Pursuing an international internship in biology is an excellent way to get a better understanding of the many specializations within the field as well as obtain direct work experience. You will see firsthand the different areas of concentration that you can pursue for your own career, allowing you to make an informed choice before you decide where you’d like to focus your career. In a field that is highly competitive and specialized, experience as a biology intern abroad will help you stand out from other candidates, both on your resume and during interviews.
Why Intern Abroad in Biology
Getting a real world understanding of what is required to be a successful biologist, or what a job in biology entails, is invaluable, and international biology internships are the best way to do both of the latter. You’ll get an idea of the skills, time commitment, and mentality that are needed to excel in the field, and you will also learn more about potential specializations, which include medical research, environmental education, botany, wildlife fieldwork, and ecology. By completing a biology internship abroad, you will learn more about your own passions and abilities, boost your resume, and gain practical knowledge about the day-to-day work of biologists.
In addition to learning more about the field you will be able to build relationships and connections with people from a different background. Through cross-cultural exchange and understanding, you will strengthen your communication skills and learn about different methods of approaching common challenges. You’ll encounter new situations, through living and working abroad, and you will learn how to adapt to each new situation, which will be a great skill to take home with you.
By interning abroad in biology, you will be able to expand upon the lessons you have learned within the classroom and see how each one is applied in the real world. You’ll get to see the animals, plants, people, and communities that are a part of the global conversations that are inherently related to biology. Employers are focused on hiring biologists who have a firm understanding of today’s complexities, and international biology internships will provide the experience needed to prove your understanding is well rounded.
Choosing to intern abroad in biology will provide you with many different opportunities to gain professional experience abroad. You might start by narrowing down which specializations interest you, and then determine which countries would best lend themselves to your goals.
Ecuador is a great destination to consider for biology internships abroad, since it is one of the most biologically diverse countries on earth. The people in Ecuador are friendly and enjoy building friendships with foreign visitors, especially if you’re able to speak a little Spanish. Much of Ecuador’s land is well preserved and has not been altered by mass industry, making it all the more wonderful to explore. You’ll find internship opportunities in community outreach and education as well as more focused biology internship placements in conservation, botany, and wildlife. The Galapagos Islands are one of the world’s most famous destinations for biologists; if you come all the way to Ecuador, you don’t want to miss them!
Australia is an excellent choice for biology internships abroad, because of the wide variety of placements as well as the chance to partner with leading universities in biological research. Potential specializations for internships in Australia include ecology, microbiology, and zoology. Interns will meet professionals who can be great resources for career questions and future references. With friendly people and an emphasis on recreation throughout the country, Australia is a great place to intern abroad in biology for those who want to spend their free time outdoors doing activities, such as surfing, diving, and kayaking.
Costa Rica offers an amazing blend of Spanish language, welcoming people, and biological diversity. With a focus on environmental stewardship to protect its wide range of forests, beaches, and rivers, the country is a wonderful place to delve into biology. Almost one fourth of Costa Rica is classified as protected national parks, giving researchers the opportunity to coordinate in-depth studies of the species which call Costa Rica home. The world-famous town of Monteverde is home to a cloud forest, but throughout the rest of the country you can find volcanoes, mangroves, paramo, and coral reefs.
Biology Internships Abroad
There are a wide variety of biology internships abroad, depending on your specific goals and interests. The organization you are matched with might be a non-profit, government group, or private company, and your role may be devoted to a number of areas within the field.
Field Work. An important element of biological research is gathering field data. Potential biology internships in field work may focus on marine biology studying sharks or a coral reef system or on the ecology of a rainforest, for example. There are research stations in all types of biomes around the world, including deserts, grasslands, forests, tundra, and even the ocean.
Educational Outreach. If you are interested in going directly into the community to work with people, educational outreach is a good area of focus for your biology internship abroad. Many times local citizens are not connected with the research going on in their area; in order for them to learn more about the reasons behind research programs, interns can assist local organizations in visiting communities and conducting outreach programs to raise awareness.
Biology Tourism. Many national parks, wildlife refuge centers, dive shops, and conservation groups around the world offer the chance for travelers to learn about biology and the environment while on vacation. These institutions are well-respected and and do important work, allowing biologists to focus on both research as well as working directly with people.
You can intern abroad in biology anytime throughout the year; most organizations offer flexible start dates, depending on the length of your internship placement. If there is a certain species or phenomenon you want to explore, it is good to factor this into your decision on when to intern abroad in biology. Since many biology internships abroad are customized, you’ll most likely narrow down top areas of study and the organization will coordinate your specific internship.
Usually there is no experience required to intern abroad in biology, just an interest in the subject matter. If you have experience working with or researching a certain type of animal, you can share this so they can keep this in mind. Many biology internships abroad will begin with on-the-job training, so you can learn the tasks you’ll be working on and expectations of the group.
Determine Your Career Focus. Biology internships abroad will give you an idea of the many specializations open to biologists, and can help you determine what you want to focus on in your own career. You’ll be able to build relationships with researchers, activists, policy makers, volunteers, and scientists around the world, and get a better understanding of what they do every day.
Set Yourself Apart. Through international biology internships, you will set yourself apart from others competing for biology jobs in the future. And, by getting direct experience in your field, you’ll gain practical skills and knowledge that can help you in future positions too. You’ll also get an idea of how biology is practiced around the world, giving you insight that would not be possible without completing an internship abroad.