How To Score An Internship Abroad
For most, interning overseas sounds like a pipedream. After all, why on earth would they want to hire you over someone local? It’s usually, cheaper, more efficient, and runs much less risk in terms of running into logistical/communication barriers. In yet, even if you think that interning overseas sounds next to impossible, it’s actually much more accessible than you might think.
Over the past decade, interning abroad has grown tremendously. There are a few factors we have to take into consideration with this. First, a lot of U.S. based companies have operations overseas and find it valuable to start training potential employees while they’re in school to learn the language and get accustomed to their operations. Additionally, there are numerous cultural benefits as well, which can become incredibly valuable to American firms. However, even with all these fantastic factors involved, it’s still a lot of commitment on both ends, both with their respective time and finances.
It’s true that to get an internship overseas; you’re going to have work much harder than trying to get something at home. These people want to see that they’re bringing over the best first, with the ability to enjoy their culture and community your benefit, not theirs. In yet, landing a gig like this can leave an incredible impression upon you for the rest of your life, which is why I’m going to show a little bit on how it’s done.
Finding The Right Fit
The most important step in your search is going to be finding a business that you feel like will accelerate your career first and foremost, with where they’re located a secondary factor. Whether it be a startup or major corporation, it’s also important to note that these people are going to want to bring you into both their culture and workflow and having someone come overseas for that can be a tough task on their end. However, there are a few ways that you can accomplish compiling a list.
First, start looking at the companies that excite or interest you the most. What do you like about them? Why do you want to work there? Could you see yourself there after the internship is over? These are critical questions to answer, because to them, where you're from doesn’t matter, but rather what you can bring to the table. Additionally, while it may be in your strongest desires to experience what it’s like to work overseas, for their company, it’s just another day at the office. Sure, they might love their city or country, but they’re used to it, so the fact that you want to experience something new isn’t exactly a major factor in their decision.
I know it sounds dull, but treat this like you would any other job to really hone in on finding the right company for you. Compile a list large enough that you can both find interest in, as well as pitch consistently too. Categorize your choices as your top choices (and why), all the way down to potential safety nets. Remember, this is an exercise of growth of your career, where all the extra benefits of traveling will fall into place after you touch down.
Writing The Pitch
How you come off to these people is going to make or break your opportunity. Remember, while you might have dreams about spending your summer in Singapore or Berlin, these people don’t want to hear about how you want to live there, they want to hear about what you’re going to do for their firm and how you’re going to do it.
As you’re most likely not the only person that wants to intern abroad, these folks are going to come across a ton of applications. That’s why it’s imperative you compile a quality cover letter, as well as a killer resume (plus going above and beyond on any other assignments they might require). Make your pitch short and sweet, going after the primary points listed above (the what and how), as well as a brief about you, your goals, and how you want to develop a career there. This should be no longer than 3-4 short paragraphs (around three sentences), with a call-to-action included as well. While this is going to take some practice at first, getting in the habit of this will not only serve you well for the internship but continuing along for the rest of your career as well.
While getting an internship overseas can be tough, it can also be one of the most worthwhile experiences of your young career. Get started early, build a solid pipeline, and go after the ones you want. If so, I promise that you’ll be landing abroad in no-time.