How can I intern abroad?
Internships overseas are an excellent opportunity to test the waters in your chosen career path while experiencing life in a culture that’s vastly different from the one you’ve been confined to for your entire life. An internship abroad is also a strong addition to your resume, demonstrating to a potential employer that you have a more rounded work experience, know how to adapt to diverse work environments, and possibly even speak multiple languages. All qualities that are highly desirable, to say the least, thanks to your internship abroad.
These are a few of the reasons why interning abroad is BFD. But you probably already knew that because you have come to GoAbroad looking to find out just exactly how you can find internships overseas.
Okay, then let’s skip ahead a few spaces and get to the good stuff. You know that you want and need to an internship abroad, but maybe something you’re not quite sure is the best way to get an internship abroad.
A simple Google search probably sent you into a tizzy after being overwhelmed with such a plethora of options. So we are here to tell you what’s what and help you navigate which path to take to your internship abroad. Here are the most popular ways to intern abroad and dazzle your resume!
6 of the best ways to intern abroad
There are many ways to go landing dream global internships. You’ve probably figured out there are some faster ways, slower ways, cheaper ways, and more expensive ways, but no matter what—they are all forward ways. You just have to choose which one best suits your needs. So without further ado, here are six of the best ways to get an internship abroad:
1. With a provider
A program provider is a great place to start when deciding which is the right way to your internship abroad. A provider can take all of your info (expertise, preferred countries, duration, etc.) and then spit out the best matches for you. You can trust them to ensure that the companies in their network are legit and adhere to certain standards. In some cases, they’ll also assist with negotiating your contract, pair you up with an in-country coordinator, help you find accommodation, and provide general help to ease the process of settling into a new country and workplace. The services offered vary widely so be sure to do your research and read the program reviews.
- Pros: It’s one of the easiest ways to find an internship abroad. Plus, GoAbroad is an expert in helping you find a provider. You’re already in the right place!
- Cons: This option is pricier than finding an internship independently, but can often be quicker and more effective because placement providers already know where to look for internships. So the cost is usually justified by all the extra support they give you.
- Recommended internship program: Connect-123
- More info: The 411 on Internship Programs, How to Find the Perfect Program Provider for Your Internship Abroad
2. Through your university
You may be surprised by how much your university can help you find global internships. Many universities organize global internships through their study abroad office, or work with organizations that do. They will likely be impressed by your ambition, and they might be able to pull some strings and help you out, or at least point you in the right direction. You never know, maybe there’s an alumnus of your university living in your host city who can arrange an internship for you, or a known company that has a history of hosting interns in the past.
- Pros: As a member of a huge network of career development professionals, an advisor at your university most likely has the inside scoop on the best opportunities. It’s all who you know!
- Cons: Remember that an advisor’s job is to advise you to finish college. Don’t be surprised if they throw some heat your way to make sure you aren’t going to leave and never return.
- More info: Internships Abroad for College Students Who Need Dat Credit
3. Direct application to work with an international company
This is the DIY route to finding an internship abroad. If you embark on the DIY route, the hardest part is, well, doing it yourself. The first step is to brainstorm some companies. When you’re doing research, try to stick with looking into smaller companies, as your chances of getting an internship are much higher. There are lots of small companies who are looking for talented, motivated young interns, and often they will tend to be more generous both in terms of payment and in the attention they give you.
- Pros: Working at a smaller company gives you specialized attention and the top dogs are often not only in the same building, but possibly in the office just steps away from yours. Plus, you will be more than just a gofer.
- Cons: This route is a lot of work on your end. The only thing stopping you from getting a great internship abroad this way is yourself.
- Recommended internship: GoAbroad Marketing Internships in the Philippines
- More info: Top Destinations for Internship Programs Abroad; 16 Top Internships for 2018-2019
4. Get an internship with a multinational corporation
Multinational companies have internships available in offices worldwide and they often like to have a good mix of local and international hires to maintain an international work environment. Whether it’s in conventional business-related fields such as marketing, retail, finance, or sales, or working for NGOs and nonprofits in areas like community development, you might find an opportunity with an organization that has international operations. The simplest way to do this is to make a list of companies you’re interested in and fill out online applications so that all of your information is in their database. When a suitable opportunity arises, recruitment managers first look at the candidates in their system.
- Pros: It’s free!
- Cons: It can take a looong time. Typically, you’d be expected to fill out applications two to three months in advance from the date the internship begins. Some organizations might open up applications for a certain time period, so keep an eye out for the dates.
- More info: Things to Consider Before Interning Abroad, 12 Paid Summer Internships for College Students
There are many cases where global internships can really be more like volunteer work or volunteer work can be more of an internship. Either way, talk a humbling opportunity to serve and learn at the same time. Ways to these global internships that harness your desire to help others will still help you gain those valuable skills and spiffy lines for your resume, but the primary motivator is to make the world a better place.
- Pros: You will actually get to make a difference in your internship. Instead of just making the coffee, you could end up being an intern/volunteer on a sustainable coffee plantation and be the one actually growing the coffee.
- Cons: Unfortunately, not everyone has the same good intentions that you do. While most organizations are truly working to benefit their communities and ensure that volunteers have the most positive experience possible, there are some bad apples out there that will be happy to take your money and never look back. It is becoming increasingly common for scammers to take advantage of eager, unsuspecting applicants. Before throwing your money into a dead end opportunity, do your research and know how to spot a scam.
- Recommended volunteer program provider: Kaya Responsible Travel
- More info: 5 Inspiring Reasons to Volunteer Abroad, The Difference Between Volunteering & Interning Abroad
6. While doing another program
If you’re already living abroad as a student, teacher, expat, etc., you can find ways to intern in your international community. Talk two birds with one stone. The best way to go this is keep your ear to the ground. Ask your coworkers, students, friends, or anyone who might constitute a relevant or who will listen to your plea to be an overachiever to see if they have any leads for you. Reach out and let them know what you are looking for and ask for help. If you don’t have any useful s for the industry you’ve got your eye on, create some.
- Pros: You’re already there. You’re abroad. The first and hardest step is complete! Now you have the chance to REALLY maximize your time abroad by doubling up with an internship—bonus points if it aligns with the other program you’re completing.
- Cons: How will you ever be able to fit all your juicy international experience on one resume page?! #meaningfultravelerproblems
- More info: Magical Places Where You Can Intern and Study Abroad, Habits That Will Make You the Best International Intern They’ve Ever Had
Next steps to finding ways to intern abroad + more resources
Did any of those paths look particularly enticing? Yes? No? Maybe so? Whether you’ve honed in on one way to find an internship abroad or if you still need a little extra guidance, check out the next steps to finding ways to intern abroad:
- For customized advice on internships abroad, including FREE program matches based on your goals and preferences, check out GoAbroad’s Online Advisor.
- Read this article on How to Prepare for Interning Abroad.
- Check out this how-to guide on Paying for Internships Abroad.
- Download the free ebook loaded with first time internship abroad advice that will get you hired.
- Watch this video on how to make any internship abroad an amazing experience.
Armed with these tools, you will be headed to your first day of work as an intern abroad in no time!
Global internships will expand your worldview
Are you feeling more confident in beginning the search for your dream internships overseas? Good! Often, the task of finding a way to intern abroad can seem intimidating before you’ve even begun, but when you approach it in small steps and bite off little pieces at a time, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier than you thought. The best way to get an internship abroad is to know your options, know what you want, and to find the program that fulfills both.
Let us leave you with one last piece of sage advice for your future intern self. Use your imagination and be innovative when finding ways towards your internship abroad! This list is by no means exhaustive. We already know you’re a think-outside-the-box type so don’t let us box you in. Do what you gotta do to land that dream internship abroad! You’ve got this.