It is impossible to fit all of of Asia under one label. The super-massive continent is home to nearly three-fifths of the global population, over 4 billion people, and a diversity of cultures which are as different from the rest of the world as they are from each other.
Yet there are some general trends spanning the whole continent which make this region of the globe a terrific place to land an internship abroad. What follows are just a few of the many reasons why interning abroad in Asia has the potential to be, both personally and professionally, one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
Starting at the beginning: the fertile crescent, which today underlies many of the countries found in western Asia and the Middle East, is commonly thought to be the cradle of human civilization. The technological and agricultural advances made by the earliest societies which thrived in these areas would eventually spread throughout all of Asia, Europe, and North Africa to form the focal point of human history.
In later years, Asian cultures would interact and cross influences so that by trade, travel, and military exploit the entire continent would be tied up in an intricate web of economic and political integration. From the Sultans of the west to the Khans of the north to the Emperors of the east to the Kings of the south, many great empires would come to rise and fall throughout Asia’s rich historical development.
Much of the architecture, languages, and cultural traditions across Asia are still very much influenced by its long, intertwining history. In more modern times, the continent has been increasingly subjected to Western influence, whether voluntarily or forcibly, yet still most Asian countries and peoples hold on to a distinct cultural identity which has been forming for thousands of years.
Witnessing these modern yet traditionally distinct cultures, and experiencing aspects of daily life, the business world, and the economy and political environment, will no doubt be enriching and beneficial for interns in any field.
The Lay of the Land
Staying on the subject of underlying definitive aspects which will shape your internship in Asia, we move to the immense natural beauty of the continent itself. Asia is by far the world’s largest continent and boasts some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world. Whether you find yourself wandering the foothills of the Himalayas in India or the dense jungles of Thailand or the vast deserts of the Middle East or the islands of Malaysia, Asia is full of unending mystery.
Not only will you have ample opportunities to explore your natural surroundings while interning abroad in Asia, but you will also experience how geography and climate affect the manifestation of everyday life from region to region. Each Asian country has been uniquely influenced by its environment over time, and whether by isolation or integration, the lay of the land continues to shape political and cultural relations throughout the continent. Once you experience the region’s geography first hand you will begin to naturally understand the political history of each nation.
Now that our bases are covered, we move on to the good stuff (or at least the more relevant to the subject at hand). Beyond natural beauty and cultural intrigue, the continent of Asia has been a hotbed of economic development throughout the past century and continues to boast some of the highest growth rates in the world. This means that an internship in Asia has the potential to be highly rewarding for your professional career, as new markets continuously expand into and out of the area.
Many Asian countries still face the challenges of overcoming poverty. Yet progress has nonetheless been steady across the continent as individual cities continue to grow in importance and whole nations become integrated into the global marketplace. Still there is a tremendous amount of economic diversity within Asia. For example, while Japan is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, despite its small size, India is one of the most poverty-stricken in wake of its enormous population.
The underlying point is that Asia is becoming increasingly important to the global economic order, and earning professional experience in Asia will pay off big time. It will be a huge resume booster, tremendous networking opportunity, and means of learning a valuable new language too.
Not only will you stand out over competing applicants as a flexible and well-rounded candidate, but you will have developed the skill-set and maturity to justify that privilege.
The Importance of Being in Asia
Lastly, and this is a point to be taken both literally and metaphorically, Asia is the center of the world. Well over half of the people on planet earth live within the geographical bounds of the Asian continent, a fact that is often lost upon introverted societies across the rest of the globe. Yet Asia is, and always has been, the central spoke of humanity.
The relative importance of the Asian continent as a whole is typically relegated because of the immense geographic, cultural, and ethnic diversity within. And understandably so – in cities ranging from Dubai to New Delhi to Manila to Shanghai, you will have an experience which is near unrecognizable from one to the other. Each region is impressively unique and distinctive in its own manner.
Yet it is this diversity which makes Asia the perfect place to intern abroad. During an internship in Asia you will come face to face with an entirely new environment, peoples, and way of life, and you will have no choice but to learn and grow as a result. The value of interning abroad in Asia thus goes far beyond professional development into the realm of human development. When all is said and done, you will return a more knowledgeable, down-to-earth, and capable person.