What to Know About International Internship Programs
International internship programs are a fantastic option for anyone interested in completing a college semester and earning the necessary credits abroad. So, in addition to all these practical benefits, you get to experience an entirely new culture. Moreover, depending on where you go, you get to learn a foreign language. All that while enjoying delicious new cuisines and soaking in beautiful landscapes and sights.
Furthermore, once you get an internship abroad, your academic portfolio receives a boost. Also, you will amp up your resume and make some great new connections. Regardless of whether you do a paid or unpaid internship, whether it's long or short-term, it is a valuable experience that will do wonders for your career.
Who are international internship programs for?
Typically, undergraduate students, those who have recently graduated, and young professionals are most interested in securing an internship abroad. Their goal is to strengthen and diversify their work experience. There is a simple reason that makes the prospect of an international internship so enticing. It is an incredible chance to mix the love for travel with new experiences and knowledge. Whether you are a student looking for a premed internship or medical elective abroad to gain work experience and learn, or you want to take a gap year and volunteer, this unique opportunity allows you to learn and grow. And it will make you a perfect and desirable candidate for any future position.
What are the requirements for an internship abroad?
When it comes to the requirements necessary for securing an international internship, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Depending on the type of internship or the job type, the requirements will vary. For example, some internships demand that you stay for an entire school year. Other programs have different prerequisites, for instance, a particular class. There are also language requirements. So, if you want to intern in an English-speaking country, you will need a specific level of fluency and likely a certificate to prove it.
In addition to potential academic requirements, time constraints, and level of fluency in a particular language, you may also need:
- an updated resume
- a valid passport (visa may also be necessary, depending on where you come from and where you are going; more on that in the next section)
- academic credit transfer (make sure you check whether it will be possible to transfer the internship credits before you apply).
Visas are a potentially complicated topic when it comes to international internship programs. If you need a visa for interning in a specific country, you may be wondering what type of visa you will need. Is it a student, travel, or work visa?
It all depends on the country you are going to, your job description, and your nationality. In many cases, countries will allow you to do an internship no longer than three months with a tourist visa. In other instances, the country may require contact with the internship organization before you apply for a visa. So, it would be best to discuss this with the internship placement provider you have chosen and get all the necessary information.
What are the costs of internship programs abroad?
Many people assume that international internship programs cost nothing. However, this is not the case, and the expenses can vary a lot. Also, things are not as simple as there is a lot to take into account when considering the cost of this experience. Firstly, you will have to pay for the reservation deposit and other booking costs that will likely not include your travel expenses, necessary vaccines (if applicable), personal expenses outside your program, etc. Moreover, the amount you will pay will depend on where you go, what kind of program it is, or how long you will stay. You will have to research this independently and discuss it with the organization responsible for your internship placement.
Furthermore, there are paid and unpaid internship programs. The unpaid ones mainly provide only academic credit, and you will have to cover your expenses yourself. On the other hand, there is a way to get an internship for free, but it will demand a lot of leg work on your part and some serious logistics.
Should you choose a paid or unpaid internship?
As we have already hinted a few times, there are paid and unpaid internship programs. Paid ones offer hourly wages or a stipend. As you can expect, these programs are very competitive, and if you want to get them, you will probably need more work experience.
On the other hand, there is an opportunity to get an unpaid internship. Although many would find this prospect unappealing, some unpaid programs offer a lot of value, and it's highly advisable to consider them as well. Given that they welcome applicants with little or no experience, you will secure a place more easily. Moreover, as an inexperienced recent graduate, you get an excellent opportunity to gain valuable work experience in your field and land a fantastic job later. As you are probably already familiar with, companies are often reluctant to hire young people with no experience. Well, unpaid internships are a great way to bypass this obstacle.
So, although the prospect of working for no compensation may seem unappealing, you should consider this opportunity. If you do, you will enjoy tremendous benefits. Moreover, who knows what the future holds. Perhaps you will like the idea of moving abroad for good. Living and working in a foreign country opens your mind to new experiences. It also allows you to build relationships you probably wouldn't in your home country. So, if you decide to do so and start your life in a completely new location, the only thing you will need to secure is a stress-free move. And once you transfer your entire life abroad, you will have no problem settling in the new environment because you have already done it.
There is no doubt that international internship programs are highly beneficial for young professionals, students, and recent graduates. If you are interested in a program in Africa, explore our business programs, healthcare internships, and volunteer camps and choose the option that suits you best.