It is probably a common question among students whether they should study abroad or intern abroad. Studying abroad can be beneficial for many students, especially from the third world. Perhaps, even from the first world.
However, there can be thousands of reasons to go abroad to study. Gaining practical knowledge from abroad can easily set you apart from other students. Nowadays, the organization always does special care for employees who have practical knowledge and abroad experience. Surely, it gives you the advantage to acquire your dream job.
Though it is beneficial in many ways, however, some students may think it will be hard to achieve success by doing an internship as well as study at the same time. Some may even think that trying to do these both simultaneously can be devastating for social life.
There is another issue some students could be worried about, that while doing an internship abroad students may have to sacrifice an entire semester, as their internship may not earn them enough credits to cover it.
So many boundaries to overcome to achieve this great success. No, it’s not that hard. In fact, you can do both of these simultaneously without much of a hassle. Yes, you read it correctly. With abroad study & internship experience, I can assure you that.
How to Arrange an Internship Opportunity while Studying Abroad
1. Prepare Your CV & Build a Strong Profile
You need to write a CV first & make no mistake it has to be excellent quality with up-to-date information about your study and extracurricular activities. I recommend you to read this article “How to write Internship CV with templates”. You can easily create an excellent CV using their template.
Okay, after making a CV your next task would be building a LinkedIn profile with all available information of study and experience. If you have no idea how to build a LinkedIn profile then read this article “31 Best Tips for LinkedIn profile”.
Some students may face problems while making a CV and building a LinkedIn profile, that is when they have only school activities & a common part-time restaurant job available to show. This is not enough to build a strong profile. What to do? While searching for an intern opportunity you can start an online short course directly from your laptop.
Having some extra short course certificates can enhance your CV & LinkedIn profile. You should read this article to learn more about the online course “10 Best Online Learning Platforms”.
2. How to Find an Internship Opportunity Abroad
After you have done with making a CV & LinkedIn profile, your next task should be letting your abroad friends and family know that you are looking for an internship opportunity. Sometimes they will be your trump card to finding a perfect opportunity for you or even can help you with other related information that you may need later.
You can look for an opportunity online using your laptop. There are so many options for you. You can start looking at LinkedIn, use Google search, perhaps your school career advisor can help you with that. You may ask your classmate to get advice. If they have done it already, you may get a valuable link directly to the organization. And if they have any internship position open now you may even get that opportunity.
But before you do any of these, let me help you first, read this guide “How to find a paid internship abroad”. You will be able to learn a great deal about internships abroad.
There is another option for you though it may be time-consuming from your end, however, you will gain practical experience by doing it. Choose a destination city first where you want to get an intern opportunity then use Google to find organizations in that area and make a list. Then start calling their HR Department or send them an email with your CV & LinkedIn profile and ask them whether they have any current internship opportunity.
If you are lucky, they will be impressed with your information & you may get an internship chance from them even if they do not have any current circular for it. This may be rare but it will help you to learn something practical.
If you have a good relationship with professors from your school then try to convince them to help you. Leveraging their networks can increase your chance of getting inter opportunity.
A valuable piece of advice. Aware of placement services where you may have to pay a company for an internship opportunity. Before you move further always confirm whether it is an unpaid or paid internship.
3. Preparation for Applying and Face the Interview
I already told you above how to prepare an excellent CV using a template. However, that is only the basic information. Let me give you the details. Before making a CV, first you need to research your destination country, which type of CV format they typically use.
For example, some may prefer photos inside of a CV while others may not like it. You may find that your abroad country prefers only 1 page CV while your home country prefers 2 pages. It is confusing which format you should use.
Better, use Google to do some research to find out an appropriate CV format. Here is an example to help you out, “Sample CV format in London” use this in Google search just change “London” to your preferred destination.
Along with a CV, you have to prepare a cover letter. This is a tricky part as you have to present yourself carefully. This is where your chance to impress them and grab the intern opportunity. Failed to do so and you have to start over again.
To make it easy for you here are some useful tips. First, you should check the company website and learn about their business as much as possible then search on LinkedIn to find their employee’s profiles to understand their business.
This will help to learn about their line of work, and what type of quality they are expecting. Use this knowledge to design an eye-catching & impressive cover letter.
4. Research Organization Before You Apply
Remember, you have to show them why they need you, instead of why you need them. And do not forget to add extracurricular activities and part-time job experience. To increase your chance a job experience can be tremendously helpful.
On top of that, some organizations may have asked you to present a recommendation letter from your school. After you collect all necessary documents send an email or courier (FedEx, DHL, etc.) in case it is their requirement. Upon sending your documents it may take 2-3 weeks before they reply.
If you are an excellent candidate in their field then they will call you for an interview. Where that interview will take place online or directly in their office premises it completely depends on them. But you should be ready for it whenever they call, therefore, you can act promptly.
Now let me give you some advice before that. Your priority will be research and study regarding their company, field of work, and interview style. Use Google as much as possible you can even search on LinkedIn to collect information about it. Every country, even every organization has its unique set of rules and expectations.
One thing you should remember, the big organizations usually don’t care that much about degrees. Hence, you must have to learn it before an interview takes place to increase your success rate.
5. Gather Practical Knowledge and Experience
Companies may offer you a paid intern based on your skill if they particularly like you. In that case, congratulations. But, how about they offer an unpaid internship opportunity. It may seem challenging when you do not have enough savings or funds to cover your living expenses abroad.
However, you should not skip this opportunity even if it is unpaid, because you will get lots of opportunities to earn money abroad as well as a different culture can provide you a great deal of experience and a chance to build a network in a foreign country.
What you can do if it is an unpaid intern? Lend some money from family & friends if possible. Do your usual part-time job to save some money. And finally, when you arrive, consult with your company HR department to get some advice, discuss with them about your current situation & ask them to help you to get a part-time job.
If you are lucky, you may even be able to do a part-time job within company premises. Therefore, internship & part-time jobs you can do simultaneously without any consequences.
You got your chance now. Gather experience & practical knowledge as much as possible. Remember, you are now in a different country & different culture that can teach you a lot. Broaden your horizon & build up a strong network before your internship completes. If you can do it, your CV will be filled with valuable skills, experience, and networks thus it might help you to get a job before you even complete your internship.
6. Entertain & Refresh Yourself
Don’t always bog down by tons of workloads and future planning. Try to relax sometimes and give yourself some space. Sometimes refreshment is all you need to focus on the next challenge.
Hang out with your co-workers at lunch or dinner, take a walk, go to the gym together, do some social activities. This is not a waste of time, it is by far the easiest way to build relationships and network with colleagues.
7. Planning, Organizing, and Managing is Crucial
Doing an internship along with your study abroad is not that easy unless you efficiently manage your resource and plan ahead of time. Studying in your home country surrounded by family & friends can be one thing while doing the study abroad in foreign culture away from home, family & friends can be a completely different thing.
Most of the time students experience homesickness, which can be devastating. Therefore, doing the study as well as an intern at the same time can be a real challenge to you.
Here are some tips for you to make this challenge manageable. Always plan ahead in time. First, divide your study & intern assignment work separately in your calendar & make a schedule from morning to night.
Try to keep up with your schedule if you don’t then there is so much possibility that you may end up having to complete an assignment for an internship and at the same time a big research paper has to be submitted on the next day. Hence, try to manage both study and intern with a tight schedule and work extra hard. Don’t worry, it will pay off eventually.
8. How You Should Manage Time
It’s always hard at the beginning. But don’t worry after your 1st week of internship you will get an idea about time management. When you should wake up & when to go to sleep. Cooking, cleaning, and studying at the same time.
The best way to do this, plan using a calendar and time management app from Google play store. There are many time management software out there, just pick one, and have some fun while you can easily plan and efficiently manage your time.
Doing both an internship and study is not easy on top of that, you are far away from home. Yes, it’s challenging. After your 1st week of the internship, you probably get motivated and excited only because it is your first time doing practical work in a real corporate environment.
However, you may get frustrated after 3-4 weeks when workloads get heavier. Trust me I was there & I know how it feels like. But don’t worry, it will become manageable after 6-7 weeks. Because you are already getting used to it. But for that, you have to manage a tight schedule very efficiently. Otherwise, all of your hard work will be pointless.
Think this way, if you focus heavily on intern assignments & leave only a few hours for your study then failing in the exam will make all of these useless. Therefore, stay focused and maintain your schedule. When you succeed, you have an excellent CV & LinkedIn profile full of experience, practical knowledge along with a strong network in a foreign country.