Published on October 6, 2015

How to find the best international internship for you

So you’ve considered the benefits of gaining international work experience through an internship abroad. Now you’re trying to decide which internship and destination will suit you best. The Intern Group provides many different career fields and destinations for interns to choose from and then places participants in a quality internship that fits the intern's profile. What you need to know is which city and country to intern in and within which professional sector you would like to intern.



The following seven questions should help you decide how to find the best international internship for you so you can make the most of your international experience:


1) What is my desired field or career?

Knowing what kind of job you want is key to choosing an internship abroad. The purpose of an internship abroad is earning the work experience that leads you to that first full-time position. It’s a good idea to intern in a sector that also happens to be in your future career, or a complementary field.


2) What is or was my major in university?

Perhaps you aren’t quite sure what kind of job you want when you’re older but you are studying and working on a college degree of some sort. If you are enjoying or are at least interested in your major you should let that dictate what internship you take abroad. Choose a field related to your major. You studied History and love researching and writing but you're lacking the professional experience directly leading to a career? Why not try an internship in journalism or PR?


3) What relevant work experience do I already have (and did I enjoy that experience)?

Another factor to consider while choosing an internship abroad is previous work or internship experience. If you already have had an internship or job in a field and enjoyed it, you might want to choose an internship abroad that is in the same field. Now if you didn't have a good time working in that sector, definitely look at an internship in a different area. This is your chance to try something else!



4) Do I speak any foreign languages?

Once you have an idea of an internship sector (or two) that interest you and relate to your career, it’s time to figure out where you’re going to intern. Perhaps you studied a foreign language and want to improve your proficiency. Or maybe you have no foreign language experience and would like some exposure. Either way, workplace foreign language experience will go a long way in improving speaking abilities, comprehension and add another exciting challenge to the internship abroad experience. That means you may want to avoid an English-speaking country and try your hand at a country that speaks a foreign language. In this increasingly global world, foreign language skills are more important every day. To learn Mandarin or Cantonese, check out Hong Kong, meanwhile Spanish-language internships are available in Latin America in Medellín, Colombia and in Europe in Madrid, Spain.


5) Where do you want to travel?

If you have a specific region that interest you, follow your curiosity and let that interest guide you into choosing your destination city for your internship abroad. Always been interested in Australia’s diverse wildlife and beautiful beaches? Check out our internships in Melbourne. For those who have always been fascinated by Europe’s art, architecture and history, internships in both Spain and London are available, covering dozens of different fields and careers.


6) Which cultures interest you most?

Not only travel opportunities should help you decide where you want to spend your internship abroad. Keep in mind that you’re going to spend months in a completely different culture, soaking up life in a foreign country. Consider the fact that an internship abroad is a chance to understand a completely new way of life. So what draws your attention? The “alegria” or happiness and warmth of the Colombians in Medellín? Or perhaps you are drawn to the fast-paced, intellect and neurosis of the New Yorker? Consider the culture you’ll be surrounding yourself in before making a decision on where you want to spend your internship abroad.


best international internship


7) Are any destination cities particularly important to my field or career interests?

If you are interested in launching a career in Finance, cities like New York City, London and Hong Kong are good to consider. Meanwhile, someone with an interest in Latin American politics or business should consider Colombia as an option for their internship abroad. Each city has something different to offer interns in all career fields. The idea is to find an internship and destination city that is pertinent to your field, your interests within your field and your personal curiosity.



Photo 1. based on “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru, by Kate Ter Haar, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. by The Intern Group

Photo 3. based on Melbourne, by Yasser Alghofily, 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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