Interning abroad is an excellent way to get experience in the professional sector that you wish to work in upon returning home. Here are our top 10 reasons why you should intern abroad:
1. Build Cross-Cultural Communication Skills
Perhaps you desire to intern in a country with a language different from your own. Or, perhaps the country you want to go to speaks the same language with different sayings and expressions. Either way, interning abroad will build your cross-cultural communication skills. Being able to collaborate across cultures will enable you to speak more fluidly no matter where or with whom you work with.
2. Have a Competitive Advantage when Job Searching
Interning abroad gives you a very distinct experience to discuss when job searching. Highlight your experience when going into interviews-this is bound to give you a competitive advantage over other job seekers due to the skillsets you learn when abroad.
3. Become an Expert Storyteller
Storytelling is becoming a popular soft skill that employers look for in the workplace. Being able to tell a story with a set of data, an executive summary, or a presentation is crucial to help other people understand the big picture for the business. Learn to be a storyteller by utilising your newfound cross-cultural communication skills and overall experiences from your time abroad.
4. Diminish Stereotypes
The world is full of stereotypes. What better way to diminish stereotypes than to spend your own time meeting people and coming to your own conclusions about peoples and cultures by interning abroad. Oftentimes you will find that the stereotypes are not applicable. By interning abroad, you are spending time with people in their daily lives. This provides a different perspective than if you were just to visit on holiday.
5. Celebrate New Traditions
When interning abroad, you might be missing a national holiday or celebration back home. The flip side to this coin is that you will likely be in-country for some of your host country’s holidays. Rather than focusing on what you may be missing, celebrate the new traditions you are getting to take part in during your time abroad. Simultaneously learn and teach one another your holiday traditions, actively engaging in festivities. Perhaps throw a friendsgiving or ugly-sweater holiday party with your international community. This will also help combat any homesickness you’re feeling.
6. Hone your Time (Zone) Management Skills
The world is made up of many different time zones. While you may not give them much thought at home, interning abroad will make you increasing aware of time zones and overall time management. You will need to be cognisant of opening business hours where you are interning, rather than the hours in your home country. If you want to keep in touch with family and friends back home, you will have to learn to calculate the difference in time zones so neither party wakes each other up in the middle of the night. Too, you may be interning in a business that has physical locations in more than one time zone. This may require you to create calendar invites across multiple time zones or account for time change when travelling. Be prepared and research your new time zone before embarking on your internship.
7. Live in the Present
Many people have life-long dreams of traveling abroad. By interning abroad, you are able to fulfill both a dream of going abroad while at the same time gaining vital experience to further your long-term professional goals. Do not take the opportunity to intern abroad for granted-live in the present, grateful for the experience and the ability to see the world at this age and stage of your life.
8. Boost your Confidence
Spending time abroad requires an overall higher confidence level than when spending time at home. You must be able to manage travel plans, navigate new cities and adjust to different transportation systems. Interning abroad will help boost your overall confidence as you learn to successfully adapt to these changes.
9. Experience Non-Tourist Sight Seeing
If you’re doing an internship abroad, chances are you are working with colleagues who are local to the area. Ask them for advice on where to visit while you are abroad-chances are they will recommend things that locals enjoy! This provides you with an amazing opportunity to see other parts of the country that aren’t normally known for being tourist spots.
10. Increase your Aptitude for Adaptability
Adaptability is another soft skill that is being sought out in job candidates. Interning abroad will teach you to be both an adaptable and flexible individual. A new office environment, new customs and new business etiquette rules will all create a more adaptable you when returning home. Play to this new strength in interviews.