklong stay at a holiday resort just won’t cut it for you. You can’t really experience a country from a superficial visit to its most famous tourist spots. If you really want to understand a country and its culture, what better way than to live in it for a few months? Interning abroad can help you become a true local within your host country. It lets you explore the place for yourself, form deep friendships with the people living there and understand it better than any travel guide would let you. When you intern in a new country, don’t be surprised if you find a new place you can call home.
If you are excited to do an internship abroad, take your first step by exploring our Global Entrepreneur Program by AISEC. This program will put you in touch with over 120 countries, where you can gain invaluable international exposure and work experience.
Want to develop your personal & professional skills in a hands-on experience through AIESEC's international exchange programs?
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