7 reasons to do an internship abroad
Many young adults face dilemmas about where and how to start their careers. From the traditional way of apply to a big company and trying to climb the ladder to the brave way of starting a brand new company, the options seem endless. Because of this, asking five different people about the best tactic will most probably result in five different answers. The pressure to start working as soon as possible and the lack of guidance many times results in wrong decisions, which can lead to undesired consequences and many regrets.
In this article, we will try to show why doing an internship abroad is the best way to start your career, not only in terms of professional and personal development, but also in providing an interesting and fun transition from studying to the labour market.
1. It makes your CV special
HR managers at companies get so many applications that some researches suggest that they take less then 10 seconds to decide for each CV if it impresses them or not. In this fast-paced world your CV has to contain something special that makes the reader curious about who you are. Most HR managers have stated that foreign experience is one of the few things that they look for in a CV, because it proves that the applicant is adventurous and open-minded.
2. You can do it as part of your education
Many schools and universities nowadays accept internships as part of the curriculum, in order to encourage students to go to trainings and therefore to facilitate their transition from education to work. Many university courses and vocational schools ask for compulsory traineeships, while in others you can substitute classes with them. So why sit in boring classes when there are much more exciting options lying at your feet?
3. You can get grants and other sort of financial support
In today’s integrated Europe, there are basically endless possiblities to finance your traineeship from. You can of course do a paid internship, but those might not be so easy to find if you are just finishing your studies. The most obvious is to ask for an Erasmus+ grant, but there might be many other opportunities just lying around, either from your home country, your destination country or international grants. In the end, you might also be able to take home some money from your adventure.
4. You get to know other cultures
Since centuries, knowing many languages and cultures have been an indicator of a person’s knowledge and intelligence. People labeled as “well-travelled” meant that they were wise and mindful, not to mention interesting companions with lots of exciting stories to tell. It’s important to know that being an intern in a foreign country is much different than being a tourist there. You will be much more immersed, you will not only experience hotels, touristic attractions and restaurants, but more the everyday life of the locals, including their habits, their customs, etc. You will become a true “insider”, which might mean that you gaining a new place that you can call your home.
5. You can learn languages
For the large majority of people, learning languages is a pesky and difficult task. They forget the words they learnt just minutes ago, they don’t see the point in learning outdated grammar rules (and they are probably right), etc. When you go on an internship, though, these problems are gone completely. Knowing the language of your destination country will be of real importance, and you will quickly learn how to ask for a bag in the supermarket if you have to carry your stuff in your hands once. You will also realise the importance of pronounciation and grammar when the bartender gives you something suspiciously green instead of the latte macchiato you thought you were asking for. Besides, there you can be completely sure that the word you just learnt is actually used by native speakers.
6. Build life-long cross-border connections
During your internship you will meet people who are not only from other countries, but also share your profession and/or interests (that’s why they work at the same company). Therefore, the friendships you make there can prove to be very fruitful to your future career in many different ways. You will find that it gives you great satisfaction, being sure that you can travel to many different countries, knowing that you have someone there who is more than ready to provide you food, accomodation, guidance, etc.
7. Learn about yourself
This may sound strange, but many of the people who do an internship abroad describe some sort of “enlightment”, which leads to them understanding their motivations and dreams in much better detail. Being dragged out from your “comfort zone” and finding yourself in a completely new and challenging situation can easily turn your internship into some sort of spiritual trip, after which you will understand yourself much better.
In many cases, doing an internship will do you a world of good, and will give you an experience that you cannot get in your home country, one that you will definitely never forget. At the end of your successful career you might just look back at your time abroad and think “yes, that was the experience that finally opened my eyes“.