Jenny was once an intern but then went on to launch a Telegraph International career after finding a position on their job board. Jen now shares her career tips as a freelance writer.
Launching Your Career: Have You Considered an Internship Abroad?
As much of the world struggles to recover from a lingering recession, employment opportunities are scarce these days. For students and recent graduates without hands-on experience, the situation is particularly discouraging. After years of school, countless young people finally emerge into the job market, only to find that their hard earned degrees mean little when competing for positions against those with years of industry experience. Many employers simply can’t afford to give new employees the training they lack, especially when there is a long line of applicants already capable of doing the job. Unfortunately, it seems the first rung on the employment ladder is all too often the hardest one to reach. Yet as bleak as the situation may seem, young professionals nonetheless have many viable opportunities for kick starting their careers. So if you are struggling to join the workforce and put your education to use, it might be time to consider an internship abroad. Here’s why:
Internships are an investment for the future. Internships are an opportunity to acquire skills and industry experience that can’t be found in a classroom. They are designed to provide a low-impact job introduction and facilitate a smooth transition into the workforce. Internships help graduates skip the entry-level positions they would otherwise be forced to endure, and jump directly into the advanced careers their educations prepared them for.
We Live in a Globalized World
Although there are many internship opportunities at home, international programs are particularly valuable for young professionals today. The world is more closely connected than ever before, and getting smaller every day. So businesses in all industries are eager to expand their influence into the global marketplace, and want employees who can work on an international level. Working abroad shows employers that you are prepared to help them expand across borders and around the world.
Expand Your Horizons
But overseas internships are more than mere resume builders. They also help individuals grow by exposing them to ideas, cultures, and professional interests that are unavailable at home. Travel expands horizons, helps clarify goals, and provides invaluable perspective on things most of us take for granted.
Go Where the Jobs Are
Skills are only valuable when they are in demand. At home, young people often compete with countless others who possess identical qualifications. But in other countries, these same skills are rare and highly valued. By expanding your job search internationally, it is possible to find incredible opportunities that simply don’t exist at home.
Those who intern abroad are much more versatile workers. They learn new languages, acquire rare skills, and learn to adapt to unusual conditions.
There are many options for those looking to intern abroad. Some programs offer paid positions; others are unpaid but provide educational credits, training, and language courses; and some even charge fees, while providing interns with a wide range of services, amenities, and professional training. The type of program that is best for you will depend on a number of factors. Are you still in school? Have you already graduated? Do you want to contribute to an NGO or charity organization? Are you pursuing a post-graduate degree in conjunction with the internship?
In any case, the web is the best place to start your internship search. Begin by narrowing down your professional interests, and then consider what country you want to live in, and finally learn as much as possible about the various options available. Many programs are university affiliated, so it is helpful to check with counselors at your institution while researching your options. Just remember to keep your ultimate professional goals in mind when selecting a position. While many programs will give you an invaluable leg up when launching a career, others are less professional, and some might even be outright scams. So take care in the job hunt, make the most of your opportunity, and happy travels!