“Perfection in a job is only achieved when you love your work.” Still, in this fast-paced and competitive world, candidates are hoping for immediate placement in their desired career without gaining relevant work experience while completing their undergraduate degree. Internships are the perfect way to gain valuable work experience, especially for international students studying abroad.
Here’s a list of reasons you need to consider work experience as part of your degree.
1. Testing the waters
Entry into the workforce can be pretty daunting, especially when you decide to study abroad for an undergraduate degree. Finding a role that aligns with your skills, interests, and experience can be difficult, and you want to ensure you’re making the right choice in the long term. Testing the waters and trying your hand at different internships may give you the insight to choose the right career while exploring where your skills and interests align, and you can be of the most value.
Often, the outright goal of an internship while studying abroad is to gain a permanent work placement. An internship enables not just the individual but the host company to gauge your employability, your strengths, and where you need to upskill. While you continue completing the coursework for your undergraduate degree, gathering skills in a myriad of student jobs and graduate jobs will enhance your employability simultaneously, making you job-ready on the go.
3. Transferable skills
Internships can provide immense transferable soft skills and knowledge that can be utilised throughout your career. The knowledge gained during an unpaid or paid internship overseas can provide a participant with exceptional business acumen, networking, relationship and communication skills to enter any workforce globally.
4. Building a network
Landing a placement right after an undergraduate degree can be tedious. Networking is an avenue that has proven to be an asset when you study abroad. Building a network of connections during an internship can easily boost your chances of landing desired roles in companies. You never know when the network you have built abroad will benefit you in identifying opportunities, business development and landing roles.
5. Digital skills
In the digital world that we live in, it is imperative that we are digitally savvy. During an internship, gaining experience in digital tools such as Google suite, Zoom and other video conferencing platforms or CRM tools can enhance the work readiness of the candidate and ensure a smooth transition.
6. Being occupied
Effectively using time during your undergraduate degree is essential to study and work balance. Degrees with the added pressure of assignments and examinations can be draining for international students studying abroad. When you are studying abroad, it’s crucial that you ‘fill your cup’ socially, emotionally and professionally. An internship is a great way to meet people and gives you structure and purpose while you’re away.
7. Efficient coursework
Many universities provide students with an opportunity to take up an internship as part of their coursework in order to gain invaluable work experience while completing their degree. These internships allow students to earn degree coursework credits for completing placement assignments or examinations based on that internship.
8. Exposure to work environment
Internships enable international students to transition into ongoing work placements smoothly. Roles that include an element of international exposure can enhance candidates’ abilities to excel in any placement globally. Even part-time or online placements can enable participants to be exposed to online corporate etiquette that can be transferred to various future placements.
9. Career choices
The ultimate goal of an internship is to gain experience to help you land your dream role, but it also allows you to make informed career choices. For example, if you complete an internship in two very different industries, this can help you in deciding which industry aligns better with your skills and interests. Using internships as a way to ‘try before you buy’ is a smart career move that will be applauded by employers.
10. Time management
Time management is a skill that is extremely important for any student and employee. Not only is it important to manage your time and strike an efficient balance between study and work, but time management during your internship can be an excellent reflection of multitasking and working effectively.
An internship can be viewed as a time trial. It gives you a holistic view of the potential career you are about to enter after your university study. During this time, you should reflect on your work and realise where your strengths and weaknesses lie so that you can work on these.
The nature of the internship may be online, offline, paid or unpaid, but the experience gained during this internship is invaluable. This work experience helps you to reflect on your skills, realise potential careers, upskill, build an effective network and boost your employability.
InternMatch is a platform that helps international students achieve this by partnering with host companies and education providers to enable students gain invaluable work experience while completing their undergraduate degrees.