Eager to see the world, but are worried about falling behind in the job applicant pool in the professional world? International internship experience will make you stand out. The Intern Group Colombia alumna and Global Leadership Grant winner Tyler explains the benefits of an internship abroad that she’s noticed now in hindsight after completing her own.
1. You will get the chance to discover and create new professional goals
Interning in a different country allows you to understand and work in an alternative system of your field of expertise. As a result, you will be able to envisage different and possibly greater goals for your own career, which you may not have been able to working at home. You will therefore have unique insight into how your career field is dealt with in a different country, which will greatly supplement your expertise when you are looking for jobs in the future.
2. You will learn invaluable lessons about yourself
You will find yourself outside your comfort zone a lot during your internship abroad, and as a result, you will start to learn invaluable personal and professional lessons about yourself, which will build your strength of character. During my international internship in Colombia, I was often put in scenarios where I had to make presentations. I was lucky enough to have my boss and two of my coworkers speak English, however the rest of my team only spoke Spanish. Therefore, they did not understand the presentations I made, and similarly, I would not fully understand their presentations in Spanish.
3. Your language skills will improve
I came to the realization that there was a difference between speaking a language professionally rather than conversationally. The former, I was not so good at. I understood that some of my coworkers would never realize my full professional potential, because we simply would not be able to communicate, which is something I had never experienced before. I chose to step out of my comfort zone and make my work presentations in Spanish. I made a lot of mistakes, but resultantly, my Spanish greatly improved; my coworkers were able to appreciate the value of my work; and importantly, I accepted that I would inevitably mess up during some parts of my presentations and thus, I stopped taking myself so seriously.
4. You will gain a sense of professional self confidence
This is key because it is often lacking at the beginning of one’s professional career. During my internship in Colombia, I found that because I was from another country, I had a lot of information to offer my work. My colleagues often asked for my advice on professional matters and sought my opinion regarding the way systems worked in Kenya and in the UK. This not only taught me that they considered me a valued member of their team, but I gained a great sense of professional confidence, as I became more vocal about my professional ideas and found myself more open to criticism.
Now that you know about the benefits of an internship abroad, learn more about our programs now.
Photos and content by Tyler Ayah.