How would you like to be an intern in the British parliament? Or teach English in Japan? With an international internship, you’ll show employers that you have a knowledge of international business, as well as the ability to work in another culture.
Placement Programs That Send You Abroad
To find an international internship, start with your school. Colleges and universities sponsor many overseas internship programs. You can sometimes get credit and financial aid for your internship. Check your academic department or study abroad office for more information.
Exchange and placement programs also offer paid and unpaid internships. Submit your criteria and they select openings that fit your needs. Start by checking out:
- The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE): One of the largest international education organizations, the CIEE offers work, study and travel programs for students all over the world.
- The British Universities North America Club: provides opportunities for students from Great Britain, the U.S. and other countries to work and study overseas.
- The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience: lets you work in jobs relevant to your studies.
Going Straight to the Source
You don’t have to go through a placement program to get an internship. By going directly to international organizations or businesses, you can discover some incredible opportunities.
To learn about how businesses and governments run internationally, check out internships with public multinational organizations. These organizations offer a truly global perspective by bringing together representatives from all over the world. Most of these internships are unpaid; paid internships are generally reserved for graduate students. Some good places to start your search include:
Private corporations like Proctor & Gamble and Coca-Cola can also be a good source of internships. Larger companies may offer more clout, but smaller local firms are likely to be less competitive. Most internships with private industry pay enough to cover basic living expenses.
Non-government organizations (NGOs) are non-profit organizations that focus on topics ranging from human rights to research. For more information NGOs and other non-profit international groups, see the Union of International Associations.
International educational organizations are always looking for English-speaking teachers. You usually need a bachelor’s degree and must commit to at least one year of service. Check out these programs:
- Teach English in Japan through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program.
- The International Educators’ Network Association offers a searchable database of overseas teaching opportunities.
Get Ready to Go
If you want to do an internship abroad, you need to plan ahead. Deadlines for summer programs can be as early as November 1. And make sure you have time to:
- Get a passport, work permit and visa (if applicable).
- Plan how you are going to cover living and traveling expenses. Many internships are unpaid.
- Clearly define your job duties with the sponsoring organization.
- Find out from the country’s consulate if you need any vaccinations.
- Ask about opportunities for academic credit or scholarships.
- Ask the sponsoring organization to help you locate housing.
- Familiarize yourself with the language through classes or tapes.
- Research the country’s history, politics, economy, traditions, etc.
Interning abroad proves you have initiative, experience and a global perspective. Your resume will get a boost, and you’ll have the opportunity of a lifetime.