To many people, the thought of working for a real-world company can be truly intimidating and the thought of travelling can be almost crippling for some who have never even left their hometown. Imagine combining these two daunting actions of an internship and travelling overseas and some people might just have a panic attack. Though it may be frightening, an internship in a foreign country has a wealth of benefits for your inner and outer growth.
In order to find an internship, many people have to create their first resume and cover letter, which is the first step into the professional realm. They may have to go through interviews with highly important people or answer phone calls in a professional manner, and given that the internship is abroad, you may have to do it in another language.
Learning these skills at a young age is a great foundation for your career as you gain experience handling superiors, co-workers and clients. Though you may be an intern, expectations are high if you expect to get a job or a good reference after your time is done, so be sure to conduct yourself with respectful and considerate behaviour that demonstrates your maturity and appreciation for the opportunity to intern there.
While being shown the ropes of your position, you may come to find that you are responsible for a diverse set of tasks and missions. Some tasks may be trivial such as fetching everyone coffee and donuts, but there is value in learning skills such as scheduling important appointments with proper phone manner or how to efficiently organize digital files.
They may seem insignificant at first, but you will realize later on in life that due to your history of diverse errands and responsibilities, you have an arsenal of handy talents to help you be effective, proactive and capable thanks to your foundational skills of time management, prioritization, and diligence.
When you participate in an internship that is directly in the industry that you intend to pursue for your career, you gain an advantage over other applicants that do not possess real world experience. You’ll have an understanding of the proper industry lingo, know-how and confidence in your aptitudes in the field that will help you stand out in an interview and for future job promotions!
On the other hand, when you’re an up and coming professional you may feel passionately about a certain industry, thus devoting all your time and energy into studying and preparing for a specific career. You finally land an internship in your desired discipline, and may be surprised to find that you are absolutely not interested in ever working in that service again. Internships can help us learn more about which path we really want to take, whether that is building security in your original decision or taking you in a different direction.
Travelling abroad brings with it the potential cultural gap of language. Rather than be intimidated by not being fluent in the native dialect, use this immersive opportunity to soak up as much of it as you can! You’ll be able to learn industry specific terms, as well as regular conversational words, which increase your overall competency as a future hire.
Internships that appeal to an international audience often include a language skills course in conjunction with the work experience. This way, foreign interns can go to class together and learn and encourage one another through camaraderie and instinctive competitiveness.
Paid internships are rare, as companies know that internships are in high demand and thus let the applicants come to them, even paying companies for the work experience in some instances. One source of compensation other than monetary is academic credit, which can help you accelerate through school, and impress future academic establishments based on how you earned your credits.
If there are two people in line for a position, the one who has established themself in the company as an efficient, skilful and professional individual will easily take the job over the one who is brand new to the company and only has their resume and references to vouch for them. Even though you might not get paid for your time, you are putting in the time to demonstrate how valuable of an addition you are to the company. By simply being present and expressing your intent and having a good attitude, you can leave a lasting impression on employers that will make them want to work with you.
With the social connectivity of the world today, staying in touch is not difficult, but having the right people to stay in touch with can be the tricky part. When you enter the real world and start meeting professionals in your field, be warmly proactive and connect with them through conversation, as later on you may exchange contact information that could lead to positive outcomes. Even if it is a contact that introduces you to three other contacts, perhaps that third person is the head of a certain project you have been trying to work with and turns out he is looking for someone new!
Even networking with co-workers and new friends you’ve met abroad are great contacts to have for future encounters. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are easy ways to stay connected without having to exert directed effort towards sending a message as it allows them to be updated about your daily thoughts and experiences.