The truth is, no one enjoys working for free. However, there are times when it’s the only option we have, and we just have to leap. Sometimes this leap increases your chances of landing the career of your dreams. Although most people believe that unpaid internships abroad won’t get you anywhere in life, that’s far from the truth. It is an opportunity that has a lot of benefits to offer you. It can boost your career prospects and make all the difference. Taking it a step further by accepting an unpaid internship abroad accords you with many benefits. By the end of this article, you’ll have learned:
- Benefits of unpaid internships abroad
- Tips to successfully find internships abroad
- Advice for your first internship
Let’s dig right in!
Benefits of Unpaid Internships Abroad
Unpaid internships hold a lot of value for you once explored. Below are 11 benefits of unpaid internships abroad.
One of the top benefits of taking an unpaid internship abroad is that it provides you with valuable real-world experience. This experience comes in handy in the future as it makes you more marketable to whichever company you choose. If you want to become the ideal employee, you have to lay the necessary foundation. Start from the bottom and gather all the technical know-how you need. As you build this professionalism, especially in a new country, you will gain valuable skills companies usually consider. These skills will smoothen the process of getting that entry-level job you’re looking for.
Practicing Theoretical Knowledge
You’ve learned all you need in the classroom; now, you need to see how these theories work in real life. Just because you’ve learned something in school doesn’t mean you have the required experience. A lot goes on beyond a classroom structure, and you need to learn how to apply theories to real-life issues. When you take an unpaid internship abroad, it helps you know what works and what doesn’t among the ideas you’ve learned. You also understand how things work in international communities as compared to your country. Having this knowledge is a proactive step towards landing a job in your desired field.
This benefit is one of the top 11 benefits of unpaid internships abroad and why you should take them. It is a solid opportunity to establish new and lasting relationships with vital people in your chosen field. An unpaid internship abroad is a great way to begin establishing a professional network. This step will make it easier for you to land a job when you’re ready. Entering a professional environment provides you with the opportunity to network. You will have the chance to attend events where you can meet future friends and like-minded people. You will also meet people who share the same goals as you who you wouldn’t have encountered in your typical setting. Sometimes, your professional networks make all the difference between landing and not landing a job.
An Opportunity To Work With Professionals
As stated earlier, your teachers and school projects can only provide you with theoretical knowledge. You gain real-life knowledge when you take an unpaid internship abroad. This unpaid internship accords you the opportunity to get professional feedback from people who have been in the industry for a while. This feedback gives you an edge over many job applicants later because the knowledge garnered places you in a better position to land your desired entry job.
A Chance at Professionalism
Today, most employers value experience and won’t consider you for the job if you have none to offer. You can only acquire practical experience outside the classroom, and you get an edge when you gain international experience. Unpaid internships will help you develop a professional attitude for the workplace. You will learn the best ways to conduct yourself at work and the preferred traits you should have. The experience will also include techniques that will help make you a better networker. You will learn the ideal way to present yourself in business settings and showcase the professionalism employers are always considering.
It Boosts Your Confidence
The first time you dive into the real world will be scary for you; it’s easy to think that you’ll crash and burn. Fear not. Taking up a paid internship allows you to learn your weakness and where your strengths lie. You will learn from your mistakes, and your confidence will flourish. The more successful you become in the real world, the more confident you become. This confidence will even positively affect your school performance, and you will learn how to step out of your comfort zone. You will also be more willing to take on professional tasks that will help your career soar.
Helps You Get Comfortable With Your Future Profession
One sad realization most people experience in their lifetime is that they no longer like their job once they get it. This is because of the challenges that come with the job and the inability to navigate the obstacles. The best way to know if you’re comfortable with a job is to gain initial experience on the job. Once you understand how things work and face the challenges, you can learn the best methods to overcome them. This way, you won’t be overwhelmed or develop a dislike for the job due to stress when you finally get your dream.
Teaches You How To Be More Marketable
This benefit is one of the top 11 benefits of unpaid internships abroad and is another primary reason you should seriously consider an internship abroad. When you have the opportunity to work on a real-world project, you will market yourself to employers better. During an interview, you can point on significant projects you worked on in the company and how you could contribute. This experience would not be available to share if you hadn’t taken the internship. You could also get a reference letter from your boss to place you in a better position in front of potential employers.
Acquiring New Skills
While schools try to prepare you for reality outside the classroom, it is never enough. Transitioning from school to the real-world setting can sometimes be overwhelming. In school, you have to deal with theoretical problems, while in an internship, you’re faced with real-life situations. An unpaid internship setting helps you develop critical thinking and learn how to work under pressure. You also know how to manage tight deadlines and react to situations differently. These skills are some things schools try to teach but can never quite achieve.
It Could Turn Into a Real Job
After you get your degree, you would want to get a job immediately. That’s the main reason why you went to school in the first place. However, this is not usually the reality for most people once they graduate. Most times, the search for a job is tasking and doesn’t yield any fruit. When you carry out an unpaid internship and put in all your effort, you can apply to the company after graduation. With the networking opportunities that an internship offers, you’re better positioned to get a job after school.
Helps You Discover What’s Right For You
Most people realize that they don’t like their career path once they’re set on it. When you take an unpaid internship, it will help you gain insight as to whether the career you chose in school is something you will enjoy or not. The last thing you’re looking for is to be stuck in a career path that you will hate for most of your life. An unpaid internship abroad can help you gain this life-changing information and help you seek more fulfilling directions.
Tips to Successfully Find Unpaid Internships Abroad
Sometimes, you don’t know where to find an internship abroad. Jobs are scarce even when they’re unpaid. Most students usually look for internships that will offer them educational and work opportunities. To help you along, below are some tips on how you can successfully find an internship abroad.
Figure Out What You’re Looking For
Before seeking an internship abroad, you have to figure out why you would like to travel overseas first. You can explore many opportunities you wouldn’t be able to get at home, even in a paid internship. Knowing what you’re looking for will help you direct your search towards the right internship to provide you with the right experience. You should also understand the differences in each program and which best suits your needs.
Keep an Open Mind
Once you figure out what you want, ensure you keep an open mind. Keep your search broad. Once you have your priorities outlined, you can narrow down your choices. However, ensure you keep an open mind about opportunities coming your way. An internship doesn’t have to meet all your criteria. Sometimes, you might need to compromise on certain factors. For example, you might be able to get an unpaid internship that’s willing to cover some of your expenses. However, sometimes, you might have to handle it all alone. If it is a great opportunity and you can handle the cost, we suggest taking it.
Explore School Resources
Sometimes, international organizations will reach out to your school or state that they would like some interns. Sometimes, it is an NGO that seeks your expertise. Find resources in your school that can point you in the right direction. Talk to fellow students and network with the faculty and teachers in your school to explore your horizon.
Focus On Specific Organization
Do your research on leaders in the industry you’re looking to join. Find out the internships available to students and all the student programs that they have. For example, one internship opportunity you can explore is with the Red Cross. They are continually looking for students who would like to work in the public health industry to train. Different sponsors based abroad provide extensive details about internships abroad that you can explore. Ensure to explore these industry leaders, and they will help you narrow down your choice to the right internship.
Advice For One of Your First Unpaid Internships Abroad
You’ve landed your first internship – Congratulations! It can be overwhelming and confusing when you don’t know what to expect. These tips will help you navigate through your first internship and ensure you stand out as an intern.
It’s normal to feel totally out of place on the first day of your internship. Ensure you put on a brave face and be confident through everything. Don’t give in to the temptation to retreat into a shell. You have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone if you want to make the right impression. You can start by introducing yourself to people in the organization, asking questions when confused, and speaking up at appropriate meetings.
Keep Notes Of Your Activities as an Intern
You have so much to learn in the short time of your internship. It can be overwhelming, so take down notes of tasks you’re carrying out because they might come in handy. You might also need it as a reference for your CV and job interviews.
Take Unpaid Internships Abroad Seriously
Just because it isn’t paid doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it everything you have. Staying motivated when working hard and not getting paid can be difficult, but you have to see it as a stepping stone. This period is just the beginning of what you’ll ultimately earn. Don’t show up late, stay respectful, and ensure you give your best every day.
Request for Feedback
Like every other learning situation, the only way you can improve your abilities is to receive constructive feedback. Ask your superiors what they think of your work so far. Although asking might seem awkward at first, it only shows that you’re humble and ambitious.
Unpaid internships abroad are not necessarily meant for everyone. You have to be willing to work for free for some time. However, there are many opportunities available with an unpaid internship abroad, which could help you start your long-term career. It will also help you satisfy your yearning for adventure and travel. Don’t let your reservations hold you back; there’s a lot to learn in an unpaid internship abroad and lots of fun for you.