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Value of International Internship

by Alison Lake

Depending on your area of study or professional field, an international internship can bring deep value to your future endeavors and help you achieve specific objectives in your career or education. An overseas internship can be more beneficial if it fits into your personal goals and brings tangible value by enhancing your knowledge, background, skill set and perspective. A planned versus impulse experience will likely bring the most pertinent value in the long term. This information will demonstrate the exact value of your internship and what you can gain.

When considering an international internship, evaluate your specific goals, your budget and timeline, what you can attain by the internship and how much support you will need while you are there. Whether you are in the browsing phase of locating an internship or have already chosen your destination, clarify your goals and what you hope to achieve during the project period. Possible values and benefits include foreign language development, enhancing your professional skills in a new environment and gaining cross-cultural experience, and adding to your resume.

Some overseas employers offer full support to interns, from room and board to professional and cultural assistance, while others might leave you to handle all of this on your own. Consider the unique environment of your country of interest, and what you can feasibly expect from your stay there in terms of professional or educational value. You might combine the job project with classes at a local university or institution, where tuition is often less costly than in the United States. Another value may be the opportunity to work on a project you care about and see it provide a tangible benefit to the country in the area of international development.

If you are applying to an international internship program, you should present your qualifications and what value you hope to bring to the employer or institution, such as unique experience and exchange of ideas from your home country and workplace. If you have received an offer for an internship, ask detailed questions about what the group will provide you in terms of value to your overall professional experience. Will you receive job training, language training, hands-on mentorship? A cultural introduction? All of these elements would be value-added for an internship.

Items you will need
  • Passport
  • Visa to destination, if necessary
  • Letter of permission from host, if necessary
  • Adequate funds for the duration of the trip
  • Airline ticket, if required
  • A place to reside while you are living there

Tips

  • 1. If your goal is to become fluent in a foreign language, then partial or complete immersion in that language is most effective.
  • 2. Determine expectations regarding your duties there, such as work hours and other responsibilities.
  • 3. Discover what benefits, if any, are available through the internship, such as health care, room and board, tourist activities and professional support.

About the Author

Alison Lake has been a journalist and editor since 2001, working with numerous newspapers and magazines. She has served on the world news desk of the "Washington Post" and contributed to The Atlantic, Foreign Policy Online, Al Jazeera English and GlobalPost.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images