Published on August 22, 2015

The perks of hiring someone with international experience

Why intern abroad? What are the perks for employers? Many employers are looking for three main things while trying to fill an open position at their workplace: character, competency and chemistry. A good employee will not only do their job well, but will also positively affect the overall climate of the workplace. Many of the qualities employers look for are also present in globetrotters. International experience will never make up for poor work ethic or a lack of experience. However, if there are two equal candidates out there for a job, the person with stamps in their passport will likely stand out as more attractive. So what exactly makes a traveled person a more intriguing candidate?


why intern abroad


1. They know how to adapt to their environment

People who travel know what it’s like to be thrown into a completely different culture and have to learn how to adjust and adapt. Someone who has lived abroad understands how to deal with being outside their comfort zone. Being able to adapt quickly to new environments is attractive in an employee because every workplace has its own culture, and it’s comforting to know a new employee will be able to find their place and adjust swiftly and with ease. Once you’ve completed an internship abroad, adjusting to a workplace in your home country should be no sweat.


2. They have courage

Living abroad is not an easy feat and it requires openness to being vulnerable. There are risks and downsides to life abroad; loneliness, getting lost, feeling uncomfortable and missing home and loved ones. A potential employer will see that someone with international experience has made sacrifices and put themselves out there in order to grow and become a more worldly and knowledgeable person. That is the kind of person that is a “go-getter” and will take risks or make difficult choices if they know it will positively benefit the workplace long-term.


why intern abroad


3. They are broad-minded

Someone who has left their home country in order to experience a new culture is likely a bit more open-minded than your average person. Having lived in another culture makes a person more understanding of different lifestyles and also more willing to accept change and get along with a diverse group of people. Being a broad-minded person is a great quality in an employee because it means they will be open to new employees, non-traditional ideas and alternative methods to solving chronic workplace problems.


why intern abroad


4. They are friendlier

Ok, ok so experience abroad doesn’t actually make a person nicer and there are plenty of friendly people out there who haven’t lived in a foreign country. That being said, people who live abroad are often more hospitable to others because they know what it’s like to need help and rely on the kindness of stranger to solve a problem. Moreover, because they’ve spent time getting to know people from another country, they likely have developed the skills to be able to easily relate to people different from them. Being able to relate to a diverse group of people and being a generous, hospitable person are both things that will make you a positive contribution to the workplace.


5. They are connected

People who have worked or interned abroad generally have a long list of professional and personal international contacts. Someone who has lived in a foreign country and has connections to people around the world can be a great asset to a workplace. Perhaps you know someone working in a country where your potential employer wants to do business? Or your would-be boss is planning a vacation in a city where you've got a friend living? In any case, having friends in international places is a valuable thing.





Photo 1. based on Travel, by Moyan Brenn, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. based on Traveling in Maldives #3, by Nattu, CC-by-2.0

Photo 3. based on China Travel Street Food Stall, by Dave See, 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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