If you’re a college student, you probably know that undertaking a study abroad experience for credit is an important rite of passage toward graduation and career readiness. But sadly, study abroad programs are inaccessible to most students due to their extortionate cost, with minority students especially underrepresented.
Employers increasingly favor job candidates who have international experience, so it’s important to find a way to gain it!
Is there a flexible, affordable, and accessible alternative to study abroad programs for students who want to develop their employability and gain international career experience?
Enter: international internships!
How is interning abroad similar to studying abroad?
Internships abroad are similar in nature to study abroad programs and deliver a range of benefits for students and graduates. Similarities include:
- Structured programs, which are fully supported and include local accommodation
- You are exposed to cultural immersion that builds confidence and character
- You experience working practices and approaches that are different to your home country
- Flexible course credit options are available to ensure students meet academic goals
- The experience looks fantastic on a resume and builds a strong professional network
Advantages of an international internship over study abroad programs:
Interning abroad offers many advantages that make it a more comprehensive and affordable alternative to studying abroad. For example, Intern Abroad HQ’s international internship programs allow you to:
- Get outside the classroom and gain real-world experience
- Test drive a potential career choice
- Choose a shorter duration experience that reduces the cost
- Access a much more diverse variety of destinations than study abroad programs
- Design an internship placement around your specific needs, interests, and goals
- Add flexible course credit options to fulfill academic criteria
- Develop your cultural awareness and global connections
1. Get outside the classroom and gain real-world experience
The greatest difference between an internship abroad and studying abroad is the ability to gain real world experience in a professional work context that goes above and beyond the classroom. This will strengthen your resume, help you develop practical career skills, and help you stand out in college or job applications.
“You are going to learn a lot more about yourself and your career goals by being hands on, than in a 4-year degree hiding behind a textbook!” - Nathan Lirenman (Physical Therapy intern in Spain, 4 weeks)
2. Test drive a potential career choice
Before committing to college applications and expensive study programs, an internship lets you test your enjoyment of an anticipated career path. With Intern Abroad HQ, you gain objective mentorship and broaden your opportunities, all while developing enhanced confidence and clarity about your ultimate direction.
Our internships all include an experiential learning curriculum, inviting interns to critically reflect, develop realistic expectations, and work to enhance self-awareness.
“This internship has been great in not only figuring out who I am, but my interests and passions. A lot of people said that I wouldn’t have the motivation to go back to school after taking some time out abroad, but after my internship I feel more motivated than ever.” - Brooklyn Carleton (Digital Marketing intern in Italy, 10 weeks)
3. Choose a shorter duration experience that reduces the cost
Study abroad programs normally adhere to strict start dates and application deadlines. In addition, they require longer-term commitment, which incurs significant costs for living abroad and tuition fees.
Intern Abroad HQ provides flexible internships year-round, with short-term durations available from just 2 weeks. This means that you are free to schedule your internship experience around any other personal, professional or academic commitments, and can easily control your budget.
“Working and living in Spain was such an amazing experience! Everything was organized and I had loads of support over the three weeks I was interning. I learnt so much in such a short amount of time and enjoyed working with and meeting other interns from all across the world. I had a blast and I would highly recommend Interning abroad!” - Shae Knobloch (Marketing & Communications intern in Spain, 3 weeks)
4. Access a much more diverse variety of destinations than study abroad programs
Traditionally, study abroad programs are limited to a small number of destinations where your home institution has partnerships with other universities. By comparison, Intern Abroad HQ offers over 230 career-focused internship options across 20 host countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, Pacific, Central America, and South America.
The breadth of opportunity compared to study abroad programs enables you to choose programs that best fit your career ambitions. This enables participants to pick the most affordable option for flights and program fees — and choose the culture, language or country that you’re most excited to explore!
“My internship helped me achieve my long term goal of improving my Spanish language skills by exposing me to the Spanish language everyday! I’d never lived outside of Utah before this experience so it was a big step in my personal development.” - Kaleigh Rasmussen (Youth Development & Education intern in Peru, 13 weeks)
5. Design an internship placement around your specific needs, interests, and goals
Whether you’re just starting your college degree, taking a break from studies, or counting down toward graduation - making career decisions can be challenging if you haven’t had a chance to explore what really interests you.
Customized internships allow you to try new roles, industries, and ways of working in a way that suits your interests and goals, without the pressure of making a complete commitment to the field.
Intern Abroad HQ’s internship placements are customized to you and your requirements. In all cases, intern resumes, studies, skills, preferences and goals are taken into account, so that host companies and organizations can be matched and communicated in advance. Our team is fully invested in your success, and this allows us to source and secure the best placement opportunities around the world for you.
“I’m extremely pleased to have been given the opportunity to undertake so much practical work. This internship reinforced core skills which will be necessary for future research and conservation work. It also taught me underwater teamwork and cooperation skills, which are difficult to acquire and strengthen.” - Aidan Clancy (Aegean Marine Science & Island Conservation intern in Greece, 6 weeks)
6. Add flexible course credit options to fulfill academic criteria
Much like study abroad programs, you can intern abroad for college credit. International internships provide fantastic learning experiences and you can amplify these advantages by achieving credit at the same time. Intern Abroad HQ offers two different ways in which you can gain academic credit on one of our international internships:
- We support interns to apply for academic credits via their home academic institution. This can save students the cost of expensive third-party tuition fees.
- We can assist interns to enroll through our own School of Record program through a US university. This is available across a range of internship destinations and career fields.
“I knew that I had to do an internship in order for me to graduate on time. I applied to more than 30 companies for internships and then began to receive rejected emails. I started doing research and found Intern Abroad HQ. That was the best decision I ever made - my internship experience with Intern Abroad HQ was great! My internship was related to my major and I had a wonderful supervisor, who made sure that I practiced what I was taught.” - Merline Kpadea (virtual Finance & Business Consulting internship, hosted out of Tanzania, 350 hours)
7. Develop your cultural awareness and global connections
Gaining an internship is much more than just adding a company name to your resume. Intern Abroad HQ offers the opportunity to build professional networks and gain mentors within new and unexplored sectors of your desired career field.
Whether your ambitions lie in Animal Sciences, Business, Creative Arts & Media, Environmental Sciences, Health Sciences, Social Sciences, or STEM, you’ll come away with a deeper appreciation of how to succeed in a different culture and an international reference letter that you can use to showcase your abilities to future employers.
“This internship opportunity has allowed me to develop myself and enrich my life goals through immersion and understanding of African culture. I was challenged, stretched, and developed in many ways. For anyone considering a similar internship abroad, go for it, explore, make mistakes, learn, have fun, and embody the better version of yourself you know you want to be!” Ẹniọlá Adeoyelawal (Psychology intern in South Africa, 8 weeks)