If you’re about to graduate or recently graduated from your undergraduate college experience, congrats! Only about 4 in 10 Americans ages 25 and older have a Bachelor’s degree. Go you! You’ve completed all your course requirements, met some amazing people, developed new skills, and now it’s time to take a leap into the “real world.” While it may feel like the majority of your peers will go straight into the full-time job hunt, dive into their advanced degree programs, or take time to travel, those aren’t the only options. In fact, there’s an opportunity a little off the beaten path that will satisfy any recent grad’s wanderlust and get them professional experience: intern abroad after graduation.
There are so many reasons to intern abroad after graduation, but here are a few you’ll definitely want to consider.
1. Stand Out from the Competition
Of the approximately 4 in 10 25+ year olds with a Bachelor’s degree, only about 1% of them have international work experience. Interning abroad after graduation means that you can put this incredibly coveted and rare experience on your resume — the other applicants for the role you’re applying to likely won’t be able to do the same. You’ll also have a slew of cross-cultural experiences and new skills to talk about that highlight your ability to navigate new environments and languages, work with colleagues from diverse backgrounds, and better yourself professionally.
2. Networking Opportunities
Being an intern abroad after graduation means you’ll be meeting a lot of new people in your chosen career field. What better way to open doors to future opportunities than learn from professionals in an industry you’re passionate about? Whether it’s through your daily experiences at your internship, social or cultural activities, or during unique opportunities like conferences and events, you’ll be able to expand your professional network to include diverse, international colleagues.
3. Real-World Experience
Have you ever looked at an entry-level job application that requires years of experience and thought, “How am I supposed to gain experience if I can’t get hired without that experience?” It feels like a trap! An internship abroad after graduation is a great solution. You’re able to gain professional experience overseas in a role relevant to your desired career field. What’s more “real-world” than living and working in an international city?
4. Cultural Insight
Regardless of the industry or role you go into as a young professional, you’re more than likely going to have colleagues or clients from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Interning abroad is a great way to gain cross-cultural awareness and skills that will help you thrive in the workplace when you land that full-time job, and ensure the people you work with feel respected and supported!
6. Soft Skills
Many skills employers are looking for can’t always be taught in a classroom, including critical-thinking and interpersonal communication. When you intern abroad after graduation, you’ll gain insight into and acquire these skills in a professional environment and can then speak to them in an interview! Your prospective full-time employer will be thrilled to know you’ve already been in settings where you’ve not only gained these skills as a young professional, but have successfully put them into practice.
As corny as it may sound, the first few months after graduation can be an incredibly important time to get to know yourself. You just spent years focusing primarily on one thing: being a student. But, now you have the opportunity to grow as a person and develop by immersing yourself in a new culture, commuting to-and-from your internship, living independently as a young adult, and navigating life abroad. You’ll be amazed to find that you’ll come home a more confident, adaptable version of yourself.
8. Broaden Your Perspective
If you’ve never been out of the country or have always had one particular place on your bucket list, this is the time to take the leap. Doing so will undoubtedly broaden your perspective. You’ll be exposed to a new way of life, with different cultures and customs at your fingertips. Having a global education opportunity like being an intern abroad just after graduation will expand your horizons and how you view the world.
9. Future Opportunities
Having an international work experience under your belt could lead to future international opportunities once you land a full-time role back home. Think about it: Let’s say your company as an office in Italy, and they need to send someone to assist with a project. Who are they going to ask to take the lead? A member of the team who has experience navigating and working in a similar environment, or someone who has never left the country and has limited cross-cultural experience? Odds are that you’ll be packing your bags in no time.
Hey grad: Are you ready to intern abroad?
Choosing to intern abroad after graduation can be a great way to stand out from the competition, unlock future opportunities, and grow both personally and professionally. Here at AIFS Abroad, we offer a variety of international internship programs that can accommodate recent college grads. Let us help you find a career you love.