I received a note from someone in Australia who said she graduated in 2006 and was thinking about going into a new career - she also mentioned wanting to potentially work in another country. She asked if internships were a potential solution for her situation. Here are my thoughts on the subject of professionals going back to internships to help them transition into new career paths or even new countries:
Internship Pros (After Graduation)
There is always value behind internships -regardless of the phase you are at within your career. Internships are going to show you things about a desired industry that you could never learn without actually being placed smack dab in the middle of that dream career. If you are unsure about a certain industry or really want to experience the day-to-day within that industry - internships are a great tool.
Internships can serve to put a "transitional item" on your resume. If you have irrelevant experience, an internship at a relevant company, can help your resume make sense to a potential employer in your desired field.
If you worry that you don't have contacts in a desired field, internships are definitely a great solution. Regardless of your age, if you can prove yourself helpful and reliable at your internship - you are going to gain the respect and trust of several executives that could potentially help you land your dream job.
Internship Cons (After Graduation)
Depending on the opportunity, an internship could provide a financial burden if you are used to getting a paycheck and don't have alternate means to support yourself. However, if you are in grad school or a stay-at-home mom thinking about transitioning back into the work force, this might not be an issue. Look for internship programs and entry-level training programs at your company of choice and look into the financial terms of the position. Remember, there are some great paid internships out there.
Internships take time. They aren't an overnight solution - and when transitioning into a new field - there really aren't any overnight solutions. An internship can be 8-12 weeks long, they do require time commitment and some serious dedication. This shouldn't be a decision you take lightly.
The big question here - is can you network your way to the position you want? Or do you need that internship? Before exploring the internship route, I'd encourage you to network with as many employers in your desired field as possible. It's never too late to connect with alumni from your school or in this case people from your country who are now working in the country that interests you. Sometimes reaching out to people who are 'from' the same place as you can be just as beneficial as reaching out to alumni or your college or university. Let them give you the answers. Ask them if they recommend an internship. Sometimes the decision of whether or not you should take on an internship depends on the specific company or industry.