How to find an international internship?
There are so many benefits to interning overseas – we are now living in an international community and more and more international companies are created every day. The more international companies there are, the greater value your international experience will be for your career.
Not only does an internship abroad allow you to gain professional experience in your chosen field, but it also allows you to experience a new culture, a new country and even a new language – which are all valuable assets to have as we move towards a more globalized world.
So how do you find an international internship when you may have never even visited your chosen internship country before? Here are some of our top tips to finding an international internship:
International Internship Agencies
Agencies, such as Internshipmapper, are specifically designed to help you locate your ideal international internship. The way these agencies are structured is that they have pre-arranged partnerships and contracts with some of the biggest companies around the world, whereby they agree to supply them with staff and interns as the company needs them.
When you sign up with an International Internship Agency, you will have to go through an interview-like phase, or you will have to provide them with a complete rundown of your education and professional achievements.
International internship agencies need to know everything an employer will need to know about you – this is because the agency acts on your behalf and contacts companies directly for your benefit. So they need to be able to put your best foot forward and give as much information as possible!
There are many benefits to signing on with an International Internship Agency, the main one being that an agency will often get a response from companies where you would not. Large international companies receive thousands of unsolicited emails every day and a lot of the time your own individual email will get lost in the pile.
When an International Internship Agency contacts a company they’re contracted with, the company already knows that the email will be in relation to providing capable and professional employees that have already been interviewed and screened for the role. The company will respond to an agency’s email every time – since that is what they have hired the agency to do in the first place.
Your College or University
Often colleges and universities have exchange or work experience programs in place with international companies or other universities overseas. So if you study at a major college or university, it is worth asking your administration services whether this is something they can offer you.
Often placements organised through colleges or universities will require that you:
- Maintain a certain grade - often it is quite a high grade point average.
- Have some knowledge of the language of your chosen country, or some bilingual capabilities.
- Or a placement may only be offered to you in conjunction with further study while you are overseas.
If you meet all of these requirements, then a work placement organised through your college might be perfectly suited to you. If your college or university doesn’t offer such a program, it is still worth talking to your career services or a course advisor because they may still know of and be able to recommend you to an international organization currently seeking interns. Plus, it is always great having a university lecturer or professor as a recommendation or reference for any job application!
Job Boards not only advertise paid professional roles, but they will also advertise available internships both locally and internationally. Some of the major online international job boards include:
- Career Builder
Advertisements for internships placed on Job Boards will always document all of the important information you need to know about the role – such as all of the education and professional requirements you must meet to be successful for the position. Remember that there is likely to be a huge number of applicants for any role advertised on an online job board because they are accessible by everyone from all over the world.
Regardless of whether you apply for internships through a job board or not, going online and having a look at what is on offer is a great way to conduct your own initial research on international internships. You will be able to see:
- What companies are hiring,
- What the most popular industries are,
- How many international internships are available,
- And what requirements they need from you.
Having knowledge of this information is a great way to prepare for any international internship application you may have to organise in the future.
Do it yourself
This option may seem daunting and – be warned – it will involve a lot of hard work on your part! But finding your own international internship can be very rewarding and a great experience since it will involve a lot of preparation, organization and motivation on your part.
Firstly, you will need to have all of your documents organised before you even begin your search – this means:
- Ensuring your resume and references are up to date;
- You have official copies of your academic transcripts ready;
- Your passport is valid for at least 1-2 years;
- You know what visa you will need and how to apply for it; and
- You have all other documentation such as police clearances, bank statements, school identification, etc. ready and organised before you even begin applying.
Finding your own internship will involve contacting numerous organizations and companies until one of them responds to your request. Start by compiling a list of all of the top companies and internship roles you would be suited to – then apply. But before you even have a chance to hear back from these companies, start another list, this time with companies and roles you may not have considered in your first round of applications – then apply.
I encourage you to do several of these lists because often you won’t receive any response from companies, so do not be disheartened and keep going in your search. Keep compiling lists and applying for all potential internships until you are successful. This is where you need plenty of motivation and determination, because even the best of us have received rejection after rejection after rejection, but you must persevere!
Often it is easier (and wiser) to implement all of these options all at the same time in your search for an international internship. For example, you can sign up to a Job Agency as well as create an online profile on any of the job boards so you can track as many international internships as possible. You can also be proactive and contact any companies you may think you would like to work for to see if they have anything available.
Lastly, don’t stress too much about it – there are so many international internships available worldwide and with time you are bound to find the perfect one for you!
Internshipmapper is a career portal for students and graduates. We also provide range of graduate recruitment services to help sourcing candidates for internships or graduate jobs, and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs , visit their website.