It’s no secret that I’m fascinated by interculturalism and cross-cultural communication. I have not only among others studied it at university, however, I’ve also made sure to practice it in real life by relocating to foreign cultures. One of my abroad stays that has made a tremendous impression on me was my internship in Dublin, Ireland. Of course, any relocation abroad makes a lasting impression on you, however, working in an intercultural environment abroad is quite a unique experience. As such, this blog post concerns a reflection on my own experience and presents you with 10 reasons why to intern abroad.
1) Explore a Foreign Country and its Culture
By interning abroad, not only will you have the opportunity to explore a new country and its culture, no you’ll do it from the inside – so to speak. By working with locals (maybe even in an intercultural setting), you have the opportunity to dig deep and immerse yourself in a new culture on a much deeper level than other types of abroad programmes offer. If the work place, furthermore, is intercultural, you have the possibility to discuss the culture’s norms and believes from an international angle. As such, working as an intern abroad not only provides you with an understanding for a foreign country and its culture, however, also its work environment(s) and the social norms linked to this.
2) Develop Global Perspective and Understanding
When you live in a foreign country, you automatically acquire insight into its culture from various perspectives. As a result, you gain a broader view of current (international) events and/or situations as well as your field of study and the concept of a work environment – both professionally and personally. This insight leads to understanding, which gives you perspective. This will most likely help you to view future challenges (and opportunities) differently and solve problems from a different aspect than what you’re used to.
3) Improve Language Skills
If you move to a foreign country, you’ll have the opportunity to improve your language skills and become more confident in speaking the foreign language in question. Furthermore, if you’ll be working at an intercultural work place, you’ll also have the possibility to learn other foreign languages that your colleagues speak. And let’s face it: Living in an increasingly international and intercultural world, the ability to speak multiple languages will make you more marketable to future employers.
4) Theoretical vs. Practical Knowledge
An internship abroad is the all time opportunity to gain some practical insight, understanding and experience in theories linked to your studies. In other words, you’ll have the possibility to use the skills you’ve been taught in the classroom in a real-world setting. As such, it’s a chance to prove the worth of your qualifications, turn theory into practice and show your employee as well as yourself that you can perform in the role you’ve been given and the future role you strive for.
5) Try Out a Possible Career
Like me, you might have various and different ideas of a future career. Hence, an internship presents you with the perfect opportunity to try out a possible career. Moreover, as internships are generally short-term, they allow you to test a career (or an industry) without committing to it.
6) Valuable Work Experience
Even if you eventually choose not to pursue the career you test in your internship, an internship will add valuable work experience to your CV. Upon graduation, hands on experience within your field of studies will no doubt give you a head start, as you’ll have practical and not just theoretical experience within your field.
7) Networking Opportunity
What better way to meet people within your field of studies than through an internship!? Even if you have relevant work experience, knowing people in the industry never hurts when chasing a career. Therefore, an internship might give you relevant contacts within the industry you’re trying to break into and end up helping you get a job after graduation. If not, references from people in the industry will definitely add weight to your application.
8) Transition into a Job
Some companies perceive interns as prospective employees. As a result, if you do a good job during your internship and leave with a good impression, your intern company might be interested in hiring you full time after graduation because you’ve already proven your worth and know the company.
9) Personal Growth and Development
By now, there’s no doubt that an internship will gain professional value. However, an internship will definitely also gain personal value. Because, during the months you intern, you learn much about yourself as a student, co-worker and, ultimately, person – not to forget…
10) An Experience You’ll Never Forget
Living abroad is an experience you’ll never forget – for good and bad. You don’t only grow and develop as a person, gain cultural insight and understanding, get to travel around the country and meet new friends, no you also have a lot of different experiences linked to various aspects of your new life abroad. …Yes, it’s not just good for your CV.
So… What are you waiting for? There are so many good things to gain from an internship abroad. …Maybe you’ve already undertaken an internship abroad? So you may agree with my ten reasons why to go abroad to intern? Maybe you have other good reasons to do it? Please, feel free to share.