Why you should do an internship overseas

June 17, 2016
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If interning in your current city has been checked off your career-building goals, why not consider gaining work experience in a foreign city? By branching out and getting experience in another city, you can learn so much more about your desired industry from a whole new perspective.

If you plan on venturing off on exchange next semester or you're going overseas in the semester break, there may be some benefit in researching your dream industry and internship opportunities in that destination. It’s sure to give you an edge over the many grads who may have only done local internships.

Not convinced yet? Here are some of the reasons why it would benefit any student striving for that competitive advantage.

Explore a different part of the world

If FB and Insta is anything to go by, it seems like the vast majority of students have a desire to travel. Consider how amazing it would be to venture to a foreign country and explore their beautiful sites while also laying valuable foundations for a future career.

It is crucial for students in degrees like international relations, to gain experience on a global front. But career advisors say that almost all degrees could benefit in some way. Generally, it would be best to get some experience in Australia first and then to build on that experience through an international internship. Receiving a grad application with global exposure would be like finding gold at the end of a rainbow for the employer. Invaluable!  

Develop a global network

There seems to be fear around the notion of ‘networking’ and it is partly justified. Trying to accrue professional contacts can be intimidating from the perspective of a student who is just working at a retail job to pay their way through student life. But consider for just one moment that the professionals in your dream jobs once started out in the same position you did.

For companies that are global, having connections in various countries can be extremely helpful when applying for graduate positions later on. A casual email will never go astray and amazing opportunities can be created from a single enquiry. University career officers are there to assist you in making this type of experience come to fruition.  They are knowledgeable people who provide services such as resume review appointments that can help you hone in on the skills that are necessary to land your dream career.

Step outside your comfort zone

When you score that dream job, there will be many moments where you will need to step outside your comfort zone. Being an intern comes with the disclaimer that you are not fully trained in the industry but rather, you are there to learn. In other words, you are given a ‘get out of gaol free’ pass to screw up one or two or five times. 

Just be sure that you look into the correct visa requirements to work in a different country. The most common type is the Working Holiday Visa that encourages young people (18 to 30 years old) to engage in ‘short term work and holidays’ with partner countries. Visa advice is constantly changing, so be sure to keep in direct contact with a university advisor. Also be sure to have that return ticket booked, because this is another crucial requirement for a Working Holiday Visa.

So do some thorough research into the field that is closest to your heart and then find the companies and workplaces overseas that deal with this area. Unpaid experience is always easier and more beneficial when you LOVE what you are learning. 

Ailish Parr

Ailish is never happy just sitting still and has a secret love for #qanda. She is studying a double degree at the University of Queensland but always makes time for coffee and socialising.