In our modern age Economics is becoming an increasingly globalized discipline, whether at the micro or macro level. If you truly wish to understand the forces of today’s market then there are few more valuable experiences than interning abroad, which will allow you to move past the barriers of your home country and gaining work experience in a global context. Additionally, an internship abroad in Economics won’t look so bad on your resume either.
Internships abroad can be life changing experiences. Not only will you face the impressive challenge of adapting to the workplace of a country you are not familiar with, but you will also grow immensely by traveling the world and learning firsthand about life in a different cultural environment. Economics can be a highly quantitative discipline, but it is undeniable that qualitative social and cultural forces shape the marketplace as much as any other factors. Economics internships abroad will give you a far deeper insight into how these phenomena play out internationally, and also prove to be the adventure of a lifetime.
You will gain a vastly different experience within the field of economics depending on where you choose to intern abroad. In the spirit of the discipline, let us break the choice down by levels of economic development rather than physical geography.
First there are the advanced economies of the developed world. Most of Western Europe falls into this category, as do countries such as the U.S., Canada, Chile, and Argentina in the Western Hemisphere and Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore in the East. By interning abroad in economics in a more economically developed country you will be exposed to a very high level of economic activity and planning, whether in a domestic or international context.
Next are the quickly emerging economies that have not quite reached the level of infrastructural development at which they are considered “developed.” These include major countries such as China, Brazil, Mexico, and much of Eastern Europe. If you are interested in economic development, then these can be very fruitful places to gain internship experience abroad because of their unique situations as globally interconnected countries that are still working to bring their economies up to par.
Last is the so called “third world”, where many cities and rural areas remain underdeveloped as countries struggle to find stable economic footing in the new world order. Many countries in Central America, Southeast Asia, and Africa fall into this category. Economics internships abroad in the developing world can prove to be a truly extraordinary experience as you strip the field of economics down to its bare essentials and focus on real human challenges in a de-industrialized context.
The discipline of economics is very broad and diverse, so there are many different internship placements with which to advance your experience abroad. You may already have a good idea of what kind of internship you may want to pursue based on your intended areas of focus, but here are a few directions to get you started.
Economics internships in areas such as business, marketing, sales, banking, and consulting are all popular options for those interested in pursuing a career in the private sector. You are by no means be limited by geographical region or level of economic activity to find economics internship placements in these fields. For example, nations such as India, while underdeveloped, house many prestigious multinational corporations and will offer unique internship opportunities in which interns can experience the latter fields in a very different cultural context.
If you are interested in economic development, then there are also many NGOs and nonprofits which rely heavily on the hard work of volunteers and interns to plan, oversee, and partake in on-the-ground projects. Economic development internships will be a much different flavor of internship then, say, working in the London Stock Exchange, but will prove personally and professionally rewarding in more ways than one.
As a economics intern abroad you will typically have a good amount of flexibility to design your own program duration. Summer internships which last up to three months are most popular for current students, while fall or spring internships which last up to six months are popular for recent graduates. Remember essentials, such as the language barrier, affordability, and type of compensation, when selecting a placement as they are all important things to keep in mind when pursuing economics internships abroad.
The value of an internship abroad in economics goes far beyond the workplace. It is true that you will mature professionally and gain unique insight into your economic subfield of choice, but the process of uprooting from home and living for an extended period of time in an entirely different culture and country is what makes this experience truly special. From marketing in Beijing to working in community development in Tanzania, an international internship in economics will open your eyes to the world and inspire you to reach for unseen personal and professional heights.