Study Abroad Internships

If you’re tired of your pencils, books and all the collegiate shrapnel of university life, you might want to consider taking a semester abroad. Not only will you get a break from your worn-out college routine and get to travel some exciting new (hopefully sunny / beachy) location, but study abroad can also give you a workforce advantage for those post-college years.

Students who study abroad can add international experience to their resumes, even if they don’t complete internships or job training overseas. The fact that they were willing and able to adjust and learn in a foreign environment, and the fact that they have experience and knowledge of other cultures makes them more attractive to employers.

If you want to really boost your resume status, try looking for an internship to go along with your study abroad program. Check the career center at your host college, or hop on the web and do some searches. Study abroad internships are a great way to further your cultural immersion and really learn something about the place you are living, all while boosting your resume. You’ll meet people on a professional level as well as a social level, and you’ll learn a thing or two about international corporate culture. Internships while studying abroad can open some amazing opportunities for future employment, at home, and abroad.

But if you’re not thinking about the post college years yet, you should still study abroad. You should study abroad to break out of the monotony of frat parties and physics classes and go experience a new culture, a new bar scene, and make new friends in foreign lands!

Next time: Study Abroad programs in Italy

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  • Jessica

    Unable to go on a semester abroad during University I created my own course of study after I graduated. My one-month Spanish Intensive offered through the University of Buenos Aires was combined with nightly Tango lessons and provided a wonderful introduction to travel. Being enrolled in a program of study outfitted me with essential language skills, set up a social network and even took care of my initial lodging and transport. The smoothly planned transition left me free to practice my Spanish with locals while sampling their delicious wines and reveling in the romance and history I met at every corner before heading off to explore other locations on my own.

  • Kristen

    It is scary. Boarding a plane headed towards a country that you have never visited, where a language you don’t speak is the only means of communication, and the immersion into a culture so alike but so vastly different from your own will become your reality. But it’s worth every ounce of fear for just that first car ride into the Eternal City. Carving down the winding Roman roads, feeling the breeze of the brightly colored Vespa’s as they cruise by your window, you begin to understand that this will become home.

    Although cliché, “Home is where the heart is,” and I left my heart in Rome. I remember lying in the thick grass of Villa Borghese, looking up at the clear blue sky painted with hot air balloons and realizing I didn’t need to daydream; I was living in one. Waking up to the bells of Saint Peter’s and listening to the scuffles of the extravagant heels worn to work each day by the Italian women on the streets below allowed me to see into a perspective that was bigger than me. I saw a piece of the world that was surviving, just like I was, but surviving with a luster and a drive for life that it awakened my senses to what it really meant to be alive.

    Studying abroad allows us to step outside of our own sheltered worlds and step into the global community. It affords us the priceless gift of getting to see that within just a ten hour plane ride, we are untied with a different set of values, beliefs, mannerisms, and lifestyles. It is unbelievably freeing and yet, undeniably unifying.

    Flooded with questions upon my return, my favorite was, “What did you study while in Italy?” My simple reply: “How to live in Italy and I have so much more to learn.”

  • michelle

    I have studied abroad twice, for two very different reasons:

    First, I studied in Paris, France my sophomore year in college. I learned a new language while getting credit towards my Literature B.A., survived with just a backpack and a eurail pass every vacation possible, and realized the true meaning of personal space and that certain je ne sais quoi.

    Secondly, to Seoul, South Korea, the year after I had graduated, and it wasn’t just a scapegoat from post-graduation anxiety. I went to discover my past and realize my presence as a Korean-American, a completely different education from my time in Europe.

    It is quite interesting how two experiences can be so similar, and then in some ways completely anonymous.

  • katrina

    I spent a year studying at Uppsala, Sweden, a university town just outside of Stockholm. It was the perfect introduction to life away from home in an international setting – I was able to establish friendships with not only with Swedes but other international students from all over the world. My study abroad year is an important milestone in my life because it allowed me to grow into a more confident person. I was also able to finance the whole experience on my own which is a huge accomplishment for a university student! I have many stories from my year abroad which I love to tell over and over again – If you are interested feel free to contact me!

  • ElizM

    I lived in London for a semester overseas with BU. I completed a fabulous British Media and Culture study abroad and internship program for my degree. It was such a great experience and I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who is considering a similar program.

    I had such a good time and learned so much. I also completed an internship with young Canadian entrepreneur running her own PR firm. It was just the two of us in her office. We arranged art gallery viewings, represented fine art galleries and individual artists. We pitched a lot of radio interviews, wrote press releases and even discussed a store window display with Harrods, which was to have featured a prestigious art gallery. Unfortunately, the store window display did not happen but I will never forget the months I interned and studied in London.

    A study abroad experience is the way to go. It’s a life changing and eye-opening experience. Don’t miss out on pursuing this opportunity if you can afford to do so. Exploring a new city, learning about international business practices and customs and making new friends are only a few highlights that you are sure to enjoy. On top of that, you will receive credit towards your diploma. What could be better than that?

  • H

    Okay, okay, enough of the Cheez Whiz. Study abroad is an awe-inspiring, blessed experience, full of rare wonder and fulfillment. With this, I completely agree. But I vote we stop using the industrial-sized can of every college kid’s favorite topping and start being more realistic.

    Those considering studying abroad need encouragement. They need to know how much such an experience will change their lives, because it will, and that it’s okay to jump in to what may seem like the unknown black hole, because it is. But they also need to understand how HARD it can be; illusions are dangerous things to break, and the broken glass teardrops of a fragile disposition sharp and shattered, indeed. Let me introduce you to my first-semester roommate.

    I studied abroad in Athens, Greece for a year. The school grouped us with at least two other same-sex students, and threw us in apartments. The facilities were wonderful for Athens–tiny little flats, but in one of the best neighborhoods, and every Saturday the farmer’s market bloomed beneath our balconies. Liz (let’s call her Liz) was agenuinely sweet girl, sugar-coated with the youth of being a few years younger than the rest of us, and passionately dedicated to her Classical studies. But after a few weeks, she began to realize…she wasn’t going home–for a while. Her lifelong friends were partying it up without her, she could rarely afford the long-distance call to Ohio, and even when she could, no one related to what she was experiencing. She couldn’t stroll into that cute corner market down the street and simply buy what she needed, because the luxury of a common language had been stripped, hanging on by a few, simple words of mutual understanding. And all that weight!
    she lost last year? Yep, slowly creeping back on from the PILES of rich (absolutely delicious) food bestowed on us by staff, cheap restaurants, and that nice old lady in 2B who we thought (weren’t sure) was trying to tell us she had granddaughters our age. The streets were filthy, the air saturated with industrial pollution, and the men catcalled us EVERY TIME we hiked the mile down (or back up) the long, broken-marbled hill to the school. To say it was a cakewalk would be a serious misconception. She broke down in week four, sobbing plaintively through her classes, and locking herself in the bedroom as soon as she got home. Liz made it through the first semester (God bless her), and the moment finals were over joyously crammed her bag full of souveniers that said nothing about her experience, and sang her way to the airport.

    Now, granted, this was a bit of an extreme case. Most having a hard time adjusting will snap out of it within a few weeks and decide to have the best time of their lives. But not everyone does, and I believe the rose-colored overwash of romanticism is, at least partially, to blame. She had a fantasy of what modern Greece would be based on what she envisioned ancient Greece to have been, fueled by the well-intentioned, inspring testimonies of those who had gone before. No one had the heart to explain, or perhaps didn’t want to remember, how badly the sewers stank, the realities of not being able to flush toilet paper, and that the little old ladies pushing their way through crowds were more dangerous than they looked.

    I felt bad for her. Hell, sometimes I felt bad for me, but I felt worse no one had prepared her. No one with experience had taken the time to explain that not everyday was going to be a good day. What a travesty! She was a smart girl, a kind girl, but she was the type of girl that needed a warning. “Honesty is the best policy” may be an age-old adage, but damnit, it’s true. Let’s be real, folks, and tell every side of the story–even the tales we don’t want to remember–because it will save some poor gal (or guy) a lot of time crying it out, figuring it out, locked in the bedroom of a foreign country.

  • Christina E

    I was nervous for my first solo international trip, but the personal growth I experienced in combination with the unique cultures I observed far outweighed my initial trepidation. Study abroad programs are an ideal way to begin your international travels. They provide a ready-made entrance into a country’s youth and academic culture, with unique opportunities for additional travel. I had the opportunity to study in Aberdeen, Scotland, but my experience was by no means limited to that city. My program provided travel excursions around the country with fellow students, as well as time off for individual travel. I have desired to travel since I was young, but would have been overwhelmed had I initially attempted it on my own. Studying abroad was the perfect way to initiate myself into traveling, and I now feel confident and prepared to continue my international adventures independently. It was definitely a challenge at times, but that’s what made it worth the risk and what I look forward to in future travel!

  • Sahar

    The travails and festivities of student life are magnified in another country. And that’s what makes it so satisfying. The realm of time between a rough-around-the-edges high school graduate and pliable college graduate is heightened by a jaunt studying abroad. It satisfies the crazy high school teenager’s need for excitement—exotic lovers, curious cocktails—and fulfills the job-seeking degree holder’s need to impress prospective employers with a resume laden with qualities that pump up the resume—risk taker, thinks outside the box—attributes which studying abroad continuously offers you to attain.

    My experience studying abroad in London in 2004 helped me satisfy both spectrums of my college career. For the teenager in me, I dabbled in romance, made lifelong friends; for the serious unemployed grad, I made contacts in British media and got an internship at a prestigious American magazine thanks to my “international background,” i.e. stint in London.

    More than anything, it not only satisfied my wanderlust but also satisfied a need I never knew I had: knowing that if I ever retire my vagabond shoes, I’ll have the luxury of being able to call a place once foreign to me home.