Career-driven youth opt for international internships over study abroad

Study abroad has been the long-standing option for young people looking to spend time abroad. Backpacking and volunteering also have been popular ways for young people to explore and understand a different part of the world. Though each of these endeavors have their value, savvy college students and recent graduates have found something else that satisfies not only their wanderlust but also their desire to prepare themselves for their career.


Why do an internship


International internships are increasingly popular among young people as an alternative to study-abroad programs. The New York Times said in a report that from 2000 to 2011 some 7,000 students in the US traveled abroad to both work and earn college credit. Meanwhile, from 2010 to 2011, the number grew to 16,400, with another 8,700 working without earning college credit.


“Students want to study abroad (a record 274,000 did so for credit last year), but they also know that in a soft job market and increasingly global economy, they need an international work record and the connections that can bring,” the report said.


Why do an internship


So why do an internship abroad rather than studying abroad? What’s the difference between an internship program and studying abroad? Interns with The Intern Group program, are placed at top-notch firms around the world where interns spend their days working in their field of choice. The program is focused on professional development and preparing an intern for their career by providing real-world work experience in a foreign country. This pragmatic approach also has its fun side. As opposed to a normal internship, the program includes multicultural experiences and day trips. The Intern Group encourages interns to soak up the local culture and explore their new city. The intern abroad experience enriches both a young person’s professional skills but also their cultural sensitivity, giving them that increasingly important global perspective. Meanwhile, interns also have the option of learning a foreign language during their internship – a sought after professional skill in the increasingly globalized world.


Why do an internship


Studying abroad doesn’t hold the same weight as it did years ago as it doesn’t provide the same career insights an internship abroad does. Interns abroad spend their days inside a workplace abroad, familiarizing themselves with a foreign work culture and making personal connections with established professionals in a foreign country. This insider experience is more pragmatic for young professionals, helping them set themselves apart while competing for the best job opportunities.


Though internship programs come at a price, many young people view the cost of an internship abroad program as an investment in their career. “It used to be that a company would train you and then transfer you overseas,” the NYTimes quoted Intrax spokeswoman Melanie Vuynovich as saying. “Students who intern overseas are doing it because they need it. Often global understanding indicates maturity.”



Sources: NYTimes


Photo 1. based on The designers’ quad, by Lars Plougmann, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. by The Intern Group

Photo 3. by The Intern Group

Photo 4. by The Intern Group


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!

To learn how to apply to our internship programs, click here.


Elizabeth Trovall

After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth 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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