You get to be way more hands-on as an intern abroad.“What will I do as an intern abroad?” is truly one of our favorite questions to answer, so we’re glad you stopped by! While many people view internships as sort of a “light” way to get work experience, this couldn’t be further from the truth—especially for international interns. What used to be basically optional job shadowing and assisting on easy tasks is now a prerequisite for any type of solid career path.
Working full-time for a summer or semester at a global business plus living abroad, also known as interning abroad, truly makes for an unbelievable adventure. With all the hustle and bustle of working and exploring, really the question is...what don’t interns do abroad?
What don’t interns do?
Interns abroad aren’t bored, that’s for sure. You won’t be sitting around in a cubicle waiting for someone to give you a menial task or send you on a pointless errand. At the same time, you are an intern, so you won’t exactly be leading corporate take-overs or overseeing major projects. More or less the global expectation for interns is that you can provide some type of service or skill (including, probably, foreign language skills!) that can help the company, but overall, you are there to learn. Most employers recognize that you have something of substance to offer but aren’t ready to be totally left to fend for yourself. Don’t sweat!
Beyond the day-to-day, what does an intern do? You definitely won’t be bored to tears—we promise that you’ll be so wrapped up in getting to know your co-workers and exploring all of the excitement around you that your time abroad will fly by! Working abroad is different from studying abroad in that you most likely won’t have to spend a lot of your free time studying, so you’ll have weekends and other off-the-clock time to venture to new areas!
[What do interns do? Get matched with programs and find out.]
So then, what do interns do?
In a nutshell, interns can do anything. Gone are the days of interns only being there to fetch coffee and take conference call minutes. Nowadays, most companies recognize that just because you’re young doesn’t mean you’re worthless, and offer their interns actual projects to accomplish and meaningful ways to get involved. This is particularly true for specialized fields...the more skills you have, the more you can contribute to your internship employer!
The typical workday can vary from intern to intern depending on the type of work and employer, but all interns can expect to have expectations set for them and to work hard to accomplish them. If a manager from halfway across the world is taking a chance on you, then it’s time to impress them! Beyond the 9-to-5, a lot of internships placements include extracurriculars within the field, such as tradeshows and events or even some travel opportunities, so get yourself involved in anything you can.
Which leads us to the next, and perhaps most important question: What do interns do to make the most of their experience abroad? There are a few key ways to maximize the learning potential of your internship—and this video outlines all of ‘em.
What can YOU do as an intern abroad?
1. Help Pick Between Fabric Samples in Paris
Does the world of runways, couture, and Vogue excite you? Head to the fashion capital of the world with Fashion Week Internships! Based in Paris, this provider is the only specialist fashion industry internship provider and offers placements with leading brands, designers, retailers, and event companies from around the world. Placements are available year-round and offer interns an up-close look at one of the largest (and most fun!) industries.
2. Gather Data on Adorable Sea Turtles in Costa Rica
Calling all Dr. Dolittle wannabes! Help the sea turtle world by participating in an internship through Global Nomadic! While most sea turtle conservation efforts focus on nesting environments, this program focuses on in-water habitat studies and collecting data population structure, genetic origin, and in-water habitat use. You will also be part of a team running a rescue and rehab center, so get ready to hang with some turtles up-close!
- Browse all marine conservation internships abroad
3. Promote Travel and Plan Itineraries for Visitors in Dublin
Are you a travel fiend and the go-to person for planning all of your friends’ vacations? Why not turn this into a job? ELI Abroad offers tourism and hospitality internship placements in beautiful and exciting Dublin, where interns get custom placements in tourism marketing firms, visitor information centers, and tourist offices around the city. No better way to become immersed in a new city than by marketing it!
4. Speak Up for Those in Need in Barcelona
Become the next Elle Woods with a law internship abroad! Connect-123 offers law placements in sunny Barcelona, where interns can pick between working at a human rights agency, law office, legal center, or public policy organization throughout the city and surrounding area.
While you obviously need to be a lawyer to give any type of legal advice, interns can develop legal skills by researching human rights legislation, assisting paralegals and advocates, and working at legal aid clinics.
5. Take Care of Business in Beijing
Does the Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates lifestyle appeal to you? Time to get your foot in the business door with an internship abroad! Go Abroad China offers paid (yes, you heard us right) internships all over the global business hub of Beijing. With over 600 partnerships and 2,000 internship placements to choose from, business interns are sure be matched with a great company and come away with solid work experience. Whether your style is more Don Draper or Michael Scott, a business internship in China is sure to help you climb that corporate ladder!
6. Design for the Future in Australia
Are you both right and left-brained and intrigued by mash-ups of the art and science worlds? Sounds like you’re destined to be an architect! World Internships offers architecture internships in both Sydney and Melbourne, which are both unique environments to study building design given the new and developing scenes. This provider places interns in architecture firms and design agencies all over both cities to assist with modeling, designing, and client relations.
Architecture is more than just designing visually-appealing buildings...it’s combining human emotion and practicality to create spaces that are both functional and evocative. So, if you want to develop skills on both sides of the fence in an up-and-coming region, get an architecture internship down under!
7. Document South American Life in Buenos Aires
Do you have an eye for capturing the beauty in life and feel most comfortable with a camera in your hands? Connect-123 offers photography and videography internships in “the Paris of the South”, Buenos Aires! Interns are placed with leading design agencies, production companies, documentary filmmakers, multimedia studios, or newspapers throughout the city to document various aspects of porteño life.
The opportunities range from providing production assistance to marketing and advertising activities, and there are even options to train local journalism students and disadvantaged youth life behind the lens.
8. Engineer Worldwide Solutions and Innovations in South Africa
Calling all engineers across all disciplines! VACorps offers customizable engineering internship placements throughout South Africa with top firms. With the South African economy growing at a rapid rate and continued work that needs to be done, all types of engineers are needed now more than ever.
This provider will work with you to place you in the best discipline, including robotics, nuclear, sustainable/environmental, mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering, among other disciplines.
9. Bake Your Way Through the Middle East in Tel Aviv
Do you dream of spending your days baking up culinary masterpieces and becoming the next Julia Child? Intern at a bakery in Israel! GoEco offers placements at a vegan bakery in the bustling beach city of Tel Aviv, where interns will spend their days learning the ins and outs of the kitchen while running a successful business in a big city.
Even if you aren’t vegan, any kitchen pro needs to learn food substitutions and making interesting (and yummy!) alternatives for common food groups, especially meat and dairy. The highlight of the experience is definitely making vegan chocolate...chocolate is chocolate, no matter the dairy count!
[Save and compare internships with MyGoAbroad]
Next steps to intern abroad
Once you’ve decided that you want to intern abroad and have a vague idea of what to pursue, it’s time to do some narrowing down! Head to the below resources to help you pick a program...and ultimately pay for it!
- Use MyGoAbroad to read reviews and compare programs side-by-side
- Utilize our Online Advisors to get matched with your dream program fo’ free
- Once you pick a program, head to FundMyTravel to crowdfund your internship
- Check out for student travel discounts
- Get the 411 (and then some!) on internship programs
- Prepare for the lessons you’ll learn from your overseas internship
- Watch the video on how to make any internship abroad an amazing experience!
- Pack your bags and GO!
So, what will you do?
Interning abroad is one of the best things you can do for your future. We guarantee that between your time actually working and your free time spent living in and exploring a foreign country, you will return home with tons of new professional and personal skills. You should never have to wonder what you’ll do abroad as an intern...we promise that you’ll be so wrapped up in the excitement once you arrive that you’ll never have time to think it!