Published on September 11, 2015

8 reasons international internships are the perfect way to complement your college education

As important as it is these days to have a college degree, 4 years in university often doesn’t cut it when it comes to preparing students for the real world. College graduates are often finding it necessary to take positions outside their desired field because they aren’t coming to job interviews with the necessary experience to get hired. Moreover, many students come out of their college experience without much life experience. They haven’t seen the world – just the inside of classrooms.

why do an internship

Why do an internship abroad? An internship abroad is the ideal way to give a young person the chance to learn those lessons they didn’t quite get to at university. So you studied Latin American studies? Why not land an internship in government in Colombia? Hey business majors! Have you ever considered starting your career out in London’s hot start-up scene with an internship in entrepreneurship? Consider making an international internship the ultimate addition to your degree. Check out these amazing life and career benefits to an internship experience in a foreign country.


1. Multicultural office (and life) skills

The best way to prepare for a job at an office is to intern at an office. It gives you the chance to experience office culture, without the same pressure of a full-time position. It's like a job with training wheels.


2. You’re more likely to get a job

Though it hurts to give up the opportunity to earn money when you take unpaid internships, they are likely to pay off long-term. A study by Southwestern University found that students who completed one internship during their schooling were 13% more likely to find full-time employment over those who didn’t do any internships.

why do an internship

3. It's your chance to test out your career path

An internship is a great way to see what your career is like without actually committing to the position full-time. You'll also learn about your work habits and preferences which will help guide you later on in your job search.


4. You can apply lessons you learned in the classroom

After spending all those hours in Spanish class, wouldn't it be great to actually put your skills to the test? An internship abroad is a great way to solidify classroom learning with real-world application.


5. Industry experience and transferable skills

An internship in your field will prepare you for a job in your field, plain and simple. It's great experience to talk about in an interview process too, to show that even though you haven't held a position full-time, you are up to the task.


6. Global networking opportunities

Any internship is going to offer you the opportunity to network with other people working in your field. If you do an international internship, you will expand that network even more. Think of all the interesting, talented and adventurous people you can meet during an internship abroad.

why do an internship

7. The chance to develop new abilities

Gaining experience abroad guarantees you will develop new abilities. Both day-to-day life and work tasks will put your adaptability, communication skills and resourcefulness to the test.


8. Gain confidence

Professional experience abroad will give you confidence both in the workplace and in life. Moving to a foreign country and starting a brand new job takes courage. Once you do it and learn from it you'll become a more confident and competent person both at your job and at home.


Sources: Huffington Post,, Fitacrosscultures

Photo 1. based on University Life 210, by Francisco Osorio, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. based on Hard Work (Vicios I), by Eneas De Troya, CC-by-2.0

Photo 3. based on Social Networking: Ninjacam, by Dave Fayram, CC-by-2.0

The author
Elizabeth Trovall
After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her third year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.

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