When the academic year is over, it’s always so tempting to throw yourself head-first into your post-finals bucket list: go backpacking through Europe, finally, binge-watch everything you’ve been too busy to see on Netflix, or simply take a much-needed break from anything even resembling responsibility. Plus, a lot depends on what your friends and family might be planning.
But what if we told that you taking a summer internship is one of the best ways to kickstart your career? After all, that’s what you’ve been studying toward for all these years, and as scary as it sounds, your entire future heavily rests on making the right connections, having the highest-quality experiences and bagging one or two stellar recommendations.
Still need a little more than a nudge to turn down your summer by the pool? The National Association of Colleges and Employers have determined through extensive research that, on average, completing an internship practically ensures that a graduate will secure employment within six months of graduation. And if it’s vacation vibes you’re after, you can always intern abroad, so you don’t feel like you’re completing forfeiting your holiday time. Maybe that summer internship doesn’t sound so inconvenient after all...
So, here are a few top reasons why you should look into placement programs and begin your search for an internship abroad.
Everyone knows that rush of being absolutely on fire with all of your research, studying and original ideas; watching all this hard work culminate is the true meaning of success. It takes time and energy to build up this type of momentum, but it sure doesn’t take long to lose it. Just three or four months away can unravel all that impetus you spent twice the time shaping.
That’s why the perfect moment to do an internship abroad is when your coursework, final exam or thesis, is still fresh in your mind. When you’re still riding this studious wave you can transition seamlessly from learning all those valuable skills to actually implementing them in real-world scenarios.
As you begin to consider the possibilities that are open to you for employment, you may notice that your resume looks a little sparse. Of course, you may always include special associations and projects that you have been a part of during your studies, but few things illustrate how viable you are to a potential employer than a summer internship.
Not only will this illustrate that you are willing to put your career first, but they will instantly recognize that you have actively moved beyond the student mindset and decided pretty quickly to make the most of your new graduate status. Secondly, companies know that your placement program will have given you the opportunity to actually test your academic knowledge in a true global setting. Thirdly, if you opt for an international placement program, and have jumped on the opportunity to move abroad, you may find that you will be considered for more unique positions in the future that involve relocating.
When you initially think about a summer internship, you may think that it is going to be an experience-only type of venture. However, numerous companies are also providing their summer interns with financial compensation. For example, Ogilvy and Gartner have summer programs and, according to Glassdoor, interns at Spotify receive very high salaries, averaging between $16 and $35 per hour. While this may not be the norm, it is at least a possibility!
Yet, you shouldn’t be so quick to turn down an internship that does not offer payment. If experience, recognition, and networking are more important to you, be sure that you effectively weigh out your options before making any final decisions.
While it’s important to build your network any time you move abroad, it can never be more imperative than when you are interning. Doing an internship will not only introduce you to new skill sets and tools that can benefit you in your career, but it can also help you establish all the right connections. Have you ever heard the saying, “it’s all about who you know”? Well, connections can help give you an advantage over your competition, and a good word from a respected source definitely never hurts.
When you’re creating a professional network, not only will you be exposed to your new connections, but there will also be moments when you may be introduced to members of their network as well. Never turn down an invitation to a networking meeting. Who knows who you may meet!
Beyond the typical reasons that may come to mind for an internship abroad, living and working within a new cultural environment can also be a major incentive. Opportunistic, invigorating cities such as Berlin, Rotterdam, and Barcelona can provide a wealth of diversity; the ideal destinations to “expand your horizons.”
Moreover, the typical workplace looks completely different from what it once was. Flocks of freelancers and digital nomads explore exciting locales while they work; many on a full-time basis. So, if you’re itching to embrace the expat lifestyle during your internship, you may be able to incorporate cultural experiences into the details of your new position.
To have some numbers to assist with your choice, research data shows that 60% of college graduates who take paid internships receive at least one job opportunity when the internship ends.
It’s very common for interns to choose to stay on with the same company they intern with. If you decide to do the same, just make sure you make your intentions clear and work toward becoming a permanent employee. The chances of a company hiring someone who is already within the organization (rather than looking to external sourcing) are high.
With so many reasons to jump right into a summer internship, especially in dynamic and diverse countries such as Germany or the Netherlands, you may find it difficult to pass up such a rewarding opportunity. Begin searching for placement programs or internships abroad at least three months before your courses end, and always be sure to utilize a trusted housing platform when searching for accommodation. But above all else, prepare yourself for the summer of a lifetime!