Go Abroad, Get Paid: International Internships Offered through AIESEC
By Heidi Arciszewski, Monica Bowar, Erin Downey, Mike Matonich
Internships play an integral part in a student's career development when applying for that first job. Through a partnership with AIESEC, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire provides students with unique internship opportunities that can help many gain valuable international experience in the work place.
What is AIESEC?
AIESEC is a global organization that gives students the opportunity to apply for international internships. Over 90 countries offer paid internships in four different categories: business, technical/information systems, education, and volunteer work. A few well-known global companies including Microsoft, ING, and Ingersoll Rand are partners with AIESEC.
What are the Benefits of International Internships?
Companies supplying these internships provide a stipend to cover transportation, food, and housing. Some may pay an additional amount on top of the necessities. College of Business graduate Kevin Kolkind, who completed an internship in Turkey during summer 2007, was compensated enough money to cover all of his travel expenses once he finished working.
While abroad, interns may be placed in housing with several other people from around the globe. Kolkind was enthused with his opportunity and what it added to his experience.
“I got to live with someone from all different parts of the world," he said. "In the same house as me was someone from every continent of the world, with the exception of Australia and Antarctica. That is not an opportunity many people get to have.”
Internships are offered year-round, with the majority occurring during the summer months. Many last 2-18 months depending on the internship and its location. Current students and those who have graduated within six months are eligible for AIESEC internships.
Joe Pichotta, president of the UW-Eau Claire AIESEC chapter said, “an international internship is the only thing on your resume that is a guaranteed ‘stand out’.” According to the AIESEC website, an international internship has many other benefits beyond looking good on your resume:
- Offers networking opportunities in other countries
- Forms an understanding of the corporate environment across the globe
- Improves cultural awareness
Jenny Forsythe, VP of Marketing, also believes that there are many advantages to gaining an internship abroad.
“Students who go abroad also have so much to gain!" she said. "They learn about a new culture through experience rather than a textbook. Most importantly, they also teach people in that country about our culture.”
How do I obtain an International Internship?
Only AIESEC members can apply for these internships. Members have the opportunity to join an online network which allows them to view available internships. The process of applying and receiving these internships is similar to applying for internships in the United States which may be done in a matter of weeks or months, depending on the company’s needs. Joining AIESEC is similar to most other organizations on campus, which includes attending bi-weekly meetings. Dues are $60.00 per year.
From left to right: Heidi Arciszewski, is a senior marketing major from Thorp, Wis; Monica Bowar, is a senior marketing major from Middleton, Wis; Erin Downey is a senior advertising major from Apple Valley, Min; Mike Matonich is a senior marketing major from Wausau, Wis. They wrote this article for their BCOM Advanced Writing class.