Why International Internships Are Great For You & Your CV

by Jenn Leslie

When it comes to finding jobs everyone’s in the same boat. Businesses are searching for that extra spark to add to their organizations, which is exactly why job applicants need to find ways to make themselves stand out. Having one (or more) international internships under your belt can really make your CV shine and appear much more attractive to future employers, as well as provide you with the skills to back up the experience.

Intern at an NGO office in Asia

Microfinance Internship Abroad

Here are ten reasons why international internships are great for you and your CV:

1. Increased Cultural Fluency

Potential employers value higher cultural fluency in their employees, including their new hires. Cultural fluency gives individuals a competitive advantage over others, especially amongst businesses that operate across borders. Cultural fluency allows individuals to understand cultural differences more effectively, and thereby facilitates increased multi-national productivity. Those with cultural fluency also have an advantage when working with supervisors and coworkers from different walks of life. When organizations hire employees with new and improved skill sets, they enhance their overall business potential and capabilities, which is exactly what companies seek to do.

2. Enhanced Global Awareness

Employers are always on the lookout for candidates with a sense of global awareness. This has become especially true as globalization continues to diminish international boundaries, paving the way for companies to take on more international partners and clients. When a company has the opportunity to hire someone with immense international exposure and greater global awareness, they will not hesitate to take advantage of it.

Man and woman talking in an office

Business Internship Abroad

3. Greater Independence & Confidence

When potential employers see international internship experience on a candidate’s resume, they will perceive the candidate in a new light. They will assume the candidate is confident and able to work independently, and these assumptions will become the determining factors in their decision of whom to employ. Almost any employer will seek out candidates that demonstrate the ability to think and problem solve independently. In the same respect, to be successful in a new position, confidence is key.

4. Increased International Contacts

Business growth depends on international connections. If potential candidates can illustrate clear international associates in their field of work, it will reflect positively on them in the eyes of potential employers. These individuals will be able to bring new and creative ideas to the organization. International connections are also a great way for companies to expand the reach of their products, services, and brand awareness, so applicants with the capacity to build new connections will be a great asset to any organization.

5. Newly Developed Skills

No matter how talented a person is, working in a single location will expose them to a limited set of processes and thought paradigms. When an individual decides to go abroad, they are exposed to exponentially more trends and practices than they could have possibly imagined. Companies are aware that candidates with international internship experience on their CV’s are more likely to have gained valuable skills along the way. These skills, combined with the international exposure that internships abroad inevitably provide, help employers feel confident that applicants will be able to succeed in the positions they seek and bring a unique perspective to the table.

International teacher in a classroom with students

Teaching Intern in Latin America

6. A Stronger CV

Having an international internship on your CV is something that can help your credentials stand out, because not all people have the opportunity to intern abroad. Businesses desire exceptional candidates that are able to set themselves apart from their peers. With more and more students obtaining the same ol’, same ol’ business degrees, organizations are now after candidates who can bring a little more to the boardroom.

7. Greater Adaptability & Teamwork Skills

Many companies are striving to succeed in an ever increasingly globalized market with aims of becoming the leader in their field. As such, companies are constantly hunting for employees that can make them stand out from their competition, and these employees must be able to adapt to the ever changing market conditions. Working in a new organization entails learning to work with many new people, who each have their own mindset and perspective. With an international internship on your CV, you will be able to prove to organizations that you have the ability to mingle and cooperate with people that are very different from yourself making you a more attractive candidate for any position.

8. Shows Your Ambition

International internships show potential employers your honest ambition. After all, not everyone takes risks, like moving out of their comfort zone and working with people from different cultures on the other side of the world. This is exactly what many employers are after, candidates who are willing to take risks to succeed and grow. International internships prove that you have the ability to make it on your own in a new environment, as well as the desire to do so. You can illustrate your ability and willingness to take risks by simply adding an international internship to your resume.

Ambition is what distinguishes great candidates from the rest.
Volunteer blowing bubbles with kids in Africa

Volunteer Abroad in Africa

9. Improved Communication Skills

When working in a new cultural environment, regardless of the language you’re speaking (native tongue or second language), you will have to mold your communication style according to local norms. In this way, adapting to different cultures successfully requires individuals to build a rapport with new people and learn to communicate ideas, opinions, and processes effectively. With an international internship on your CV, employers will know how much time you’ve spent developing your communication skills, and how much value you can consequently add to their organization.

10. Shows You Are a Quick Learner

Working in novel cultures requires you to learn new ways of doing things and adapt to local business practices, strategies, and markets. Candidates who can prove they have successfully completed internships abroad will show that they have the ability to quickly learn and adapt to new situations, which is exactly what employers look for in new hires.

Candidates who are new to the job market should try to do things differently, instead of following the crowd. In today’s job market, the more different your resume is from others, the more likely it is for you to be hired.

Medical intern implementing a traditional treatment in China

International Medical Interns

Having international internship experience is one of the best ways to distinguish yourself from the rest, and help you secure that highly coveted position.

Also keep in mind, many of the benefits of international internships also apply to volunteer abroad programs. The important thing is to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself!

This article was contributed by Cross-Continental Solutions. Cross-Continental Solutions provides affordable yet flexible international learning programs, including volunteer abroad, intern abroad, cultural immersion, language study, and gap year programs. A large variety of work placement options are available such as: Teaching, Healthcare, Community Development, Business Coaching, HIV work, Care-giving, Orphanage Work, Journalism, Photography, Wildlife, Agriculture, Environmental Protection, Microfinance, Tourism, Marketing, and more. Programs are available at many locations around the world, including Africa, Asia, and Latin America. By living and working side by side with locals, participants gain an exceptional cross-cultural experience and the opportunity to truly make a difference.