Studying abroad while in college can seem daunting for many reasons. The cost of living outside of the country on a college student’s budget while leaving the nest can seem like a big deterrent. However, you shouldn’t let that scare you away from the experience of a lifetime. Not only can it be a lifechanging experience, but it can really launch your career. Here are some ways taking an internship abroad can benefit you in the long run.
You’ll develop cross-cultural skills and sensitivity.
While you’re studying abroad, having an internship will give you the chance to work with local employees. Working with locals (and more than likely those who don’t speak English, or don’t speak it well), you will be able to learn a lot from those in that workplace as well as outside of it. Moving forward, when you’re applying for your first job post-grad, many job postings request cross-cultural skills as a key job requirement. This gives you a good leg up!
You’ll show your versatility and willingness to try new things.
Living and working in a foreign country will likely be very different than living and working in America. The environments are sure to be different, but having the experience of both shows your flexibility and ability to adapt to any environment. Two very important skills that employers often will look for when you’re applying for a new job.
You’ll learn transferable skills.
While the internship you take abroad may not directly relate to your future job, the skills you learn on the job may still be transferrable. Skills like written and oral communication skills and critical thinking that allow you to have experience going in to the workforce. Plus, it shows initiative that you took the time to work while studying and living abroad – a quality that is very attractive to recruiters.
A show of your independence.
Going abroad definitely requires a level of independence that is admired in the workplace. The dedication to the program that comes with finding a place to live, getting the required paperwork together, and determining your method of travel shows a strong ability to function in intimidating situations on your own.
The opportunity to network.
While interning abroad you’ll be able to build an international network of contacts and people who can provide recommendations and references. You may even secure a lead for a job abroad in the future.
You’ll gain valuable experience in your field.
If you already have an idea of what you want to do post grad, then you can find an internship abroad that speaks to that. This will give you practical experience to take with you to the job hunt. Employers are even more likely to hire someone with at least some experience, however brief, over someone who has no experience at all.
You’ll gain new skills.
Maybe you haven’t figured out exactly what you want to do after graduation. That’s okay too because interning abroad gives you the avenue to try something new. This will allow you to learn new skills and find a career suited for you that you may not have originally thought of or considered.
Increase your language proficiency.
Maybe you’ve studied a language for years and feel fairly confident in your abilities. Take it to the next level by immersing yourself in that language in that country. You’ll learn even more vocabulary and dialogue. From learning how to communicate with customers to engaging in conversations with your colleagues, your language proficiency will only grow and benefit you when looking for a job abroad. Plus, you can continue to learn a new language with BRIC – our online language learning program provides a unique learning experience that can help you succeed in your career.
Stand out from your competition.
By taking an internship abroad, you ensure you’ll stand out among your competitors who may have not taken that opportunity.