My Background: I just recently graduated from Penn State this past December! Much to my surprise, I received an abundance of questions regarding why I chose to complete an international internship instead of accepting a full-time job opportunity. Here are my top three reasons…
1. International Experience
Having a substantial international experience, something more than a family vacation, is a huge differentiating factor when compared to your fellow peers. We live in a world that is becoming more and more interconnected. Companies often have international locations or partner with other global brands. In the work force today there is a consistent need for global commication and interaction. For these overarching reasons, as well as countless smaller ones, complete cultural immersion for a significant period of time is a strong résumé builder. From a hiring perspective, it is often a huge benefit to choose an employee that has experienced other cultures and possesses more of a worldview. No matter your field, this understanding is crucial today and will continue to be well into the future!
2. Understanding Your College Degree
You just spent the last four years working incredibly hard for your undergraduate degree. You have reached a huge milestone and accomplishment in your life. Now, you have a huge decision to make: what will your next step in life will be? My best recommendation: don’t settle. You’ve worked too hard! Why jump into a full-time job right away? Are there other opportunities that you want to take advantage of? Are you unsure what your full-time job looks like at this point in time?
There is no better way to clear your head then by moving to a new place in the world! An international internship offers you the opportunity to take a deep breath and focus on yourself as well as your future while still building your résumé. There are no unwanted voices or opinions. A fresh start and an unfamiliar environment always hold the possibility of positive change and new opportunities.
3. Scrap Your Comfort Zone
The only way to truly grow as an individual is to push yourself out of your comfort zone! Arguably, the “easier” option for most college graduates is to immediately accept a full-time job after graduation. One that is probably close to home and directly within your field or major. If this is the path that you’re looking for then great! There’s no problem with comfort and familiarity. But, if you’re looking to grow and expand your knowledge or understanding of different places and cultures then an international experience is the right opportunity for you. A full-time internship also offers the additional benefit of directly experiencing work culture in a new part of the world. There will be multiple differences and many things to learn, but the holistic experience will undoubtedly be worth it in the end. You will positively grow and change in countless ways that you never would've expected.
Long story short, don’t be afraid to “choose the path less traveled”. You have your entire life to work a full-time job! At what other point in your life will you have the time to live in a different country for three months straight? Probably never! My best advice: take this opportunity and RUN with it.