Almost finished with high school and not sure if you want to start university or rather work? Or already at university, but desperate to get some work experience? Deciding what to do after high school isn’t an easy thing to do. On top of that, finding a place to get relevant work experience isn’t easy either. Above all this, there are those itching feet which really want to explore the world and get out of this day to day life. One option is choosing to do an internship abroad.
I have been in the same position a few years back. After graduating from school, and I really wanted to do something “relevant” before starting university. I went on to intern in London for two months, and at this point I would like to thank my 18-year-old-self for making this decision. Once you start looking into it, it seems like a reasonable idea. But somehow you still have doubts: Is it really worth it? What are the pros of doing an internship abroad? And are there any cons?
WHAT AN INTERNSHIP ABROAD GIVES YOU BACK
Doing an internship abroad is not “just something for the CV”, although some like to think that way. Of course, international working experience is a huge asset to your career. It definitely doesn’t harm to have it on your resume (let’s be honest: an internship abroad is basically the holy grail of internships). However, additionally, you get
- a unique insight into another corporate culture – which makes you develop not only as a professional but also as a person. Employers value international experience, because companies are becoming more and more international. Being able to adapt to a diverse workforce is an essential skill you need for your career. You will not get this insight if you solely travel to another country. Working and living there will give you a much deeper insight.
- You will create an international network – a personal as well as a professional. Having professional contacts in another country may help you find a job after you finish your education. Besides this, having friends from all over the world will teach you to be open to the ideas of others. Learning how to engage with individuals of different backgrounds is always a good trait [Learn more about How Traveling Enhances Your Job Skills].
- An internship abroad allows you to grow personally. You will broaden your horizon so much through the cultural awareness that you gain. You become more confident and independent by adapting and living by yourself. With that you can become an inspiration for others.
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BE AWARE OF CHALLENGES
But yes, it is true that there are some drawbacks, too. And I don’t want you to blindly walk into something you are not prepared for. If you opt for this abroad adventure, please keep these things in mind:
- Internships abroad can be hard to find if you do not have any contacts in the country of your choice. It is also especially complicated for young people who don’t have any previous work experience, or are still learning the language. This is why you probably have to use an agency as an intermediary.
- If you’re asking an agency to find an internship for you, you usually have to pay an agency commission. This means that you’re going to spend more money than you would for an internship in your home country – where it is much easier for you to find a place (due to contacts, no language difficulties etc.). Additionally, depending on your country of choice, rent and costs of living can be much higher.
- Do not look at an internship abroad as a money-making project: Internships abroad are not always paid. I know, some internship’s in your home country are not paid either, but think of the additional costs you have in a foreign country. After all, you’re not planning to sit inside the whole time. Rather, you want to explore the country a bit, too. You will have to pay for accommodation and transportation as well.
I think in the end, the pros outweigh the cons. Look at the big picture – and you will recognize that in the long run it will bring you benefits. If you are aware of the challenges you’re going to encounter, you are on the right way to a fantastic experience. Good preparation is everything you need.