We’ve all had a friend or two who can’t wait to tell you about his travels abroad. You know, the ones who put up every single sunset on Instagram and Snapchat every late night club visit? In a lot of ways, we’re envious (after all, who wouldn’t be?) But on the other hand, traveling abroad isn’t just about having fun, it’s about immersing yourself in the culture and community of a foreign land. And what better way to experience that than through an internship?
Interning abroad is the perfect hybrid of work and play. Not only will you be working day-in and day-out for someone, gaining invaluable experiences, but you’ll additionally be receiving all the primary benefits of being abroad. Granted, some people consider a work-vacation, not a real vacation but bare in mind that if even though your intern responsibilities are your primary concern, you still have the opportunity to explore and try new experiences. Plus, employers will more likely than not want you to enjoy and learn about the place they call home.
However, beyond just the notch on the resume, there are several benefits to learning about the business world from doing an overseas internship. While some of these may not even be things you’ve considered, they’re good to keep in mind for future consideration to really get the most out of your summer.
The World of Business
The global business community is more connected to each other than ever before. People are able to work with others abroad, as well as on different time zones and even in different languages. Because of technological innovations, we’re now able to work more efficiently and effectively with others from all over. That’s why it’s important to learn the ropes of how other cultures approach business.
Learning about how different cultures conduct their business will not only give you a scope about how productivity works abroad, but what type of norms are considered acceptable. For example, how you dress to work, or even if it’s appropriate to have a beer at a lunch meeting. These norms will give you a sense of perspective on how to behave in the working world, as well as can give you a leg up in interacting with those who’ve traveled too. Additionally, this can also be a great opportunity to take on another language, which will give you a leg up in the business world any day of the week.
Boost Your Prospects
Beyond just being bilingual, it’s been reported that going abroad can help you land a job back home. Depending on where you travel to, employers can look favorably upon the experience. It says that not only are you willing to take on new experiences and want to learn but can bring a sense of perspective culturally. However, this can come with a catch.
Ironically, a lot of the countries that’d you travel to that employers find more attractive are also the ones most similar to American culture. This means that while going to a developing nation, or one in need might be a more diverse or enriching experience won’t necessarily help you get your foot in the door of prospective internship and job opportunities. While employers love those with exposure to different countries, they also want those travels to be relevant to their current business. Your travels should compliment your interests and goals, while also exposing you to things that will help your career.
Culture Is Key
One of the biggest steps you can take to enrich your internship experience abroad is opening yourself up to new traditions, which may result in culture shock. While we mentioned above that yes, employers look more favorably upon those who’ve visited places similar to America, that’s not to say you won’t go through the same surprise others have when they went abroad as well.
Recognizing the nuances that separate what feels familiar and what feels foreign is crucial when traveling. Not only are you going to be people who speak a different language, eat different cuisine, and live different social lives, but you’ll also earn respect among local citizens by trying to adapt to local ways of life, rather than simply enduring them. Overall, this is going to be one of the most fun and enjoyable experiences you’ll have in your professional career, so embrace the change and engulf yourself in it. Who knows? You might learn a thing or two.