One of the best ways to gain real-world experience is through an internship. International opportunities for young people are as varied as the range of professions in the world.
While some organizations which offer international internships focus on multi cultural experiences, others are simply professional internships which happen to be located in foreign countries. A wise applicant will consider what his or her expectations are for the experience.
One of the most popular types of internship includes human services such as healthcare, education and social issues. Organizations such as Cross Cultural Solutions and Transitions Abroad focus on social service opportunities. Other listings, such as Intern Abroad, cover a wide range of fields from ecology, communications, tourism, law, business, etc. Not all international opportunities are likely to be collected into any one location. It is also wise to look at large organizations of interest with offices around the world and research whether they offer any type of internship international or otherwise (local internships could lead to international opportunities).
Interns may have duties such as teaching, health care support roles, organization of local community resources, building infrastructure (such as schools, or water distribution), or studying the local economy. If the internship is provided through a specific business or school, then the duties will be more in line with the goals of that entity. For example an archaeology student who interns abroad will likely be participating in archaeological activities rather than assisting at a health clinic.
When working through an agency that focuses on internship international experience, there may be guidance counsellors provided. These counsellors can help an intern understand the culture, guide them towards more fully reaching their goals, and aid with future placement opportunities. However, if working for a particular company or organization, there may be little specific guidance given in the international aspects of the position. The focus would be on the company’s goals, rather than the cultural and social aspects of the assignment.
International internships may be as short as three weeks, or as long as a year. Some funded internships can be found, but there are thousands of volunteer opportunities abroad that focus on social services where others may provide academic credit through an educational institution.