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Why an International Internship Makes Sense

international internships
Jenny Xie
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Published on January 30, 2013

Most students and recent graduates have come to understand the importance of gaining professional experience through internships, but for many the concept of interning abroad is still in its infancy. Seeking work experience abroad, though increasingly common, is still quite a rarity amongst most young professionals. For a variety of reasons, however, international internships can often be more rewarding and practical than domestic internships.

It’s a Globalized World

Now more than ever, businesses tend to operate on a global scale. This tendency, largely driven by technologies that blur geographic divides, is accelerating each year and has large consequences for the way in which business is conducted. As businesses expand their reach further into the international field, they increasingly require employees with global backgrounds, as well as linguistic and cultural knowledge. Despite the “globalization” of the world, it is still necessary to be sensitive to and aware of the foreign culture within which you are operating. Young recruits that fit this background are more in demand than ever before. By spending time living and working abroad, not only will you boost your resume, but you will develop an in depth knowledge of the business culture of a foreign country. This will be a massively marketable quality to bring to the table for future job interviews.

Increased Opportunities Overseas, Particularly in Emerging Markets

With the US and European economies stagnating, it makes sense to look to areas of growth when exploring business opportunities. The emerging economies of Asia, Latin America and Africa are roaring ahead with enviable growth rates, a fact of which businesses are most certainly taking note. This is a trend that should not go overlooked by today’s students and recent graduates. What this translates to is increased job opportunity abroad, particularly in those regions of the world that are pushing forward full steam ahead. In today’s job market, a well-educated Westerner is significantly more likely to find quality employment in China than in Europe. The traditional economic domination of the West is now a thing of the past. As such, the doors of opportunity now lie in the emerging economies of tomorrow, including that of China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico.

How to Go About It

To most young Americans, establishing a life abroad (both professionally and personally) can be intimidating and scary. It can be difficult to secure an internship, work visa, apartment, and social circle in English speaking countries, and almost impossible to do so in a non-English speaking country. To assist in this process, there are a variety of internship programs that help take care of all the nitty gritty details. Most internship programs offer a comprehensive experience that includes visa-processing, housing, language lessons, cultural training, and weekly social and networking events. By opting into a program, young professionals can devote themselves fully to developing professionally and culturally rather than wasting time dealing with bureaucracy and paperwork. The result can be an extremely rewarding few months abroad that adds to your resume, increases your job prospects and immerses you in a new, exciting culture!


Jenny Xie

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