Part II: Why You Need an International Internship

Brian Brinkman

Last week we gave you the top three reasons why you need an international internship on your resumé.. We hope they help you to take this important step in your life and career!

Check out Part II of Global Experiences Three-Part Guide!

Click for Part I  and Part III

4. There’s Only One Summer after Your Junior Year

It’s become increasingly clear that the summer after your Junior Year is the most critical one of your college career. With your core credits complete, your Junior Year is the one where you’ve transitioned into the meat of your Major. Upper division classes, in-depth group projects, and a more refined approach to your studies defines this critical year. Now is the time to apply the information you’ve learned into an internship that will show you if this field is one you ultimately want to pursue beyond graduation.

In just over a year you’re going to be going to start applying for full-time jobs, taking part in job interviews, and beginning your career. This is a nuanced world where you must understand and display the social cues and professional demeanor in order to land the job you’re hoping for. You must become adept at interview preparation, understand your own personal branding, and have all your professional documents in order.

An internship is the perfect opportunity to explore the professional world for the first time, and learn the ropes of it. According to 28% of employers, recent graduates lack proper oral communication skills required to thrive in their roles. Much of the reason for this is the overall experience they lack in the work environment, something which you immediately gain through an internship. With just over a year to go before you’ll be entering the real world, what better time than now to take that first step?


Advice from an Alumn: “Developing the confidence to know that you can achieve anything takes you a really long way. Global Experiences sets people up for success; however YOU define success.”Jacqueline Susuni


5. Build a Network

build a network

Ever hear the phrase, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? You may scoff at it now, but once you leave the structured confines of the University, developing a network of colleagues and contacts will help you to advance your career more often than not. Check out this essay from my colleague Chrissie, which focuses on the importance and impact of networking.

The reality is everyone struggles to get ahead in their career at some point. By building a network of people who understand your value and your career aspirations, you’ll have a group of people to help you throughout your career, particularly when you’re looking to make a transition. In a job market where the typical person stays in a job for just 4.5 years, your network will be essential as your career develops.

Your internship will be your first opportunity to introduce yourself to the professional world. There you’ll meet people who started where you’re at now. You can develop mentors and gain critical advice from people who are currently established in the field you’re hoping to enter. These people will in turn introduce you to other people within your field, thus establishing your network. Your network is essential to your career, and an internship is a fantastic opportunity for you to lay the seeds of it.


Advice from an alumn: “It’s necessary to surround yourself with good people. This makes you more responsible for yourself and your work. The Head of Sales at the gallery I worked at has been instrumental in my career. She’s given me advice, and directly helped me with the two internships I got in New York following my time in London.” – Jillian Wood

6. Decide If a Career Field Is Right for You

One of the greatest benefits of an international internship is its ability to show you if a career field is right or wrong for you. Seeing as you won’t truly know if you want to pursue a career in the field you’re majoring in until you’ve actually started, there’s nothing like the hands-on experience, and day-to-day repetition of an internship to prove this to you. A common fear of many college students is not knowing what they want to do upon graduation. This is equally understandable, and now, thanks to the plethora of internship opportunities, totally solvable!

While you might be completely enamored with the idea of designing your own line of summer dresses, or writing your own music column, or crunching the numbers for a hedge fund, there are a number of mundane tasks and earned responsibilities required of your job that you’re probably totally unaware of right now. In the aforementioned survey on student’s preparedness for the work field, only 29% of employers believe students can adequately locate, organize, or evaluate necessary information. Further, only 28% of employers believe students are prepared to truly work with numbers and statistics, only 27% believe students have proper writing skills, and only 25% believe students are equally critical, creative, or skilled in problem solving. These hard skills are required across a multitude of career fields.

Without the kind of hands-on experience you’ll receive in an international internship, you have no way of knowing whether or not your field is right for you. The ideal you have for your future job is most likely a vague idea of a position unattainable until you’ve proven yourself, and grown from the ground-up. Are you willing to put in the work to grow into the position you’ve dreamed for yourself? How will you know until you’ve done it?

Advice from an Alumn: “Every single day of my internship was different. I worked outside the office a lot, and earned a lot of freedom. I have used everything I learned in my internship in my first real job. I had no idea what I wanted to do until I actually did it on a daily basis in an internship.” – Brittnay Hanaran

Look for part 3 of Global Experiences guide to why you need an international internship!

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