Well, why not do both? It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Students who have worked abroad are even more appealing to employers because they know what it means to fully immerse oneself into another country’s customs in a career-based environment.
Thinking about getting into marketing after graduation? Intern in China as a brand intern (it exists!). Wondering what it’s like to manage other people from a cultural perspective? Work as a human resources intern in Colombia (that exists too!).
As a UNC student you have access to GoingGlobal, an international job & internship search database, to help you find that internship abroad. Here are ways you can use this tool for an internship search abroad:
To start, use an international or country specific search engine. Websites like Indeed.com are only used domestically so you won’t be able to use it in this search. Check out the “Jobs/Internships” section of GoingGlobal to find an internship in the country you will be studying in. You can even search for a specific organization of interest in the “Employer Directory” section.
Find out what resumes/CV’s look like in your host country. Beyond the US, many countries refer to resumes as CVs even though they are the same document. Country-specific resumes may include information we normally leave out in the US. French resumes, for example, include personal information like nationality and date of birth whereas US resumes do not. Check out the “Country Guides” section for tips on how to prepare these documents and examples of country-specific resumes.
Know what is customary when interviewing abroad. Did you know that in Singapore you should hand over your resume to an employer using both hands as a sign of respect? Or that in Ireland follow-up thank you letters can make you seem desperate? Okay, these are some of the larger disparities between the US and other countries, but the “Country Guides” section can help you to find out what is customary when interviewing abroad – from interview prep, during the interview, to post interview norms.
Get an appropriate work permit. You will need to get a work visa that gives you the right to gain an internship abroad. The “H1B Visa” and “Country Guides” section offer information on the process. Be sure to research this one well before you leave for study abroad to make sure you bring the right documents. Applying for a work permit abroad can also take a few days or weeks.
Become familiar with customs. Learning the ways of another culture will be the basis of your entire experience abroad. You will likely grow in ways you don’t expect. Before you board that plane, take a moment to find out about the new culture you are stepping into. This will not only ease your transition abroad but show your internship employer that you are a competitive, professional candidate.
Have a wonderful trip!
Assistant Director, UCS