Construction is an industry that could take you anywhere around the globe. You might be looking for experience in a sector that, let’s face it, will never go out of fashion, or maybe you’re motivated by working with development projects, which provide sustainable facilities for needy communities. Either way, a construction internship abroad will leave you with dirt under your fingernails and a realization that construction is so much more than physically building; it’s about the bridges you can build to new places and between people, and the countless future possibilities the latter bridges bring.
Why Intern Abroad in Construction
Construction isn’t all hard hats, concrete blocks, and yellow JCB’s. Oh no, a construction internship abroad will be all about laying the foundations for your future career, and possibly helping to establish the beginning of a better life for communities in-need. Thanks to the global reach of the construction, the world is filled with building projects! The lessons in business and community development that a construction internship abroad inevitably provide are highly sought by employers across all sectors. As our societies become ever more intertwined, living and working abroad in any location will provide you with invaluable tools needed to get your career started anywhere on the planet.
Considering the wealth of construction internship opportunities available in all countries great and small, you must start your search for internship placements with the most important question of all: where do you want to go? Choose the tranquility of tiny, secluded villages in the heart of dense, lush rainforests or opt for the hustle and bustle of some of the world’s most captivating and buzzing cities, the choice is yours. The range of construction internships available to you may make you feel like you’ve been handed the world on a concrete platter. But, all you need to do is decide which of the countless opportunities will suit you best.
Tropical Thailand may be better known as a budget backpacking destination, but construction internships here are perfect for those wanting to give back to Thai communities who have opened their arms to decades of intrepid tourists. Popular locations for construction internships in Thailand include the blissful serenity of the northern capital, Chiang Mai. The ancient city center of Chang Mai is still peppered with temples and the remains of the city’s fortress walls, but a short motorcycle ride will take interns out into stunning, verdant countryside.
Other interns may find themselves more drawn to the island paradise of Koh Samui. Although a well-established backpacking and tourist destination, rural living in Southern Thailand remains a possibility, with white, unspoiled sands included.
One of the most frequently chosen destinations for construction internships abroad is the world’s most populous country: China. Home to one of the fastest developing economies in the world, China is also the perfect place to grab some resume gold dust (a.k.a. Mandarin Chinese skills) while living in vibrant, though sometimes overwhelmingly-dynamic, cities. The nation’s capital, Beijing, is on many interns’ radars. Home to the Forbidden City and the historically significant Tiananmen Square, it’s no surprise that interns head to Beijing in droves. The highly sought after nature of China’s delicious, and unexpectedly subtle, cuisine might also have something to do with the ability to devour baskets of delicious breakfast dim sum dumplings or steaming bowls of spicy noodles from hole-in-the-wall restaurants at nearly any time of day.
Shanghai is also a very popular location for construction internships abroad. As one of the world’s fastest-growing cities (and close to reclaiming the title as East Asia’s leading business center), Shanghai offers unique placement opportunities for those who choose to intern in the “Queen of the Orient”. But, it won’t be all work and no play; interns can easily idle away on a Saturday afternoon ambling along the incongruous strip of colonial buildings of the Bund on the west bank of the river or pass their evenings sipping on Tsingtao beer in the thriving modern city of Shanghai. Gānbēi!
Alternatively, let your internship aspirations take you to frantic, yet fascinating, India. For a surprising mix of lung-busting hiking possibilities and unfettered spiritualism, look to the town of Dharamsala in the Himachal Pradesh state. At the foot of the Himalaya Mountains, this distinctive part of the country is nicknamed “Little Tibet,” after becoming home to the Dalai Lama and seat of the exiled Tibetan Government. Interns can trek 15,000 foot mountains to bring their bodies into closer proximity with nature and practice meditation in Buddhist temples to send their minds nearer to elusive inner peace.
If Dharamsala sounds too sleepy, head to Mumbai. Life in Mumbai is swollen with traffic, and poverty is unfortunately visible at every corner; but, this cosmopolitan city offers some of the best insights into modern India you’ll find anywhere in the country. Interns will be enticed down hidden streets by vendors hawking delicious plates of kheema pav (fried minced meat and bread) and avoid going green with envy by taking part in Holi (the “Festival of Color”) and painting the town red, yellow, blue, and...well, any other color under the sun.
Construction Internships Abroad
Construction internships range from placements in big businesses to compact communities; it’s essential you have an idea of what your goals are for your construction internship before you choose a placement. For resume building, you should seek our construction internships in rapidly-developing, multi-national corporations. For charitable aims, NGOs and social organizations around the world are constantly seeking skilled hands to help construct new schools, health centers, and other essential buildings.
If you’re looking for a professional internship in construction, a placement in construction management will help lay the initial bricks for a lucrative career in the field. Interning with a globally successful construction company, will give you peer-surpassing experience in a new culture and environment and help you build invaluable international contacts. By interning in construction abroad, you’ll acquire knowledge of emerging markets and the distinctive challenges they face, landing you on the top floor in terms of career prospects when you return home.
If suits and skyscrapers aren’t part of your skyline, you’ll find that many charitable organizations offer construction internships for those interested in working on community building projects. By assessing the needs of communities, you’ll be able to play an active role in planning and implementation of projects, whether renovating existing structures, building shiny, new buildings, improving sanitary facilities with better toilets, or providing access to clean water. Given an estimated 100 million people worldwide are homeless, interning abroad on house building projects will be something great to add to your resume, and more community-focused internship placements are worth their weight in gold; the golden smiles of the people who you’ve helped, that is. Cha-ching.
Finally, you can pursue a construction internship focused on eco-building projects or green building initiatives. With the focus on ecological sustainability, you’ll see how the billions of tons of rubbish we throw out each year can be turned into new materials for construction projects. Get creative with alternative building methods, such as glass bottles becoming natural lighting or bricks and filled plastic bottles turning into fencing. You’re guaranteed to see the multitude of possibilities in every humble piece of rubbish you encounter after interning in one of these construction projects.
Professional construction internships will often require an undergraduate or master’s degree in a related subject, but others will only expect a sense of enthusiasm and a desire to make a difference.
Benefits & Challenges
If you’re pursuing a career in the construction industry, what better way to get a foot in the door than by proving your metal in an emerging market? Life might be a little bonkers in some of the world’s most frantic new cities, but the experiences you’ll gain will put a wall between you and your peer group, making time spent interning abroad the most invaluable step on the career ladder that you can take.
On the flip-side, working alongside impoverished communities will be hard-hitting, and your interaction with the frontline of poverty sometimes difficult to swallow, but the construction projects you’ll help to complete will be life-changing for local communities. Gaining career-enhancing experience by working in challenging, complex conditions, while having a tangible impact, will make the hard work all the more worth it.
Whatever your focus, you’ll find yourself establishing links across the world through construction internships abroad. Experience living outside of your comfort zone will also undoubtedly alter your perceptions on what the globe has to offer, shaping future choices and providing you with the skills and experiences to pursue your chosen career.