What are the Benefits of an Internship Abroad?

Daily inspiration and advice for the ambitious savvy young professional

What are the Benefits of an Internship Abroad?

Caroline is an Intern Queen Guest Blogger from Appalachian State University. She graduated last year.

To France with Purpose! That has become my mantra these days. As a recent graduate of Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, a school with a definite bent toward international travel, I possess an insatiable curiosity for other cultures. When brainstorming what to do post-college, traveling overseas seemed to be a no-brainer. It was with that stipulation that I started my search process.

In August I will be moving to France for at least a year to intern with an international ministry. The job description couldn’t be more perfect for how I am wired, and I can already see the many ways this experience will be instrumental to my growth as an individual and professional.

Speaking more than one language is an incredible advantage, and there is no better way to learn than immersion. As a public relations non-profit major, it is essential that I possess the ability to connect with my audience and properly understand my community. English is a universal language, but having another language under your belt can be an unbelievable asset. To be able to reach people where they are comfortable often bears more weight than we realize.

Especially in majors such as international business, journalism or government studies, time spent in other countries can be very beneficial in achieving a sense of how global and interdependent our world is. With travel comes a deeper understanding of the important differences each culture brings to society, the economy and the other countries they interact with. International internships and jobs also allow you to break outside the daily cycle of learning “the American way” from Americans. It offers you the chance to learn different approaches to completing the tasks your job calls for. From that you can determine the best option and then gain experience from implementing it.

Lastly, I am a firm believer in the idea that there are sometimes intangible, but always invaluable, lessons to be learned from putting yourself outside of your comfort zone. It could be as complex as realizing aspects of foreign government, schooling or business that you want to learn from or as simple as realizing the importance family plays in other cultures.  Staying stateside can often be simpler and easier than interning overseas. If you do a quick cost-benefit analysis though, I think you will find that the latter has the potential to far outweigh the former.

If this resonates and you have the interest, time and drive, I challenge you to pursue it! Yes, it can be scary. Yes, you won’t know very many people, if any, at first. But how often is the best (and most rewarding) road easy?

To France with Purpose,

Caroline Reeb

Need a place to start? Simply Google “international internships” and you will be amazed at the resources readily available to you. I would love to hear from you: carolinereeb.com