Global insights: Studying abroad or interning abroad?

Studying Abroad vs interning abroad

Going abroad to study or work is one of the most exciting and enriching things you can experience during your college years. If you’re considering going abroad, we highly recommend it. Studying or interning abroad is a great way to explore, learn, and improve your cultural awareness.

If you’re struggling to decide which is best internship for you, then have no fear. In this article, we will explore each option’s advantages and disadvantages, including workarounds.

Let’s get started!

Study Abroad

Learn a new language, embrace a different culture, and earn academic credits. These opportunities await when you decide to take a semester or year away from your home school to study abroad.

College-study-abroad programs offer students a wide range of courses, from accounting to technology, in learning institutions worldwide. Notably, credits earned from studying abroad can be transferred or converted upon your return.

Courses can be in-person, online, or a combination of learning methodologies. Some programs have integrated internships (part-time) and work placements.


  • Travel, learn and work opportunities.
  • Gain insights and perspectives on culture.
  • Expand social and work networks.
  • Learn a new language.
  • Continue or complement one’s field of study.
  • Earn college credits for graduation.
  • Go for a customised experience or convenience, depending on the enrollment method.

Cons and Solutions

  • It can cost a lot, from airfare, tuition fees, and living expenses. Check out scholarships and financial aid programs. Work to save up or find part-time jobs as your workload and student visa permit. It may help if you enroll in a less-expensive region.
  • Your home university may not accept the credits obtained abroad. Either you enrol in an international institution affiliated with your school or confirm your eligibility to earn credits when starting your international education.
  • As far as job prospects are concerned, study-abroad credits don’t hold much weight as experience. This point leads us to the discussion on internships abroad.

Intern Abroad

Apply knowledge to actual situations, acquire skills, and strengthen your resume by interning abroad. This international experience relevant to your coursework beefs up your campaign for a job after getting your college degree.

An internship abroad implies tenacity and real-world skills. You’ve probably navigated a foreign city for weeks or months on your own. Then there’s the underlying need to master communication with potential language barriers on the job.

You spend time learning from professionals, gain insights, and perhaps discover the trade’s best-kept secrets. You also pick up information from interacting with co-workers and fellow interns. These interactions can be the foundation of your professional network.

As with more local internships, those based abroad can be paid or unpaid in exchange for work-based learning. The monetary aspect is not a huge concern when viewed as a valuable investment. Still, you may be able to find one that pays.

If you not quite ready to go abroad, consider a paid remote internship. Remote internships allow you to experience what working abroad is like from the comfort of your own home. It’s an excellent way to gain experience while being able to test trial working abroad.


  • Build your resume.
  • Gain experience, knowledge, and skills to jumpstart your career.
  • Learn from the pros.
  • Figure out your interests.
    Collect professional contacts from around
  • the world.
  • Earn money or academic credit.

Cons and Solutions

  • The timing of an internship is critical as it can conflict with your plans. Ideally, you have completed your internship before getting caught up with your graduation requirements. And before starting your job search. After all, you want to include this experience in your resume. If you intern abroad after graduation, this complete fine too. In fact, this might be the best move if you are wanting to work in another country permanently as you can intern from 6 months up to 18 months long!
  • Like a study-abroad plan, an international internship can be expensive. The cost depends on your destination’s cost of living. You must also consider the items included in the program fees, such as room and board. Applying for scholarships, budgeting skills, and street smarts can help stretch the value of your money.
  • Not all international internships result in academic credits. Ask your school first about the conditions and requirements that constitute a for-credit internship program. You may not receive compensation, so that credits would be an excellent reimbursement.

So, Which Is a Better Option?

Instead of opposites, studying and interning abroad are both valuable experiences. Each can occur at various points in your life and involve varying priorities and mindsets.

If you are looking for enriching experiences while your school schedule permits, study and see the world. If you are preparing for your transition to the workforce, take the international internship opportunity. More so, if you’re curious about building an international career outside your home country – an international internship may be a much better option than studying abroad.

You’ll have more of an understanding of what working there looks like, how to be successful in a new place and how you can build a career more permanently.

However, if you are looking to explore new places, maybe a new language, and make the world your oyster, studying abroad will be a better bet for you.

Regardless of your decision, you’ll learn that the world is your classroom. Go out and explore!

You won’t regret it. We promise.

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Aubrey i​s a writer and a regular contributor. She writes on topics on job searching and career development in hopes to provide better tips on job hunting and career development.

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