North America is one of the hardest working regions in the world, anchored by the domineering presence of the United States at its centerpiece. The region also comes replete with beautiful sprawling landscapes of every kind all across the continent, thriving cities that offer endless entertainment and cultural opportunities, and an international aesthetic rivaled by nowhere else on earth. Internships in North America will provide much more than global work experience - interns will be provided with a fun, fascinating, and challenging adventure.
The United States is the obvious place to begin. One of the world’s wealthiest and most influential countries offers an unparalleled environment to gain international work experience in whatever your field of interest. From New York City to Chicago to San Francisco, the “Land of Opportunity” is ripe with – you guessed it – opportunity. Many of the world’s largest companies are located in the U.S., and the country also offers a highly stimulating environment for cultural studies and the arts. The U.S. is so large and diverse that interns should research locations carefully to find a city that is the best fit for their area of interest.
To the North is Canada, which though dwarfed by America in most ratings of economic power has a significant leg up in many measurements of life quality and happiness. The world’s second largest country is quite sparsely populated, offering some of the most scenically beautiful landscapes to be found amongst its several major cities spanning east to west. Choose intnerships in Canada for a more laid back and friendly culture than the U.S. However, be warned, the winters are quite literally freezing.
The southernmost constituent of North America is Mexico. Though significantly less developed than the United States and Canada, Mexico offers many rewarding internship opportunities, particularly in the areas of development and education. Settled within a backdrop of pristine beaches and desert landscapes, Mexico offers international interns the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in an archetypal Latin American culture.
The possibilities for internships in North America are endless. Whatever your professional field of interest, North America can offer a high quality and engaging environment in which to land an internship abroad and gain invaluable global work experience.
Beginning in the private sector – internships in Advertising and Marketing, Business, Communications, Media, and the like abound across the continent. Since the U.S. and Canada are advanced economies with some of the largest and most successful businesses on the planet, these two countries present many fruitful internship opportunities in the business world along with larger career prospects.
In the public sectors – in areas such as Education, Healthcare, Social Advocacy, Politics, and NGO work – the type of internship you may find will be largely determined by the location of your placement. For example, because Mexico is a developing economy, you may have the opportunity for more hands on work with community building in local regions. In the U.S. and Canada you will also have the opportunity to participate in hands on internships, but these societies will take a much different approach to Social Welfare and Education since these countries are both considered advanced economies.
Most internships in North America are available year round, giving interns great flexibility in customizing their own experience abroad and choosing their preferred season.
Salary & Costs
Internships in North America are commonly paid, or at least compensated with a stipend and/or room and board. You will not make great money, but at least you can hope to cover some of your costs of living abroad. Whether or not you earn a salary and how much you earn is generally dependent on the industry your internship placement is in and the country you choose to work. Canada and the U.S. are moderately expensive countries to live in, though cheaper than Australia and most countries in Western Europe, while Mexico is significantly cheaper than the latter two as it is a developing nation.
Accommodation & Visas
It is most common for those who intern in North America to live in apartments, either individually or with roommates. Many North American internship programs will help interns organize housing before they arrive, but if not there are plenty of websites where interns can find listings of available housing. Costs of housing vary significantly within cities across the region, so it is important to consider housing costs when selecting an internship destination. Homestay placements is sometimes offered in tandem with internship placements, although homestays are not as popular in North America as some other regions of the world.
You will likely need to obtain a visa to intern in North America, and it is important to begin this process early on to avoid any snags or last minute obstacles. Canada, Mexico, and the USA differ in their visa policies for foreign visitors – you can learn more by speaking with your destination’s embassy or consulate (to find one nearest to you consult GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory).
Benefits & Challenges
An internship abroad in North America will be a tremendous first step toward a successful career in whatever field you are interested in. A large continent which is extremely diverse in cultures, peoples, and landscapes, there is no greater place in the world to pursue a truly global experience and mold your personal development and professional skills.
The exciting and challenging adventure of a lifetime awaits you in North America – so follow the footsteps of ambitious individuals from all over the world, and come intern abroad in the Land of Opportunity!