A summer internship abroad, if you are lucky to land one, is one of the best experiences you can have in college. You will get to explore new places, meet new people, experience different cultures and cuisines, and most of all, get amazing hands-on work experience that you wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere.
At the end of it, the value it adds to your resume as a prospective hire is unmatchable, as international experience is something employers value heavily. With companies going global and focusing on newer, emerging markets, candidates with a global outlook and the ability to thrive in different geographies are valued and highly sought after.
However, with new avenues constantly opening up abroad, there are a few things one has to bear in mind so as to select an internship that delivers the most value.
Here are 8 things to consider before applying for a summer internship abroad:
1. Possibility of a full-time job
As with any internship, one of the main goals is to enable you to get a full-time offer at the end of the internship.
Companies often prefer hiring from among interns because they don’t need to spend time in training them or aligning them with the culture, as this would’ve been done in the internship period. Additionally, they would’ve assessed you based on the work you performed versus hiring someone based their resume.
So, you need to research on the conversion rates of the internships into full-time offers, at the companies for which you are selected.
2. Alignment with your career goals
An internship can be used as a stepping stone towards building your career if chosen correctly. Often times, students do internships that add little to no value to their careers and it’s too late by the time they realise it.
You need to look for an internship that aligns with your career goals early on, ensuring that you aren’t wasting your summer in an industry that you’ll probably never work in.
3. Good work-culture
Before you pick your international internship, do some research on the work-culture of the organization. Read what other people have to say about working in that firm. Also, reach out to people who are currently working there to understand more about the culture and style of working.
If you travel halfway across the world, for a seemingly glamorous international internship, only to find out that the work culture there is sub-par, it will be an enormous waste of your time and money, and you won’t even be left with the work experience you seek.
4. Enhanced scope of work
As with any internship, enquire about the scope of the work involved at the company you are going to intern with.
Companies that offer cross-functional roles which involve utilising several skills and interaction with multiple teams should be your first choice. Gaining exposure to the various aspects of a company’s business will be invaluable experience.
Start-ups in this regard offer the best value. The more hands-on experience you have, the greater your value as a potential hire later on in your career.
5. Good organisational structure
When you intern in a foreign country, you will need guidance and assistance in settling in. In addition, being able to get as much hands-on experience and exposure to different aspects of the company you work for, is an added advantage.
To be able to achieve this, you would need to work for a company that has an open and approachable management structure. This will also help you network better and provides for an incredible learning experience as you can seek mentorship from people who have a significantly more experience.
Choosing a company with good organisational structure goes a long way in ensuring that your internship abroad is a success.
6. Ease of getting a visa
While you may have an amazing internship offer, the dreaded visa process can be the dream killer.
The ease of getting a visa and the time it takes for visa applications to get processed varies greatly from country to country. Make sure that you are aware of the various visa requirements. Also ensure you keep enough time for completion of all procedures and for the processing of your visa. If your potential employer isn’t taking care of the visa, you can approach an agency to take care of it for you.
7. Access to medical facilities
Another important aspect to keep in mind is the ease of access to medical facilities.
While it may be completely safe to visit and work in your country of choice, ensure that you are aware of the standard of medical care and your access to them. As long as you have taken your shots, as prescribed by your organization and your country’s health department, you should mostly be safe from major infections.
However, even if it may be a small stomach trouble or fever or something minor, it would be better to be prepared with some careful planning.
8. Restrictions in the country (gender, sexual orientation, race)
While we may enjoy our freedom, liberties and may have grown up in a modern and open environment, it may not be the same in other places.
Countries where discrimination based on gender, race, sexual orientation or restrictions on how one can dress are prevalent should generally be avoided to ensure that you don’t have a bad experience. At the very least, being aware of any restrictions that may be present in a foreign country you’re planning to intern in, ensures that you make a well informed decision.
Countries like India, which is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, offer tremendous potential for personal and professional development through internships in world-class companies.
We at ConnectInc work with you to find you the best fit for your internship requirements to give you the best possible start to a great career. So get in touch with us and apply now!