If we're traditionally speaking, there’s been no better way for young people to travel all over the world for the past half-century than through Studying Abroad. Almost not even needing an explanation anymore, students can partake in university-sponsored programs, gain credit, live amongst their classmates, and experience a completely new culture for a semester. This was the gateway to the world for a generation of American college students.
So, what's changed? If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Well, as we continue to move into an ever-more interconnected and globalized world, one question must be asked: is Study Abroad is still the best, and most critical way for a college student to travel? With employers craving real skills and experience for entry-level positions, and millennials comprising 40% of the total unemployment rate in the US, is there a better way to travel internationally and leverage your experience at the same time?
The clear alternative to Studying Abroad is an International Internship. Structured in many ways like a Study Abroad program, students who Intern Abroad are eligible for credit, live amongst other students, and will be thrust into a totally new culture for an 8-12 week program. The biggest difference between the two however, is the hands-on work experience one gains in an internship. This not only provides students with a deeper insight into their new city, but also the essential boost to their resume upon graduation from college.
All of this is not to say that there’s no reason why one wouldn’t want to – nor shouldn’t – Study Abroad while in college. I Studied Abroad in college, and it’s still one of the best experiences of my entire life. It has its clear merits and values. However, with such a limited window to set your career path, and seeing as most students only have the opportunity to live and study/work overseas once during college, it’s important to understand the differences between the two before making a decision on which is right for you.
Take a look at our Study Abroad v Intern Abroad Matrix below to gain a true understanding of what’s offered by each, and what differentiates
This is where the similar benefits of Studying Abroad & Interning Abroad end. As you can see, for as valuable as the experience of living and traveling overseas in a Study Abroad program is, in terms of long-term, tangible benefits, it continuously falls short of an International Internship. With how little time today’s young professionals have to truly make an impact in the job market, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to take the extra step to not only gain the personal benefits of travel, but also those that are professional in nature?
Read on to see the further added benefits of an International Internship.
The most critical difference between Studying Abroad & Interning Abroad. Not only are you proving yourself to be different than your peers, but by gaining hands-on work experience, developing your professional documents, meeting people within your field, and constantly developing your professional skills, you will understand how best to track your career.
Having the experience to prove that you can work in your field, as well as the direction of what’s right for YOU is essential in getting your career started right. Over half of Global Experiences’ alum credit their internship in giving them the direction they needed in their career. More so than differentiating yourself from your peers, employers crave direction. They want to know that when you’re applying/interviewing for a job it is the right job for YOU, and not just the other way around.