Going on an internship project abroad is one of the best life experiences you can have. Living outside your safety net for a couple of months and choosing to learn more about a new country and your profession is a wonderful experience.
The fact that there are so many choices to consider can be a bit overwhelming, however. How can you possibly choose an internship program abroad and make sure that you made the best possible decision for you?
Your life goals
Internships that take you abroad are more than just professional experiences. The time you spend working or volunteering will only make the small part of the experience. Try incorporating your life goals into your internship choice. Where do you want to be in 20 years? How do you see yourself in 10 years? Are you traveling the world as a freelance agent or are you a corporate executive?
For example, going to a country such as Germany will help you develop a corporate mindset while traveling to Greece will help you be more free and confident. It’s the way people think in those countries that will affect you the most so don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith.
Your academic background
The college you are attending and the professional goals you have will likely influence your internship choice. You should know that traveling abroad for personal and professional development won’t be just for fun and games.
You will do some of your best work by being away from home and living in a different environment. Whatever academic background you have, you will easily find the right internships for you if you take a good look and prepare on time. It’s always a good idea to plan a few months ahead and get all the paperwork and recommendations sorted out.
Personal and professional skills
This is a double-edged example of how you should pick your internship. You should always apply for internships that require your specific set of skills but avoid the ones that look for different attributes that you personally don’t have. For example, if the internship requires a fluent Spanish speaker, think twice about applying if your Spanish is nowhere close to fluent. You can always have your writing checked and edited by Ultius Review if you have trouble with the application papers, giving you a good chance to check your writing skills in the process. This is a great example of how you can easily narrow down the internships to the ones that suit you the most.
Also, the internships will likely offer a number of skills that you can develop during your stay abroad. If you’ve always wanted to develop teamwork skills or 3D modeling skills with help from a mentor, apply for that internship. Combine the skills you have with the skills you want to have and you will quickly realize what internship is the best for you.
Dream country choice
It’s not a mistake to choose the internship country based on your personal wishes, regardless of the professional aspects of it. Keep in mind that you should be extra careful when doing so – some NGO’s and companies will specifically request people who are interested in working long hours and being present in the offices.
If this is not your kind of thing, you can always opt for a more relaxed volunteering opportunity and spend more time exploring and meeting new people. You can even choose an internship that’s based on human interaction and spend time having fun with people in camps or colonies around the world. The choice is up to you on whether you will choose the internship based on the country or the professional experience it offers.
When all is said and done, you can always consult experts on whether or not this particular internship is good for you. Talk to your professors, school counselor, parents and friends about the internships you are considering. Having an outside opinion is important, especially if you plan on traveling abroad with little to no information about what’s waiting for you.
Take every opinion into consideration and think about it objectively. Some people may have already traveled to those countries or they may have insight into everyday life there. You can spend as little money as possible by looking for tips and tricks on how to survive in different countries, where to eat or shop, etc. Plan your trip carefully, even if you have already narrowed down the country and internship of your choosing.
The truth is that no amount of preparation can prepare you for your internship abroad. The sheer feeling of stepping out of an airplane in order to spend months in a different country developing you is mesmerizing. It’s something that any college student or graduate should go through in order to experience something different and get a different perspective on the world.