International Internships Help Students Develop in Global Network
By Erika Mayhew, Amanda Kroger, Erin Jasiek
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work in another country? Are you looking for an internship that really sets you apart from others? If so, then an international internship is for you. According to a March 2006 survey by the National Society for Experiential Education, colleges have seen a six percent increase in the number of college students in international internships over the past 3 years. With so many students having internships, it is important to have an internship that sets one apart from the rest.
Kevin Kolkind, a senior business management major at UW-Eau Claire, completed an internship in Turkey as a Foreign Economic Relations Trainee for the Izmir Chamber of Commerce. When asked about doing an international internship Kolkind said that it’s worth the money put into it. “It gives you experiences that you can't have here and new challenges that you can overcome that you couldn't have done otherwise at home,” he said.
Through his internship in Turkey, Kolkind had the opportunity to work with people from a variety of different countries and different backgrounds. It changed his outlook on the world and international relations. In addition, Kolkind said he has gained confidence and communication skills from his experience.
Kolkind has also learned how to deal with cultural differences. When asked if it was hard adjusting to a different culture Kolkind replied, “As long as you had an open-mind all the time it wasn't hard. Keeping an open mind was essential every single day for three months.” Some of the cultural differences Kolkind said he encountered included religion and food.
Not only are international internships essential for a lifetime experience, they can help you stand out to employers and provide you with the skills employers are looking for. Kolkind said that studying and working abroad and living on different continents for months at a time distinguishes himself to employers. “(The internship) seems to be something that stands out that I have done that few other 21-year-olds have.”
Kolkind found his internship through AIESEC, a student-run organization in over 100 countries that focuses on international work opportunities. Adri Neitzke, president of the UW-Eau Claire chapter, said that once a student is interested in doing an international internship, they should look into all the options. She said to find out the requirements and fees for the programs and take care of these items in time to do an internship. Kolkind said that all internships cover housing and food costs. He said some internships will pay a little more than that depending on location and what the job is.
In addition to costs, interested students should look into language requirements. Some programs require a second language, while others do not.
To learn more about AIESEC, check out their Web site at http://www.uwec.edu/aiesec/.
Other international internship opportunities are available at Career Service’s Web site at www.uwec.edu/Career/Students/Internships/International.htm
Erika Mayhew, left, is a senior accounting major from Tomah, WI.
Amanda Kroger, middle, is a senior organizational communication major from Shoreview, MN.
Erin Jasiek, right, is a junior marketing major from Hartland, WI. They wrote this article for their BCOM Advanced Business Writing class.