Part III: Why You Need an International Internship

Brian Brinkman

Last week we gave you three more reasons why you need an international internship in the summer of 2016. We hope they helped you once again to take this important step in your life and career!

Here’s Part III of Global Experiences Three-Part Guide!

Click for Part I  and Part II

Apply Knowledge & Skills to the Real World

Knowledge is the power

In the same sense as how an International Internship provides you with hands-on experience, it also allows you the chance to apply the theoretical knowledge you’ve gained, and skills you’ve mastered in college, to the real world. Think about it: all the information you’ve attained from the countless hours you’ve spent in the psych lab, pouring over government policy research, or memorizing formulas in Econ has real merit and value. Further, your ability to juggle multiple classes, study a bit later for that big midterm, work a part-time job to pay the bills, volunteer for your Fraternity, and socialize with your friends, displays an ability to properly manage your time, while also pushing yourself towards larger goals. These lessons and skills are equally important and essential once you reach the real world.

All that said, until you’ve actually applied these lessons and skills in a real world setting, you won’t know what to do with them. With only 23% of employers claiming recent grads know how to properly apply their knowledge and skills to real jobs, this is a clear area that college students have to improve upon.

An international internship offers you the opportunity to see firsthand the kind of information you’ve attained through college, and the skills you’ve developed. More importantly, however, is it offers you a risk-free opportunity to further develop and improve upon the areas you need to work on most. Because you are paying for your internship experience, you’ll want to get the most out of it. By paying attention to the areas of your job you are thriving in, and taking note of those you need to work harder at, you’ll be able to make the necessary adjustments – while developing perspective – once it’s time for you to enter the real world.

The reality is, that in this day and age, employers have to hire experienced candidates; some would say this number is close to 95%. Without an internship to show you what you’ve learned – and what more you need to learn – you’ll be entering the workforce lacking both experience and insight into what you’re truly good at. This lack of understanding about yourself and your ability could be the tipping point between landing that all-important first job.

Advice from an Alumn:

“I interned at a small art gallery right next to the Arno River. My mentors at the gallery named me the "assistant art director.” Not only did I learn about the business / marketing side of the art world, but I learned a new language and the hospitality side as well. I applied right before graduation not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. After going through this program, I now have a clear view of my future and what I want to do with the rest of my life.” - Kaitlin Haley

Become More Creative

Be Creative

Perhaps the most beneficial experience and skill to be gained in an international internship is simply to be more creative. As you’ll soon discover upon entering the working world, the most successful people are usually the most creative. They are not afraid to take risks, to question the way something has always worked, and to fail, so long as they know they’re working towards a larger, more innovative goal. The mechanisms for business and organizations are constantly evolving and being reworked. An internship is a fantastic insight into this process, and the overall need for creative types within each industry & field.

For much of your time in college, you’ve been presented with rules and formulas and historical examples of what works. Yet, once you get your first job, you quickly realize that the best companies are those that - while they respect the past - don’t always adhere to the preconceptions of what has always worked. At your internship you’ll learn under mentors who will show you how they attack and rebuild their daily responsibilities, while constantly seeking improved results. To take this one step further, at an international internship, you’ll experience how people from different cultures approach their companies overall goal. This exposure will show you – perhaps for the first time ever – that not everyone thinks like you, and that in many cases, there’s no right – or wrong - way to accomplish a task. You’ll understand the critical importance of being creative when it comes to small, daily tasks, and larger, abstract goals alike.

While most students (57%) believe they’re sufficiently creative, nearly half of all employers polled disagree with them. The reality is, until you’ve been put in the situation where your job, or your livelihood depends on you solving an issue with outside-the-box thinking, the concept remains a foreign one. Seeing as this is such a critical skill to have, wouldn’t it be best to discover the tools needed to access it before you leave the comforts of college?

Advice from an Alumn:

“I learned very quickly that I was actually pretty good at selling real art. This was reinforced constantly at my internship, and I learned to trust my judgment. With Global Experiences there’s always someone there if you need, but the independence provided to interns is so critical. The Head of Sales reinforced my talent while showing me new was to approach my craft. This insight was absolutely invaluable to me at that point in my life.” – Jillian Wood

Prepare Yourself for the Challenges of Searching for a Job

Prepare Yourself for the Challenges

Perhaps the most important reason why you need an international internship is also the most basic: it will help to prepare you for the inevitable challenges of searching for a job. Finding the right internship program can be as challenging as finding the right job. You must do your research to know what kinds of opportunities each program offers and you have to present yourself as a professional so as to be accepted into a program. The process of finding a job requires patience, confidence, and persistence. By pursuing an international internship in the summer after your junior year, you’ll be experienced in the best strategies and daily challenges that are asked of you.

What’s more, the best internship programs understand how challenging it is to find your first job, and thus are prepared to help you plan for, not only your internship, but also – and more importantly – to help you develop your career edge. By focusing on career development, helping you to understand your strengths, perfecting your cover letter and resume, and guiding you through interviewing tactics, the pre-departure period of your internship program will provide you with skills and insights that will set you apart in your job search.

Searching for a job requires oral and written communication, it requires critical thinking, the ability to be innovative, and problem solving tactics. With more than 70% of employers stating that recent grads come up short in all of these fields, how can you afford not to get the kind of training and preparation for the real world that you get through an international internship? The kind of research and preparation that goes into selecting the right internship for you will help you immensely when the time comes for you to begin searching for your first job. Further, the training offered as part of an international internship will ultimately provide you with the kinds of foundational skills one needs to best approach their job search.

Advice from an Alumn:

“During my enrollment period with Global Experiences I had to complete an application form and send in a cover letter and resume for their review. It was pretty nerve racking for someone with little experience but it was really great to hone down on your writing skills. Global Experiences also provided help on my application by providing me with samples. It was very exciting and I was extremely nervous to hear back on my application but they kept in the loop of every step of the way.” – Julie Duong

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