Studying, Interning, Volunteering, Teaching, or Working Abroad
Students who study abroad gain experience that is unforgettable and invaluable and can not be paralleled at home. Cultural immersion is an essential aspect of studying abroad and provides students with a basic understanding of business practices associated with different cultural norms and values. Many employers today seek employees with cross – cultural competence and students who have managed to study, intern, or volunteer abroad are especially appealing to employers and are able to offer a global perspective in their work.
There is also a chance that an internship will lead to a full – time job offer which can prove especially valuable since it is often quite difficult to get hired overseas while living in the states. Transitions Abroad offers a wealth of information on the different types of opportunities available abroad as well as ways to cover expenses while living overseas.
Interning abroad offers students and new graduates an experience that may be one of the most valuable of their college education. There are opportunities to work in many career fields as well as gaining additional knowledge that corresponds to the courses taught in specific majors at colleges across the country. InternAbroad.com offers students from any major to find opportunities in over ninety different countries. Transitions Abroad also offers many resources for finding internships abroad. IES Abroad meets the needs of over 5,000 students per year and offers more than 80 programs in over 31 cities.
It is the oldest and most reputable study abroad program available and works diligently to provide cultural immersion experiences that will alter the course of a student’s academic growth and experience. Work the World provides internship opportunities for students interested in medicine, physical therapy, nursing, midwifery, dental outreach, radiographic, dentistry, and pharmacy in locations such as Argentina, Ghana, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Tanzaniea.
Students who study abroad also may find internships or short - term work assignments that lets them remain in the country for an additional few months after their studies are completed. Next Step Connections offers a variety of internships in China along with CRCC Asia that focuses on internship opportunities available in Beijing and Shanghai. Even the American Medical Association offers international internships, conferences, fellowships, and courses for students interested in global health issues. Boston University International Programs offers numerous programs for students.
In addition to internships there are many volunteer positions available for students especially in undeveloped countries. Programs such as Cross-Cultural Solutions, Concordia Language Villages, The Earthwatch Institute, and Global Volunteers are just a few of the programs available. Although students will usually not get paid for these experiences, they will gain valuable knowledge about the culture, language, and workplace of the host country which is recognized and valued by today’s employers. Living abroad provides many opportunities for growth and requires a certain resilience and personal flexibility which is appealing to employers when hiring new employees.
If you are interested in making a real difference and don’t mind committing to a two year assignment, you may be interested in becoming a Peace Corps volunteer. The Peace Corps provides opportunities and a way to completely immerse in a new culture, learn a new language, as well as a means for helping others. The Peace Corps offers student loan deferments and having served in the Peace Corps opens doors for future careers when applying with corporations, nonprofit or government agencies. The Peace Corps also offers many educational benefits to achieve additional education upon completion of two years of service. In addition, returning Peace Corps volunteers who meet the eligibility requirements for government jobs will be considered for one year non – completitive eligibility for such jobs as well as providing transition services offering job assistance and educational opportunities that are available.
Working for the United States Department of State
The U.S. Department of State also offers several student employment programs that provides American students with an opportunity to experience working in a foreign affairs office. Some American students may work in Washington, DC, while others may work in an embassy overseas. The State Department also funds several fellowship programs.
Teaching overseas is also another option for those looking for an experience abroad. Teaching English as a Second Language, Teaching in Overseas Schools Operated by the Department of Defense, Teaching in American and International Schools Overseas are among the various opportunities available. There are more than 600 American owned or supported schools abroad. Be sure to check out Aardvark’s English Forum - a comprehensive web portal with a wealth of resources for students and teachers of English (ESL, EFL, ELT, TESOL, TEFL, and TESL). Teach Abroad lists many opportunities for finding teaching jobs abroad. EscapeArtist.com also offers many jobs and teaching opportunities overseas. Hess Educational Organization offers opportunities to teach English in Taiwan while the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET} offers teaching positions in Japan.
Common Acronyms used for teaching positions overseas include:
ELT = English Language Teacher
ESL = English as a Second Language
TEFL = Teaching English as a Foreign Language
TESL = Teaching English as a Second Language
TESOL = Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Although there are many opportunities available abroad, the key to success is doing the research to find which is the right choice for you.
Taking the time to learn of the many options available requires time and planning which will give you the ability to compare programs. When looking at internship programs, be sure to compare costs with what each organization offers. Programs that offer housing and food in addition to placement and handling of all of the required paperwork may prove to be more cost efficient than one that offers no such options.