Our university years are the best years of our lives. Putting aside the stress of our submission deadlines, late nights, and long lectures, the university is a place that is bursting with opportunities! With so many influential people you could be meeting, and projects you could be leading, the worst thing you can do is to simply wait for time to pass so that you can finally graduate university. Therefore, here is where the benefits of an internship comes along.

One of the best things that you can do, however, is to go on an internship abroad. Essentially, an internship is an engagement where you gain experience working for a short period in a company related to your field. The benefit of an internship is to boost your professional career because you get to apply theory to practice, network with people in the field, and get a feel of what your line of work entails. We challenge you to take this to the next level by pursuing this internship in a different country. As a result, this means that yes, you’ll be hopping on a plane, travelling across the globe and returning home only months later.

It also means leaving the familiarity and comfort of your own home for a completely foreign place. This may seem daunting since it sounds like nothing but uncertainty. But we can assure you that the benefits of an internship outweigh any fears you may have. Read on for 7 reasons why you should say yes to being an intern abroad:

interns hanging around Photo by Brooke Cagle

1) International work experience

As an intern, your responsibilities will be similar to any other internship. Generally, all interns are expected to complete various tasks for the company under the supervision of a mentor. The internship is a great time to expand your skillset. However, working as an intern abroad sets you apart because you will learn to meet the expectations of the industry in a different country than your own. Because the market, systems, and practices vary from country to country, your experience and global perspective will be a valuable asset for you in your career. Employers highly favour graduates with international work experience, so telling people that you have internship experience abroad will immediately distinguish you from other young, fresh graduate.

2) Develop your interpersonal skills

If being in university hasn’t helped you with your confidence yet, an internship abroad definitely will. Coming out of your comfort zone is a scary thing, but during your internship, your interpersonal skills are going to soar! You will communicate with people from different cultures and develop cultural awareness. You will have problems to solve and become more adaptable and independent. One rewarding benefit of doing an international internship is that you will become a more confident person by the time you return home. Confidence is the soft skill that comes in handy in all of your professional needs like public speaking, pitching a business idea, leading a team, and negotiating deals.

Photo by Samantha Gades

3) Make international friends

In an internship abroad, socialising with other people for work and personal purposes is something you have to be prepared for. But don’t worry – chances are, you won’t be the only person who has come a long way from home. You will meet friends who have come from all different parts of the world to pursue work or their studies, and all of them would have a unique background and story. By the end of your internship, you’ll have met people from all over the world, and this means that you’ll have an extended, global network. This will come in handy for when you visit each other’s countries, or if you have a favour that requires international connections.

Photo by Alice Young

 

 

 

4) Develop global awareness


Having global awareness means knowing how social, environmental, and political factors impact the world. The 21st-century global citizen needs to know their role in contributing to international understanding, and doing an internship in a different country is one way to achieve this. During your time abroad, you’ll start to notice the similarities and differences between your home country and the new place you are in. Inevitably, you will begin to compare both these countries in terms of societal norms, environmental habits or even the infrastructural composition. What’s great about this is that you will start to view your own country with a new lens and begin to appreciate its unique beauty. You’ll develop a new level of understanding of your country and its people.


5) Improve your language skills


Have you ever dreamt of speaking a new language? An internship abroad is your pathway to learning that language. Want to speak Japanese? Go to Japan. Want to speak German? You can go to Germany, or any country that uses German as a primary language. If you need to get better at English, you can also consider countries where English is an official language. Immersion is the fastest way to learn a foreign language since you will be hearing native speakers use the language every day in formal and informal settings. Whichever destination you choose, an internship abroad is an excellent platform to speak and learn a foreign language, and improve your English skills.

Photo by Ibrahim Rifath

6) Travel


Travel is, by far, the main reason that motivates people to pack up and move abroad. Sometimes, we just want to have a change of scenery: see new places, try new things, and wander about. Therefore, an international internship is the best way to do this! While the focus of the internship is to work and learn, you can still schedule your weekends for a mini-vacation to go for a hike, or take a road trip to visit a different city. You could even check out a neighbouring country since you’re already in the area. Many of our travel-savvy interns book affordable weekend flights ahead of time and then head to the airport on Friday afternoons after work, luggage in hand. This is definitely one of the best benefits of an internship abroad! 


7) Live like a local


Another reason to pursue your internship abroad is if the idea of living like a local excites you. When we are tourists, we visit all the top 10 must-see spots, taste new flavours, buy souvenirs, and then leave. We never get to see what goes on from morning till night in town, or what goes on in the markets, or how the locals run their day-to-day errands. Since you would be living and working there, you will get to experience a new city or country and know it like the back of your hand.

An international internship is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will not regret. Although your focus there would be to develop yourself professionally, you will also discover yourself and find out what you are truly made of. As a result of doing an internship abroad will open your eyes to your industry, to global issues beyond your four walls. Truth be told, we can’t think of any reasons not to! You are at the peak of your almost-adulthood, and this is the time to make it worth the while! Check out our internship programmes now to explore your options and read more about the benefits of an internship.

It’s not a stretch to say internships have become indispensable. The competition for jobs has never been stiffer. When making hiring decisions, Capital Placement notes, employers will lean heavily towards students who have at least some internship experience under their belts. 

So, what does an intern do exactly?

Contrary to popular belief, completing an internship isn’t easy. If you think internships are about fetching coffee for everyone and generally riding on the team’s coattails, toss your expectations out the window. Modern intern roles – even the support kind – are as taxing and responsibility-ridden as full-time jobs!

It’s important you enter your internship with the right mindset. If you don’t know what to expect from your internship role, you’ll be better prepared and know what you need to do to succeed. Also, carrying out your intern responsibilities successfully will assist you in building up a potent skillset. 

What is an intern? 

An intern is a trainee who has signed on with an organization for a brief period. An intern’s goal is to gain work experience, occasionally some university credit, and always an overall feel for the industry they’re interning in. 

Internships may be paid, partially paid, or unpaid. The engagement period may range from a handful of weeks up to 2 years. With longer-term internships, you’ll almost always be compensated in some way. The compensation may include a monthly wage, accommodation, travel expenses, and a food allowance. 

Many companies require you to complete an internship with them before they even consider you for a full-time role.     

What does an intern do?

So what does an intern do exactly? That depends on the industry in question and the kind of internship you’ve signed up for. Research internships come with a different set of roles and responsibilities than, say, an internship geared toward easing you into a full-time role. 

An intern is primarily a support role – at least in the beginning. When you join up, your main job will be to assist, learn, and grow. After you’ve settled in, you’ll be expected to pull your own weight. 

Here’s a general overview of the work you can expect to do as an intern:     

1. Assist in day-to-day tasks

As an intern, don’t expect to spearhead a critical project anytime soon. But that’s by no means a bad thing. You’ll be groomed to spearhead projects in the future. Your boss will give you general errands to educate you on to the ins-and-outs of the organisation, to gauge your general skill set, and also to bring your skills up to par.

Here are some day-to-day intern roles and their responsibilities:   

  • Performing clerical duties: It’s almost a guarantee you’ll be taking memos, maintaining files, organising, sorting, creating PowerPoint presentations, drafting reports, and the like.
  • Managing social media and emails: You may be asked to handle the company’s social media accounts, write emails to customers, talk to clients on the phone, and similar duties. 
  • Event handling: Interns are often asked to oversee the scheduling of appointments, organising conference rooms, and taking care of the food and drink.   
  • Research: Interns fresh from a university education have a great deal of up-to-date knowledge. Your organisation may put this knowledge to good use by placing you in a research role. You may be asked to assist in streamlining an organisation’s work process in some way.

2. Learn and gain experience 

You’ll be expected to learn as much as you possibly can while you work, regardless of the kind of internship you’ve signed up for. What kind of learning will you be doing? It can be broken down into two main areas:  

  • Picking up hard skills: Hard skills are the technical skills you need to carry out your intern responsibilities, and eventually job duties, successfully. Examples include learning how to operate a computer program, drafting a company report, handling the company inventory, and maintaining the company database.    
  • Brushing up on your soft skills: Soft skills are as important as hard skills. Soft skills are all about your ability to relate to people and building mutually-beneficial relationships. Examples are talking, listening, conflict handling, time management, and development of empathy. You need soft skills to manage clients, not to mention get along with your bosses and colleagues.   

3. Job shadow

Job shadowing has become the norm recently. As the name suggests, the practice involves “shadowing” someone as they perform their daily duties, observing their activities, and learning what the role entails via indirect experience. This is an especially popular practice in hands-on fields like engineering and healthcare.  

How does this work exactly? When you join the organisation, you may be assigned a mentor. The first few weeks, you may be tasked with following them around. They’ll show you the ropes while they work. You may be asked to assist with light tasks here and there. You’ll be encouraged to ask questions. Eventually, you’ll be trained to take over the position and of intern roles.  

4. Take on an increasing amount of responsibility 

As time goes by, expect to shoulder an increasing amount of responsibility. Initially, they’ll gauge your current skill set and reliability with “grunt” work. As you prove yourself to your colleagues and bosses, you’ll be entrusted with more crucial tasks. The better you perform, the more the responsibilities you’ll be given. 

When you join as an intern, it’s always smart to give it your all. The work may feel uninspiring initially. That’s understandable. But if you can demonstrate enthusiasm and perform without complaining, you’ll slowly but surely work your way to the good stuff. 

Interns who really impress their bosses can expect glowing recommendations, if not an offer for full-time work.   

5. Network 

While networking isn’t an official requirement as such, it might as well be. Networking involves building relationships with your bosses, colleagues, and customers and clients. You’ll need the backing and support of people in places to build a successful career. Also, building good relationships with customers is always good for the organisation.

Here are some examples of the kind of networking interns do: 

  • Finding a mentor: Mentors act as anchor roles for interns. If you find a good one, you can follow in their footsteps and build a successful career just like your mentor. 
  • Forming a peer support group: Interning is hard. Finding a peer support group who is going through all the ups and downs with you will make it much more enjoyable for everyone involved. 
  • Getting in with bosses and coworkers: Interns who can build strong individual bonds with their coworkers and bosses become a part of the “family”. You’re much more likely to be offered a full-time role at the company down the road. 

6. Make a career call 

Finally, usually at the tail-end of your internship, you have to make a career-defining decision: continue in the field you interned in or try your hand at something else entirely. 

You got a taste of what working in your industry full-time would be like. Did you love the experience and can’t wait to dive back in again? Or do you feel you’d be happier doing something else?

Final Thoughts

Internships are usually short-term. They’re smaller investments in time and energy than full-time jobs. Consequently, they’re perfect opportunities to explore your options. You deserve work that’s fulfilling. If necessary, you can sign up for a different but related internship role elsewhere to see if you’re happier there. 

Your internship is going to shape the course of your career. It’ll assist you in acquiring the skills you need to perform up-to-par when you’re hired full-time. It’s essential you use your internship as the training opportunity it represents. 

You’re sure to have a bright future if you work hard, build positive relationships, and remain grateful for the internship opportunity. Capital Placement can assist you in securing a life-changing internship opportunity abroad, in line with your talents, skill-set, and career goals. Reach out to us now!   

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Capital Placement

Capital Placement

Capital Placement offering global internship programmes for students and recent graduates since 2012 with one of our 1500+ partner companies across 25+ industries.

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