Ask the intern: How can I convince my parents that an international internship is worth it?

Hi Sugar, I’m a second year History & Politics student from Newcastle University in Australia. I really want to do a Government & Politics internship in Colombia in September to complement my studies. I think it would really give me a head start in my politics career. I’m also keen to learn some Spanish to boost my CV. However, my parents aren’t convinced that an international internship is the way to go. They don’t really understand why I would want to go so far from home rather than doing an internship here. Could you give me some advice on how to explain to them the benefits of an international internship? I want to be able to give some good answers when they ask, “why do an internship abroad?”. -Ben.

 

Hi Ben, thanks for getting in touch! I see your predicament. Your parents only want the best for you, but I understand that it is frustrating that you don’t see eye to eye on this. The concept of interning abroad is quite new so, although it seems like the obvious option to you, it can be hard for parents to understand. However, I’m sure that when you explain to them all the benefits of an international internship, they will be a lot more encouraging! Below I have outlined some key reasons why interning abroad is more beneficial for you than interning in your own country:

1. Responsibility and independence

The reason internships are so valuable to employers is that they teach you many life skills that a degree alone does not. Responsibility and independence are two factors that an internship is seen to demonstrate. Among other skills, such as organization and time management, they are seen as essential in the workplace.

By interning abroad, you develop these skills to a much higher level. As you are completely out of your comfort zone, your need to develop these skills is even higher. Employers recognize this and your international internship will speak volumes about your skill set. This development will help you in your personal life as well as your professional life. This is why many people class their international internship as their most formative experience and use it as their unique selling point in job interviews.

why do an internship abroad

2. International perspective

In an ever-changing, increasingly globalized society, the need for an international perspective has never been greater. Especially when you want to work in a field such as government and politics! By interning abroad, you see first-hand cultural differences and therefore learn to empathize with others. By interning in Colombia, not only will you immerse yourself in Colombian culture, but you also will meet many interns from other corners of the globe. This allows you to make your own international network and become a global citizen.

3. Learning a language

You said it best: learning a language is a great way to make your CV or resume stand out. Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world. It is spoken by more people than English! By having even a basic understanding under your belt, you really increase the amount of people you can work with and countries and companies you can work in. Doing an internship in Colombia would be the perfect way to boost your language levels. Your internship can be in English, so there’s no need to panic about becoming fluent. However, you can use your spare time to pick up some new vocabulary and chat with locals.

4. More opportunities

We all know that competition for internships is fierce, especially in popular fields such as government and politics. By widening your search internationally, you leave yourself open to many more opportunities. It also allows you to search for an internship in places where your career field is thriving. Colombia is our hub for government and politics, meaning great candidates are likely to find many more options here than they would in their hometown.

Also, if you demonstrate that you can live and intern abroad at such a young age, you show future employers that you can continue to do it in your career. This could lead to more job opportunities and career progression.

why do an internship abroad

Now you know how to answer your parents when they ask, “but why do an internship abroad? Why not here?”, apply today to launch your career abroad.

 

Photos

1. based on MEDELLíN, by Iván Erre Jota, CC-by-SA 2.0

2. based on Camp photo 1, by Matthew Hurst, CC-by-SA 2.0

3. based on Flags,by Raja Habib, CC-by-SA 2.0

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!

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Sugar Thomas

Sugar studies at the University of Leeds in the UK and is currently on her year abroad in Latin America. She studied in Malaga, Spain before joining the business development team at The Intern Group in January. She hopes to make the most of her time in Latin America, traveling the continent and experiencing the culture before completing her final year of university.
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