Ask the intern: Am I independent enough to intern abroad?

“Hi Fiona, I have a quick question for you. I’ve just graduated from high school and I want to take a year out before I go to university. I really want to do an international internship so that I have something great to put on my resume. The only problem is, I’m a little bit nervous. I’ve never been out of the country or lived away from my parents. I was hoping you had some advice. Should I intern abroad? Am I independent enough?” – Georgia

Hi Georgia, great to hear from you! This is something that everybody asks themselves when they’re making a big decision. We all question if we can do it, or if it will be a good experience. I think the best way to answer your question is with another question, or in fact a series of questions. We all wonder if we’re independent enough, but I challenge you to answer the following questions for yourself. Does independence come in second best to your desire to travel and experience the world? Or do the two actually go hand in hand?

1. Do you enjoy meeting new people?

One of the most important things about interning abroad is the amount of new people that you will meet. These people are not only incredible contacts for the future, but firm friends for your time abroad. One of the great things about The Intern Group is that your accommodation is organized for you and you will be living with other interns from the program, students and young professionals. They are all in exactly the same position as you. They will understand exactly what you are going through and I can guarantee that you will be firm friends. They will be your support network throughout your internship.

2. Would you like to experience a new culture first-hand?

Would you like to wander down the cobbled streets of Dublin? Or browse the colorful markets of Hong Kong? What about stopping for afternoon tea in a quaint London cafe? All of these experiences, and more, are out there for you. An international internship allows you to live and gain professional experience in a new country and experience a vibrant culture. You will be able to push yourself to try new things and explore new places. You will become more culturally sensitive, with better communication skills, and you may be able to wow your friends with some incredible stories, food or photos.

should i intern abroad

3. Do you want to boost your resume?

So picture this, you graduate from university with great grades, you are wondering what to pursue as a career and then you stumble across your dream job. The only thing standing in the way of you and the job of your dreams is one interview. The person interviewing you may have interviewed fifty other people for the job. They’ve seen fifty resumes. How do you make yours stand out? Two words. International experience.

An international internship is the perfect addition to your CV or resume and will catch the eye of any future employer. “Wow you worked in Hong Kong”. You will be able to impress them with stories of independent travel, how your communication skills span two languages, how you were brave enough to throw yourself into a new culture. All of the skills that you learned in your internship can be laid out. To be honest, I feel sorry for the person interviewing after you.

4. Have you always wanted to travel?

They say that you catch the travel bug, but I think some people are born with it. An international internship is the perfect combination of professional development and travel. You will be living and interning in another country – a country with hundreds of incredible places to explore. You will be able to work in the daytime, explore the city in the evening and venture outside the city on the weekend. You could even take some time after your internship to explore the country, maybe even with a friend you’ve met. The opportunities are endless and the all of the amazing experiences are out there waiting for you.

should i intern abroad

5. Do you want to learn a new language?

As a languages student I always talk about the amazing benefits of speaking another language. It is not only a great thing to have on your resume, but being able to speak to people abroad opens you up to a world of new experiences. Local people always know the best restaurants, the best way to get around and can help you if you get into a sticky situation. An international internship is the perfect time to start learning or improve your skills. Why not take a language class? Find a language exchange partner? Or even just get out there and chat to people. You will be amazed at how quickly you pick up the language.

If you answered yes to all or any of the questions, you are ready to intern abroad. The most important thing to remember is that you will never be on your own. The Intern Group provides a network of support and contacts who will be able to help you or answer any questions that you may have. Your accommodation is arranged for you, so you won’t need to worry about any organizational issues. An international internship will allow you to be independent, acquire new skills and learn a lot about yourself. It is the adventure of a lifetime and you will remember it for the rest of your life.

I love hearing from you! Send in any stories, questions or queries to fiona.johnson@theinterngroup.com

Now that you know the answer to the question, “should I intern abroad?”, apply today for an international internship and the experience of a lifetime.

Photo 1. based on untitled, by paramita, CC BY 2.0

Photo 2. based on Feria de las Flores, by Luis Pérez, CC BY 2.0

Photo 3. based on Ireland, by Scott Taylor, CC BY -ND 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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Fiona Johnson

Fiona studies Spanish and Italian and is currently on her year abroad in Latin America. She is working with the marketing team for The Intern Group in Santiago until January, when she hopes to travel South America before starting work in Italy. She is hoping to explore everything Chile has to offer and experience the vibrant culture, food and nightlife of Santiago.
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