Study Abroad Alternatives: The 6 Month Internship

by Published

As much as we love to deny it, study abroad isn’t for everyone. Between overly-specific graduation requirements, summer vacations filled with part-time jobs, and different personality types needing different things, we get that study abroad isn’t possible for everyone — or it’s not the right fit for every type of student. That’s OK! Studying abroad is definitely not the end-all-be-all of international experiences for students or young professionals, so you shouldn’t feel limited or left out if you don’t participate.

The solution? Look into a 6 month internship abroad! Interning abroad is basically the big brother or sister of studying abroad; who is super mature, career-focused, a little more glamorous, worldly and experienced, and rubs in your face that they have their sh*t together at such a young age while you’re out there going to class in your PJ’s.

Rather than trying to squeeze in a study abroad semester that your class schedule really can’t afford, or sitting at home because study abroad doesn’t feel right for you, get yourself a 6 month internship abroad!

graduates in black and white graduation robes, turning their tassels.

If you’re on a fast-track to graduate and study abroad doesn’t quite factor in, look at great alternatives— like an internship abroad.

The benefits of a 6 month internship abroad

Let’s face it...the most important parts of studying abroad are found outside of the classroom. Anyone can learn vocab and grammar in any classroom in any location, but what makes study abroad so unique is the immersion and exploration opportunity. Doing a 6 month internship abroad is the ultimate way to kill two birds with one stone. You get all of the true benefits of study abroad (i.e. IMMERSION) with absolute real-world work experience and exposure.

Having an internship is always a good thing for young adults. It teaches you about the working world, what types of work environments you might or might not like, and gives you an idea ultimately about what to pursue and how to pursue it. Doing all of this on the global stage puts this great experience on a totally different level. Immersing yourself in a new region, culture, and oftentimes language for three months is like putting your standard internship on steroids. You’ll come home with not just a killer addition to your resume, but also skills and experiences you probably never thought possible. 

[Let us do your homework for you — get matched with a 6 month internship!]

The best 6 month internships abroad

Check out these top notch internships abroad as alternatives to your traditional study abroad program. You’ll get those coveted stamps on your passport and an extra stamp of approval on your resume. 

1. Rock the Catwalk - Intern Abroad with Fashion Week Internships

Calling all America’s Next Top Model wannabes! If the world of high-end clothes has always fascinated you and you were strangely jealous of Miranda Priestly’s assistants in The Devil Wears Prada, a few months with Fashion Week Internships is definitely right for you!

This program works directly with some of the industry’s best-known designers, labels, event agencies, PR firms, and manufacturers from all over the world and will place you directly in line to develop concrete skills and make important industry contacts.

close up of person sitting with brown leather messenger bag/briefcase

Trade in your backpack for a briefcase and move from the lecture hall to the conference room.

Pros: Fashion Week Internships offer placements in all of the major fashion capitals around the world, including London, Paris, Madrid, New York, Milan, Los Angeles, Beijing, and Shanghai. The programs begin every month to coincide with the major fashion week events globally, so you can intern basically wherever and whenever you want!

Cons: Accommodations are not included in this program, so you will have to make these decisions independently. However, the program does provide access to their Partnerships Team, which can advise interns on the best local options.


Call the Doctor - Intern Abroad with Czech Hospital Placements

Doctor, doctor, we’ve got the news! Medical internships are ready for you! The Czech Hospital Placements program is specifically designed to provide real-world experience in one of the largest hospitals in Europe. Interns will work under doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, dentists, and other health care professionals, and will enjoy learning at a rapid rate and observing the pros during surgeries, treatments, diagnostic procedures, and patient interactions...all from one of the most beautiful areas in the world!

Pros: Unlike most internships and general professional settings, the CHP provides their interns with study materials related to each department to ensure their interns are prepared before coming to the hospital. This program is incredibly comprehensive, and the cost includes a minimum of 25 hours per week shadowing your team, all study materials, accommodations in Prague, food, and on-site tutorials up to three times per week. Can’t beat an internship that comes with free classes!

Cons: This internship route is obviously very specific, and really geared towards high-flying health care students. If you’re looking for an internship where you get general medical experience and more of an overview to help you decide the type of health care you’d like to work in, we suggest looking at some of the other providers listed in the link below.


3. London Calling - Intern Abroad with Music Industry Internship

The redcoats are coming! The world has never been the same since the British Invasion of music. So, it’s no surprise that the top music internship program is located in London! Musicians and music fans alike can participate in an internship in the European capital of music with the only specialized internship provider in the music industry. Their programs provide placements with some of the highest-regarded music labels, recording studios, radio stations, festival and event companies, PR firms, and management agencies in the industry.

young man in aviator sunglasses and suit and tie against maroon background

Suit up for your 6 month internship abroad.

Pros: Music Industry Internship offers a lot of flexibility in their placements, with opportunities year-round and even a music festival program in the spring/summer to give experience with some of the largest music festivals in Europe. If none of this strikes your fancy (how could it not?), this provider also offers internships in New York, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Los Angeles.

Cons: Unfortunately accommodations aren’t included, but their team does have relationships with several local housing providers and can help you pick the best option for your schedule and price range. They can even place bookings on your behalf so don’t let this deter you!


Taking Care of Business - Intern Abroad with Connect-123

Let’s get down to defeat...your resume! Connect-123 offers some of the best business internship placements in the industry, where you can learn about all types of business careers including accounting, marketing and advertising, human resources, sales, operations, and general business administration.

In all of their locations, work placements are hosted by local companies and nonprofit organizations, so you will return home with a firm understanding of what it’s like to work in another country, not just what it’s like to work for an international conglomerate doing exactly what you could do at home. Great for any type of young professional or those changing careers!

Pros: Connect-123 offers a lot to their interns, including accommodations with local families or fellow young professionals from around the world, and you can pick between international business capitals such as Shanghai, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Dublin, or Cape Town for your location. All durations and start dates are flexible so you can really make the most out of your time abroad!

young woman with long hair working at minimalist workspace with white background

No more cramped and damp study rooms for you!

Cons: Not all companies are created equal, so be sure you do your homework before accepting an internship at any business. Even though you won’t be an actual employee, it’s important that the company you intern for has a good workplace reputation and provides opportunity for their employees so that you won’t just be getting coffee and answering a phone during your internship. Use websites like Glassdoor to read company reviews before accepting an internship!


5. Bon Appetit - Intern Abroad with Global Experiences

Would you take “Food Network and chill” over Netflix any day? Are all of your Pinterest boards filled with hundreds of recipes? Can you be found in the kitchen at pretty much any time of day? Time to get in touch with your inner Bobby Flay and become a culinary arts intern! Global Experiences offers culinary internships in restaurants, pastry shops, cafes, and hotels across gastro-famous cities like Dublin, Florence, and Shanghai.

Pros: Global Experiences really wants their interns to succeed, so they work one-on-one with their interns to make sure the program fits their needs. This even includes the location! If you would rather learn to cook spӓtzle over spaghetti or latkes over lo mein, talk to their admissions counselors to help you pick a different location!

Cons: Global Experiences requires interns to have a background in culinary arts, so you will unfortunately need a bit more than just a passion for food to participate in one of their programs. This ensures, though, that your internship will be legit and not just setting and clearing tables!


[Save and compare internship programs side-by-side with MyGoAbroad]

time-lapse photo of meeting and brainstorm session

Remember all those group projects you hate doing? Well, that experience might actually come in handy (but, don’t tell your professors that…).

How to find other 6 month internships abroad

If none of our top 6 month internships resonate with your career goals or heart-eye-emoji travel dreams, fear not. There are dozens of 6 month internships out there — both in your home country and internationally — and we know juuuust the ticket to help you find them.

  • Step 1: Figure out where you want to go. Do you want to intern around the corner or around the world? Keep in mind that the skills borne of international experiences look extra sexy on a resume. 
  • Step 2: Decide when you want to go. Are you keen to find summer internships? Prefer autumn in Paris over springtime? No matter the time of year, just make sure it’s compatible with your availability and academic calendar.
  • Step 3: Start finding programs. Lucky for you, GoAbroad makes it *super* easy to filter internships and narrow your search results ‘til you find *the one.* Just head over to our Internships Directory to get this professional-skills-development-party started.
  • Step 4: Overwhelmed? Ask for help. Our team of Online Advisors LOVE to give advice on the perfect internship for you. Just send them your preferences and they’ll work their magic.
  • Step 5: Cross analyze and compare. Now that you have a couple of finalists in the running for your internship, login to your MyGoAbroad account and size them up — side by side. Consider reviews, inclusions, cost, and how well the program aligns with your ultimate goals.
  • Step 6: Pick your program, pack your bags, and go! We’ll see you there. :-)

And now that you’re ready to start kicking butt from day one of your internship, here’s what you need to do to maximize the potential of your time abroad.

Make the most of your 6 month internship

An internship abroad is really the only time in your life when it is acceptable to be in the working world and not really know what you’re doing. It is meant to be the ultimate learning experience, where you surround yourself with people who do know what they’re doing and hope they teach you a thing or two. Make the most of your 6 month internship abroad by spending time with anyone and everyone and really pick their brains, ask advice, talk about the industry, and get real career feedback. If you are doing something wrong in your job or you are working in the wrong industry, it’s better to learn it as an intern than as an employee 10 years down the road!

Ultimately, any experience abroad is better than none, but if you have the option to do something really meaningful and get work experience out of your time abroad, DO IT. Whatever your career path or desired industry, an internship abroad is always a good idea, and the longer you can do it for, the better! So, instead of faking your way through your study abroad classes and spending your free time frolicking around a foreign country, swap the classes for a internship and enjoy frolicking around sans homework!

Find the right internship abroad for you