6 Reasons an Overseas Internship Could Be Your Best Career Move
If you find yourself wondering, ‘why do an internship?’ or just want to know what the importance of an internship is, we have the answers for you. Internships can definitely fast track your career, and participating in one of the many working overseas programs can give you an even greater host of benefits you might not have even considered before.
Hopefully you know why you want to do an internship, but now there’s the question of why work overseas with plenty of programs right here in Australia? Well, do you love to travel? What about combining global work and adventure? How about broadening your skills and horizons? Why not combine all of these desires with an internship abroad! In terms of employment, Eva Grabner from Elite Executive is here to give her expert advice, along with her experience in recruitment.
There are countless reasons to take the plunge but we’ve focussed on the top six for you:
Table of Contents
1. Improve Your Resume
While there are plenty of reasons why working overseas or undertaking a global internship is a great idea, probably the most valuable is the fact that it puts international experience on a resume. This is often seen as a highly valued and respected trait, and can be an indicator for a whole host of both hard and soft skills. Going overseas to work can expose you to a whole new set of challenges and obstacles that you wouldn’t find in your home country.
of graduates with international experience found a job within 12 months of graduating, compared with only 49% of the general graduate population
It often is the distinguishing factor between two similarly qualified candidates and could mean the difference between getting hired or not. Having prior experience in a foreign workplace is highly desirable to any multinational company and could open up positions once you return back home. Some of the skills you may learn are easily transferrable to positions worldwide or may even be used to innovate in your home country!
You can also be exposed to a different kind of customer or clientele in your overseas work, increasing your capabilities and confidence in working with a broader range of people. Participating in a global internship is a big tick on the resume for many employers and could help you secure another overseas job in the future.
of recruiters actively seek employees who have overseas experience
of graduates believe the skills they obtained overseas helped them land their first career
2. Increase Cultural Awareness
It goes without saying that the best way for you to understand a foreign culture is to immerse yourself in it. Through undergoing an international internship you’ll not only learn all about the working and business culture, but also get to experience other areas of life such as how social interactions are different. This is highly valuable in both your professional and personal lives.
Thoroughly understanding the local culture will help you to connect with customers better, as well as making you more aware of the impact culture plays on societies all across the globe. When learning about another culture you begin to become aware of your own culture. You can become aware of the cultural lens that you see the world through and begin to explore your own culture in a whole new light. Imagine learning what it means to be a tourist in your home country! Whether you just learn about a fancy new food, or become best friends with some locals, you’ll be forever changed and even more attuned to the colourful rainbow that is culture!
Graduates who choose to work overseas can earn on average
more than the same position in their home country
3. Expand Your Skills & Network
With the world becoming more interconnected every day, employers are increasingly looking towards professionals with global experience. This is in part due to the experience and skills gained through these global internships, but also due to the networks and relationships that created during your global internship. Many Australian companies have the need for connections all over the world with jobs in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and more. With the world becoming more interconnected every day, employers are increasingly looking towards professionals with global experience.
Variety, uniqueness and experience are all important in today’s marketplace. Overseas experience certainly does assist in standing out from the crowd. Having an understanding of how another country operates, especially if you are applying for a role with an international organisation or one that deals with overseas clients is certainly advantageous.
– Eva Grabner, Elite Recruitment
This is in part due to the experience and skills gained through these global internships, but also due to the networks and relationships that created during your global internship. Many Australian companies have the need for connections all over the world with jobs in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and more.
For example graduates from internships in New York could return with extensive knowledge of how Wall Street works, and connections with managers in large American and global banks, or graduates from internships in London maybe return with industry connections from finance to fashion. Overseas internships are also a great chance for you to go outside your comfort zone and explore new areas of work that may be new to you.
Top Industries For Interns
In some countries, you may be viewed as a skilled worker, even if you’ve never had experience in the role before! Coming from such a developed nation with a world-renowned reputation as a leading educator, businesses in lesser-developed countries may be ecstatic at your presence in their workforce. This can lead to opportunities that may have been off limits to you if you were doing an internship in Melbourne or elsewhere in Australia. This could lead to rapid advancement and access to higher-level responsibilities, a crucial requirement for managerial positions back home.
In Australia especially, more Universities are starting to offer incentives for students to take part in overseas programs and internships. With government funding, grants and scholarships offered at every Australian University, the chances are that there’s an option for you to expand your skills and leverage your experience in any future careers you might pursue.For instance, Deakin University has a target to have 20% of their students take part in some overseas experience during their course, and Sydney University has a target of 25%.
4. Personal Development
Not only do you learn more about the world and your work, but you’ll also learn a large amount about yourself during a global internship. Forcing yourself to step outside of your comfort zone will help develop invaluable life skills such as confidence, communication, organisation, and independence. You’ll learn how to adapt to new situations, and have fun doing so.
Often participating in international internships requires you to undergo the move alone. Being self-sufficient and self-reliable are crucial skills that can be applied to not just your professional life, but also in your private part. Ask anyone who has spent time abroad and it’s almost too cliché to say, but you really do grow into a whole new person.
A recent study of employees with international experience have found that they tend to possess greater skill levels in areas important to recruiters:
Learn & Observe
Flexible & Adaptable
Curious & Motivated
Focused on Company Development
5. Learn A New Language
Whilst you’re experiencing everything your new home has to offer, why not put in some extra effort and learn the local language. Assuming you’re working in a non-English speaking country, it is the perfect opportunity to pick up another language.
In a recent study by an executive recruitment agency
Of Executives speak more than one language
From experience, exposure to overseas environments gives you a better understanding of other cultures and traditions which is important in today’s blended workplace. You possess a level of tolerance around people and differences and also an understanding of how business is conducted in other countries, which is especially important in executives.
– Eva Grabner, Elite Recruitment
Immersion is widely regarded as the best and most effective way of picking up a foreign tongue, and language lessons are never going to be cheaper than where the entire population already speaks it. Even if you do go somewhere that is predominantly English speaking, why not try learning a local language, such as Gaelic or Welsh in the UK?
Not only a purely recreational endeavour, speaking more than one language opens many doors to future job prospects worldwide. Companies regularly seek multi-lingual professionals to act as communication and cultural bridges between offices or foreign clients. Another benefit? Employees with language skills are more likely to progress into higher executive and manager positions.
6. Travel the World
Global work and travel often go hand in hand. Making that initial long-haul flight out of Australia can be a daunting task, but once you’re out, the world is your oyster. With internships in London allowing you to spend your weekends in Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Berlin and more, many global experiences aren’t complete without some form of further travel.
After all, how are you going to learn all about that culture if you don’t experience it! Not many areas of the world are as remote as Australia, and the ability to travel affordably and efficiently in regions such as Europe, South America, or Asia has never been easier. Work hard, play hard!
While we’ve only given you six reasons, there are countless more. Moving overseas, if only for a short time, can be daunting and challenge you in many different ways, but there’s always going to be a fun side. Learning new skills, meeting new people, and experiencing a new way of life are opportunities not to be missed. Jump in head first, you’ll thank me later!
Managing Director, Elite Recruitment
This article was contributed by Eva Grabner, A highly professional and successful Executive Recruiter and Search Consultant with nearly a decade of Executive Recruitment and Human Resource experience across a multitude of industries.