How to cope with an international internship: Part 2


If you’ve read part one and can’t think of a good enough reason not to pursue an international internship (there aren’t many), then it is time to get started on securing yourself a great opportunity.

Q: Where to start?

A: Google.

Search keywords that pertain to the type of job you want, the industry you’d like to work in or the organization you’d like to work for. You may come across websites that act like job banks or link to specific job postings. Document your search in order to avoid duplicating information or applications.

A great place to start is here! It lists some of the most popular websites to kick start your search!

Another great website to consider is Canadian Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s youth section. If you are between the ages of 18 and 35, the Canadian government has a program designed for young Canadians to travel and work abroad.

The program includes two options: Option A is more independent, giving you a list of participating countries and leaving the rest up to you. Option B connects you (for a fee) with an international organization that will help you to secure a position.

The early bird catches the international internship

The search process involves more trial and error than job hunting, so it is important to begin your search AT LEAST 6 – 12 months in advance of your planned departure. Pay special attention to requirements and restrictions, such as age, work and study visas, and contracts.

Cross the T’s and dot the I’s

Another advantage to planning your internship in advance is the time it frees up to tie up all loose ends at home. You will need to look into medical insurance coverage and bank account accessibility, among other things. Designate someone you trust to have access your information in case of emergencies (like a lingering cell phone bill you forgot to pay).

It’s never too early…

…to start thinking about an international opportunity. Even if it only appears to be a distant dream, join an international student organization at your school. Programs like AIESEC have campus groups all over the globe and provide valuable information.

Get involved with the international department of your school and meet the exchange students. You never know whose friend, brother, mother or cousin has a job waiting for you in another country (or, at least, a reason to travel).

Network, network, network

If you’ve ever browsed a company’s website and noticed they have bases internationally, ask about them. Develop strong relationships with those around you at your internships and co-op positions to show an interest in the opportunity to work for them abroad. You never know who has the power to make that happen for you!

Be persistent

Nothing worth it ever comes easily! The amount of preparation, paperwork and productivity may seem daunting, but don’t give up! The possibilities are endless and the perfect international internship is waiting for you, if you want it.

About the author

Ashley Koen is a fourth-year Communication studies and Sociology student at Wilfrid Laurier University. She says she lives for adventure and social change, and her dream job would be a travel writer. She plans to visit all seven continents in her lifetime (yes, even Antartica) and she's almost halfway there. She spent last summer living in France, tasting wines and interning. She believes in the value of experience and her personal philosophy to live by is, "Not all those who wander are lost."