7 reasons interning abroad is good for your people skills

An internship abroad can teach you so many different and important life lessons. It will challenge your expectations and introduce you to a new culture and way of life. You’ll also gain real-world professional experience, working with established professionals in a foreign country. These experiences will make you a more open and understanding person while teaching you how to improve your people skills in a meaningful way that will benefit you for years to come.


7 reasons interning abroad is good for your people skills

1. You learn to adapt to a new and foreign office environment

Every person is different and each group of people has their own unique way of interacting. Interns abroad will be exposed to a completely new professional environment – quite possibly for the first time. Learning how to interact with a new group of people in an office setting is an important skill to develop. After mastering the double challenge of picking up on a new office culture while adjusting to a foreign country’s culture, you’ll be ready for anything.


2. You gain experience at networking events with international interns

The Intern Group gives interns the chance to meet and befriend interns from all over the world, looking to work in all sorts of professional fields. These international networking events will boost a young person’s people skills as they are encouraged to forge friendships with people from all sorts of cultural backgrounds. Finding common ground among a diverse group of interns is a great way for young professionals to boost their networking game.


3. You’ll become more confident and comfortable in foreign environments

Learning how to relax when you’re in an unfamiliar environment is a big help to your people skills. If you’re at ease when you’re in a potentially overwhelming situation with lots of new people, you’ll be able to put other people at ease as well. This is a great way to start up a conversation. When people feel comfortable with you, they’ll be more likely to open up and enjoy themselves. This will further sharpen your people skills and ability to make vital personal and professional connections.


how to improve your people skills


4. It’s a chance to make friends with different cultural backgrounds

Finding common ground is the cornerstone of connecting with new people. This can be more of a challenge when you’re meeting new people who come from various cultural backgrounds, but definitely not impossible. Once you’re able to see past these cultural differences, you’ll realize you can establish common ground with just about anybody. Learning this kind of compassion for people who may appear very different from you is an essential people skill that will come in handy for the rest of your life.


5. You can pick up another language

The more languages you know, the more people you’re able to connect with because you share a common language. Not only are you able to communicate with new groups of people when you learn a new language, but you also understand how languages and expressions differ in each culture. You’ll be more patient with people who are new to English and be better able to understand new expressions and culturally-specific language.


how to improve your people skills


6. You gain all sorts of confidence

After you’ve interned abroad, you’ve developed a newfound confidence because of all you’ve had to accomplish in a foreign country. A confident person doesn’t shy away from a group of strangers because they trust in their ability to share and interact with new people in a positive way. They may not be fearless, but they’re open to new interactions because they’ve already had to deal with many types of interpersonal challenges and survived.


7. You learn how to read cultural cues and body language

For interns going to destinations where they don’t speak the native language fluently, they have to rely on other means of communications other than language to try and adapt to the situation. Picking up on non-verbal cues is an important way to boost people skills. In office environments, even where you speak the language, people often do not verbalize how they feel but communicate different attitudes through their behavior. Learning how to understand that behavior can help you pick up on when is a good time to approach a coworker, for example.


Apply now to improve your people skills and boost your career!



1. by The Intern Group

2. based on Julie #55 of 100 Strangers, by web4camguy, CC-by-SA 2.0

3. based on Salford Business School students, by University of Salford Press Office, CC-by-2.0


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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