Why taking an internship abroad is an ideal move for your career

May 21, 2019

Have you heard the great news? API is still accepting applications for many of our internship abroad programs! Whether you’re wanting to intern in Lisbon, Portugal, or Buenos Aires, Argentina; API can make it happen! Visit our internships page for help getting started.


For most of your college experience, you’re likely being told how important it is to include an internship in your education journey.

It’s also likely that you’re being told an internship is the best way to stand out in a crowded job field after graduation. These points are true, but in 2019, they come with some “if’s, and’s or but’s”.

According to studies published in College Recruiter, 75% of college students are now graduating with at least one internship under their belts. 75%! With that kind of a percentage, getting “lost in the job application crowd” can become an unexpected hurdle for college graduates. An internship is an ideal option for gaining job experience and getting a taste of what your selected career will be like. However, with more and more students doing internships, how in the world is a job applicant supposed to stand out? The answer: take your internship to a new place around the world.

Here are five major reasons why an internship abroad is the best choice for many students.

Edinburgh, one of two international excursion options

1. Everyone does a domestic internship these days… so going abroad shows added initiative.

As we just mentioned, the vast majority of college students are doing internship placements during their undergraduate career. In fact, many programs now require them. So if you’re having to take an internship anyway, why not add the bonus of “global experience”? While almost everyone can say they’ve completed an internship, not everyone can say they’ve finished one in a completely different environment. Interning at a startup is one thing… interning at a startup in Santiago is a completely different experience.

An internship abroad will ultimately require a flexibility and adaptability that you won’t find in a U.S.-based internship. Whether you’re navigating a country where English is not the first language; or you’re having to learn about copyright laws in the UK… you’ll automatically gain valuable skills and create productive habits by taking yourself out of your comfort zone.

The research is also there to back up this claim. According to statistics compiled by UC-Merced, 80% of students who spent time abroad (either studying or interning) reported that the experience allowed them to better adapt to diverse work environments.

2. You have more interesting & unique internship placement options

Some internship abroad providers, like API, work on a very personal basis with students, which means each and every placement is custom and personalized for your career goals. In the past, we’ve placed chefs-in-training with authentic Spanish chefs in Seville; we’ve sent engineering students to intern at solar car plants in Santiago; we’ve even sent sports marketers to Sydney.

This summer, API intern Christina Depinto is heading to Dublin to intern at the “Rolling Stone of Ireland”. She will be helping the magazine’s marketing team prepare for a major music festival this summer by conducting interviews, designing marketing materials, and assisting with day-of tasks at one of Ireland’s biggest music festivals. “I’m really excited because I grew up performing and I’ve always wanted to work in entertainment,” Depinto says. “This seamlessly fits in with event planning, and also music culture and entertainment culture in another country. I’m really excited.” (We’ll publish a full interview with Christina next week on the blog!)

While an internship in the states may seem like “a dime a dozen,” an internship abroad immediately provides some uniqueness and personalization to your experience. In addition, API’s Intern Program Managers put time and thought into each placement to make sure it’s the right fit.

3. Despite what you may think, an internship abroad is affordable

API internships, on average, cost less than a typical study abroad program. In many cases they are HALF the cost! If you’ve considered going abroad and you’re looking to stick to a smaller budget, an internship abroad is not only affordable; it provides priceless experience that in most instances will turn into a job offer down the road.

It also provides you with the opportunity to “try out” a career path to make sure it’s the right fit for you. According to The National Center for Education Statistics, 75% of college students change their undergraduate major at least once. On the flip side, a 2002 survey found that 70% of students who completed an internship abroad reported that their experience ignited an interest in a specific career direction. If your college path requires an internship, going abroad provides the opportunity to make an investment into your future career.

4. Gain global experience in a world where people are closer than ever

It used to be that communicating with people around the world required a pen, paper, and a long journey through mailing systems around the world. You’ll soon learn in the workforce that people are now “closer than ever”. Technology allows employees in many fields to have conversations with potential customers, investors or coworkers around the world. A video call with Madrid in the morning and a webinar with interested customers in Buenos Aires in the afternoon is “just another day” for people in many job industries. This is where an internship abroad makes a person VERY marketable in the job force!

In addition, the Institute of International Education recently surveyed several 21st century employers. All cited intercultural skills, flexibility/adaptability, confidence and self-awareness as important skills they look for in potential employees. An internship abroad allows you to expand these skills as well as foreign language proficiency, cultural awareness, tolerance, and more!

5. Expand your worldview and make real human connections

Looking outside the career benefits, there are added benefits that are harder to put into words. From enjoying a spontaneous round of tapas with new friends in Seville to standing in some of the world’s oldest sites in Rome and Lisbon… there are often moments during your time abroad that you know you will remember forever. Many of our alumni return with long lasting friendships with people they met during their internship. They also return with a newfound appreciation for our world. Alumni Warren Nakazawa recently reflected “From experiencing the local holidays to learning more about the Spanish language to spending my time volunteering within the community, I have been lucky to experience all that I did during my four months in Barcelona.”

President Barack Obama said it best while speaking earlier this spring in Seville, Spain: “There is something unique about a young person traveling… Those kinds of trips are memorable beause they’re part of you as a young person trying to discover what your place in the world is.”

An internship abroad pushes you out of your comfort zone, and becoming vulnerable in a new city can often provide more opportunities to make close friendships and memories with people you may never otherwise meet.

Ready to get started on the adventure of a lifetime? Visit our website or give us a call: 800-844-4124 to learn more!


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