Applying to internships while abroad
January 30, 2017
Last fall, I received the best news ever: I was accepted into a study abroad program in Barcelona, Spain.
Immediately I started brushing up on my Spanish, planning how I would pack four months worth of clothes into one suitcase and planning out where else I would travel in Europe.
In the middle of all of this preparation, however, I realized I would not be ready for one thing — getting a summer internship upon return. Luckily, I was able to secure a dream internship in New York, and many of my friends I studied abroad with had similar success. Here are five tips I’ve compiled to help make your internship search while overseas a bit more simple.
1. Apply early
This is probably my biggest piece of advice for any person studying abroad because I ended up getting an internship that I applied for in October. There are many online resources that list internships for any given field along with their application requirements and deadlines. For instance, as a journalism major, I always check Poynter’s annual list of newspaper internships. There’s also I-Link, an online tool with job listings for almost every possible field and it allows employers to view students’ resumes. There are also countless career fairs you can check out in the fall before leaving for a spring study abroad experience.
2. Make it work
If you are studying in Europe, Australia or beyond, obviously there is a huge time difference. This can make coordinating phone interviews and answering emails in a timely manner pretty difficult. But even if the time frame or situation isn’t ideal, make the extra effort because it could pay off in your internship hunt. I lived in an apartment with terrible Wi-Fi, so anytime my friends had interviews, they would have to walk 25 minutes to our school so they could acquire a solid connection. This also meant doing interviews at a late hour, like 8 or 9 p.m. I even had a friend who had to coordinate a phone interview on Easter Sunday when she was visiting Milan. But since she was open to the interview, even though it was not at the most convenient time, it paid off and she got an offer.
3. Stay professional
Phone interviews not your cup of tea? One of the perks of 21st-century technology is the invention of Skype. Potential employers can do video interviews, even across the world, and it will feel like everyone is in the same room. But this means you have to look presentable — make sure you squeeze in at least one professional outfit in your already packed suitcase.
4. Build your resume abroad
Studying abroad can actually be a great resume builder. Most employers love to hear about your travels and why you chose to study abroad, so make sure you give them a good reason that will resonate with them. For instance, you wanted to complete a minor in a different language, become more diverse in your perspectives or even volunteer in an underserved community. My boyfriend actually got a job as an English tutor for Spanish students while studying abroad. It helped him improve his Spanish for his minor and was a great talking point when interviewing on the phone for summer research positions back home.
5. Relax and explore
Even if your prospects aren’t looking great, don’t dwell on it and enjoy the rare, lucky experience of studying abroad. When else will you be able to take off for four or five months of your life and travel? Take in the sights, learn as much as you can about a new culture and make new friends and memories. You’ll return to the U. S. as a more well-rounded and educated person, which will no doubt help you get internships and jobs in the future.