Internships are becoming an increasingly common practice amongst young people looking to spruce up their resumes and improve their professional marketability. From the network connections to the mentoring opportunities, there are plenty of reasons to dedicate some time to learning as an intern.
International internships are also gaining traction with travel lovers. These opportunities combine valuable work experiences with the chance to explore new places and immerse yourself within another culture.
Despite the growing interest and popularity of internship programs, there are still several internship misconceptions that may cause many individuals to roll their eyes at the thought of participating in an international internship program.
Here are the top 7 Internship Myths Debunked!
1. Interns Only Do Menial Work
You can thank TV shows and movies for this one. Famous sitcoms, like The Office, often portray their interns as lazy or underutilized members of the team. Many people assume, as Hollywood has portrayed, that the job of an intern begins and ends with brewing coffee and making copies. It’s no wonder many individuals aren’t enthused by the possibility of an internship position! How boring!
However, in reality, interns are usually given specific tasks and projects to work on with the guidance of a qualified mentor. They are welcomed as part of the team and given opportunities to develop important skills that can be used in their professional careers.
2. Internships At Startup Companies Aren’t Worth It
Many people assume that the only internships worth taking are the ones at large, established companies, such as Google or Proctor & Gamble. Although these larger companies have excellent, well-established internship programs, smaller startup companies have a lot to offer as well.
Smaller companies offer often their interns greater responsibilities. You’re also more likely to serve the team in a variety of ways, allowing to gain a wider skill set and learn a lot about the industry.
3. Internships Are Only For College Students
More often than not, when people think of international internships, they immediately associate them with college study abroad programs. However, there are plenty of internship programs that are not university-affiliated and are looking for qualified participants of any age. For example, this Ecuadorian Entrepreneurship program favors applicants with professional business experience. Likewise, this Jamaican Veterinary Internship is ideal for professional veterinarians and veterinary nurses.
Even if you’ve already graduated and begun your career, internships are a wonderful way to refine your professional skills and share your knowledge with others.
4. If They Don’t Pay You, They Aren’t Worth It
There are huge discrepancies when it comes to internship compensation. Some internships offer hourly wages or salaries to their interns. Others provide stipends and other perks such as living or travel expenses. Still, others may (by financial necessity) require you as the intern to pay for certain parts of your program.
Many believe that you can judge the quality of an internship program by the amount of money they pay their interns. However, as previously discussed, there can be a huge value in working with smaller startup companies. Although they may not be able to pay as much (or at all) as larger, well-established corporations, these smaller companies offer hands-on experience in a variety of settings that larger companies (due to their size) are unable to accommodate.
5. International Internships Are Only In Europe
It is a widely held belief that if you’re wanting to work abroad, you’re going to be interning in Europe. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Although there are many amazing internship programs within European companies, countries all over the world are looking for highly qualified applicants to fill their internship positions.
Where have you always wanted to go? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to see Australia or travel to Japan. Whatever your dream destination happens to be, there is an amazing internship opportunity waiting for you.
6. Internships Abroad Are One Big Party
International internships offer unique opportunities for travel and adventure. How often do you get the opportunity to explore another country and immerse yourself in their culture?
However, because of the unique opportunities available for interns abroad, these programs are sometimes lumped into the same category as vacations or Spring Break trips, earning them the reputation of being a non-stop party.
Although this may become the experience for a small handful of interns, for the vast majority, internship programs are hard work and have high standards of professionalism. Internships offer so much more than a vacation.
7. If I Don’t Speak The Language, I Can’t Go
It’s a common misconception that you have to be proficient in order to participate in an internship program. This false belief has led many individuals to limit their internship search to only English speaking countries.
Not only is language proficiency not a requirement for many international internships, but there are also plenty of programs, such as this Chinese Language Exchange program, that actually require applicants to speak fluent English, not Chinese. Other programs, such as this Panda Care internship, offer language lessons as part of the internship.
Going on a project is also a great excuse to learn a new language!
International internships are an opportunity unlike any other. They offer valuable professional training combined with unique cultural experiences. Don’t let these common myths hold you back from the opportunity of a lifetime!