When it comes to making the decision between an internship abroad vs study abroad, the only constant you may have is your desire to travel abroad. The finer details of which is better for your career prospects may not be known to you yet, and you’re hoping this blog has all the answers (we do too).
The best part about this whole conundrum, is the fact that you’re researching your options and starting to take action with your future! Comparing an internship vs study abroad opportunity isn’t like comparing Apple vs Samsung, but more like a comparison between booking a flight in business class or economy. Either option would get you from A to B, but your choice will impact the journey and experience along the way, and that makes all the difference!
Before we discover what makes an internship abroad so beneficial, it may first be comforting to know just how common travel abroad is to further your academic goals and ultimately your career prospects. In the academic year 2016/17 a total of 332,655 U.S. students studied abroad for academic credit.
This is a number that continues to grow, and doesn’t even tap into the (just as large) number of students who travel abroad for non credit bearing internship or study abroad opportunities every year. As students just like you, seek an experience that allows you to broaden your cultural intelligence, see the world, explore fields of passion, and track toward career goals.
In the current professional environment, which has such high demands, it can be daunting to commit to a career path you have no real experience in. It can even be challenging to equip yourself adequately, for a future job market that’s continually evolving. You’re not alone if this is your current situation, The National Center for Education Statistics reported that 21.6% of U.S. undergraduate students are undecided about their college major and 75% of college students change their undergraduate major at least once.
By having the ability to travel abroad and ‘test the waters’ as such, you can learn a great deal about your potential career path and navigate your way through the noise and ultimately hone in on your passion.
We’ve established that it’s common for students to travel abroad for study and we know that settling on a career path can be difficult. Now let’s see why an internship abroad can get you closer to your ideal career path. For the visual learners amongst us, here are the key skills and focus an internship abroad can provide:
Real World Experience vs Classroom Experience
Potentially the quality that ultimately separates an internship abroad from studying abroad the most, is the ability to gain real world experience, above and beyond the classroom.
It can feel like you’re in a perpetual state of learning (this is still a good thing), but sometimes you need the opportunity to think on your feet, problem solve and build real relationships, like only hands on experience can provide. It’s the personal challenges and unfamiliarity of situations that allows us to grow and it’s central to an internship abroad.
Study abroad still gives you the benefit of a new learning environment, opportunity to change your perspective and experience cultural immersion. However, a classroom in a foreign country may restrict you in the same nature your classroom at home does. We want you to put that that classroom learning into real world experience!
A big part of the real world experience that international internships offer, is living and working like a local. This can even include brushing up on second language skills, which are always impressive on a resume. You’re already familiar with a college schedule, so dive right in to unfamiliar territory and learn new skills on the job. You’ll be dining with the locals, sharing in the exchange of knowledge, and navigating around the city before you know it.
Network With Professionals vs Network With Peers
They say that the richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work. So what does that mean in the context of an internship or study abroad?
Often in study we can become complacent in our work ethic and it’s all too easy to sit back and be spoon fed the next piece of information. Being a student offers the opportunity to form lifelong friendships and get a lot of enjoyment out of having a social life with like-minded peers, with whom you share many common interests and experiences. However, there is a time we need to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and known networks, to learn to get along with people that we wouldn’t ordinarily spend time with. Often, the best social, cultural, and communicative skills can be forged through collaborating with colleagues who bring differing ideas and points of view to the table.
An internship abroad offers the opportunity to build professional networks and gain mentors within your chosen career field. By stepping outside the classroom, there is opportunity to grow through the unfamiliarity, while developing resilience, adaptability and work ethic. Don’t worry though, we will guide you through the process and match you to your in-country placement organization, to ensure you’re also supported locally by an appropriate mentor or supervisor, to facilitate your professional growth and networking.
What does it mean at the end of the day? We’re all different, some of us seek friendships, some of us seek professional relationships and some of us seek both. An internship is the perfect middle ground and one that has a lasting effect on your confidence, self-awareness, and future job prospects.
Flexible Schedule vs Academic Calendar
Deadlines, deadlines and more deadlines. This is a cycle that goes hand in hand with an academic calendar - one that can either have you left with a tonne of time on your hands, or have you running around campus like a lunatic, trying to hand your paper in on time.
The beauty of an internship abroad vs study abroad is the flexibility that comes with it. With shorter time commitments and the ability to intern year round, we provide flexible start dates and a break away from the academic calendar. It can truly be taken on your own terms and fit in with your life schedule, whether you’re free to intern for just 2 weeks, or up to 3 months (if not longer!).
The benefit of an internship and study abroad, is that they both allow you to earn course credit. The real difference is whether you’d like to do it on your own time or within the academic calendar. There is no right or wrong answer, but we find the flexibility has been a key driver for interns in the past.
Professional Independence vs Academic Dependance
Whether you’re just starting your college degree or counting down toward graduation, the one thing looming over you is the impending pressure to put your right foot forward to ensure the best career decisions. But how can you make this decision if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into?
Internships allow you to immerse yourself in your career field and enable you to make inform decisions on your future study and career paths. By breaking away from academic dependance you can gain independence and establish your professional identity.
Some of us crave the structure and boundaries that college instills in us, however, at some point you need to find your own work habits and professional decorum. Simply going abroad can be enough to kickstart some of us, whereas others thrive in a professional environment where we can gain autonomy.
Traveling for an internship abroad or study abroad is a once in a lifetime experience! Both can provide you with tangible growth, as you look towards your career prospects, however it is the professional experience that truly sets an internship apart.
Apply online first. The application process is non-obligatory and free.
After applying, you’ll receive more details on how to confirm your internship. All the internship fees can be reviewed online.
To confirm, you need to register first. Our registration fee of US$299 enables us to plan your specific internship and provide ongoing pre-departure support.
Once you’re registered, the countdown to your internship begins - we can help you book affordable flights for your internship and beyond!