Having an internship is almost a given amongst youths these days. While it is not difficult to land an internship, one question that everyone should quizzed themselves upon is what are the key takeaways and lessons one hopes to achieve throughout an internship experience. Yes, there can be learning points in almost all internships but do we really to learn the things that may not necessarily value-add to our professional portfolio?
In this article, we breakdown the reasons why an internship abroad is valuable for one’s professional development across diverse industries.
Developing your own global network
During your internship abroad, it is inevitable you will have opportunities everyday to expand your global network of contacts, be it through the international friends you meet, the people you are privileged to work with or the business relations you develop through networking. Don’t underestimate the power of having an extensive network of people all over the globe. You never know when you will need to leverage on these networks for personal or professional help in the future, beyond the shores of your home.
Exposure to new knowledge and perspectives that you may not have known before
In terms of subject matters in any industry, it is always helpful to broaden your horizons and expand your viewpoints by learning things from different perspectives. This may be especially helpful for youths intending to rise up the ranks of top industrial multinational corporations, as you would be lauded for your knowledge of how a particular brand can adapt to the consumer needs, tastes and preferences across various markets, whilst retaining the international brand image of the company. For those who aspire to be an expat, this will be a good headstart for how you intend to chart a career path of being a vessel of which knowledge of the best brand practices from different markets can be interwoven with one another.
Getting a headstart to future opportunities to relocate around the globe
Adding on to the above point, your early head start in being exposed to business practices in foreign countries may place you in a good position to be offered roles to be involved in shaping business operations in other markets. Your future employers may be impressed by your prior experiences from an early age in working with teams from different cultural backgrounds.
Easier adaptability to cultural challenges
Given your early exposure to the challenges you may personally face in connecting with people from different walks of life, you will be better poised to react to and deal with these challenges should you be charting a career path for yourselves beyond the shores of your home in the future. Whilst working with people of different cultural backgrounds presents their own varied challenges, it doesn’t hurt to be able to anticipate common practices that may be uniformly present across some cultures, i.e. Asians prioritize “giving face” and adopting an attitude of deference when forming relationships with people of greater importance than the individual.
Standing out from the crowd
While the developmental and future professional rewards of an overseas internship may seem plentiful, for most youths we are very much grappling with the pressing concern of obtaining good jobs in our ideal industries, in the early years of our professional careers following our graduation from education. An overseas internship will highlight to your prospective employers as a unique candidate. Your willingness to expose yourself to foreign working environments from a young age shows that you are a passionate and driven challenge-seeker who is not afraid to step out of your comfort zones. This is especially important today since many companies are moving towards seeking and testing unconventional solutions in addressing the problems communities face today. An internship abroad thus reflects to your employers what kind of professional characteristics you possess and experiences you gained that will productively contribute to your company’s growth.
Article contributed by Lok SiYing