Travelling across several time zones, getting jet lagged and posting your photos on Facebook with exotic landscapes in the background are not the only perks of a foreign internship. One takes up an internship with certain goals in mind. For some students, an internship is just another opportunity to hone your skills while for some others, it’s about taking up a challenging and mentally stimulating roles. Although an industrial internship is demanding, research internships usually require a very high level of motivation. Here are the 5 benefits of an internship abroad.
1. Work Experience
Foreign internships give you a hands-on opportunity to explore your areas of interest. If you haven’t zeroed in on your interest yet, an internship will definitely help you figure out one. Internships are often a mandatory part of university curriculum these days.
I will never forget how my summer internship at a CNRS Lab in France helped to secure postgraduate admission in reputed universities of the world like Carnegie Mellon and Imperial College London. I had a keen interest in biomechanics research which is at an embryonic stage in my home university, IIT (BHU). However, I became versed in motion capture systems, force plate measurements, and several other biomechanics problems during my internship in France. When I was asked about my projects in several university interviews, I was very comfortable answering them.
2. Exposure to New Work Culture
You may need to work in a multilingual team. Many times, people from different geographical regions approach a problem quite differently. In India, the recent innovations focus on coming up with cost-effective solutions to several problems. The inception of the Hindi word ‘Jugaad’ into the Oxford English Dictionary highlights the importance of frugal innovations in the Indian context. However, developed countries like Canada, France, and the USA often don’t have funding constraints for futuristic projects.
So, during my foreign internship, I worked in a multi-cultural team with one of my teammates from Canada. Initially, we had some issues to gel with each other. We were working on an exoskeleton design. Coming from India, I was versed with the metric system and the Indian system for the load ratings of bolts and screws. However, the US system is different and hence, collaborating on a design project had a few initial hiccups as the parts designed by him won’t often fit with the parts designed by me. Nevertheless, I learned to discuss a universal reference system before starting to design.
Make it your goal to travel while you’re doing your internship. Research shows that traveling makes one smarter. Being an intern often entitles you with some stipend which may not be a very hefty amount. So, traveling during off-days requires a lot of planning, especially figuring out the effective cost saving modes of transportation, accommodation and travel route. Further, you get to interact with a lot of new people and that often broadens your mind about different cultures of the world.
If you are on an internship in Europe, you can easily increase your count of countries visited. My advice is: When in Rome, behave like Romans. Basically, what I suggest is to travel to different cities as a local – enjoying their nightlife, their food, song and dance to name a few only.
Related: How To Plan Your Travel During An Internship
During a foreign internship, you get to know about new technologies and new theories. If you are on an engineering project, you may get to work on a technology that is exotic to your native country. So, you learn a new thing and can implement it to solve a problem of your country.
Networking is very crucial for a successful professional career. Coming across resourceful people can give help you learn essential professional skills that may help in your career. If your internship is of significant duration say, over 2 months, and you have a good rapport with your supervisor, you can ask him for a letter of recommendation.
Foreign internships teach us essential life skills that bring out newer dimension in you.