One of the best ways to ensure you stand out when applying for a graduate role post-uni is to have international work experience.
It goes without saying that there are numerous benefits to gaining real-world work experience in any professional company because this provides scope for your continued growth and development.
An internship or placement year with a business in another country can be even more valuable, as it plucks you right out of your comfort zone and exposes you to different ways of working and cultures.
Not only will you get the benefit of working on real projects that make a difference to the company’s continued success – automatically helping you develop skills that will make you employable in the future – but you’ll also face the challenge of adapting to a foreign work culture at the same time.
Whether it’s a performing arts internship in Italy, wildlife conservation in South Africa, accounting work internship in Switzerland or even snowboard training in Japan, there really is something for everyone, no matter who you are or what your passions are.
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Global work experience schemes
There are no limits to your ambition as it’s possible to find experience in any region of the world, from South America to Asia.
Gaining work experience in emerging markets, including China and India, will offer you first-hand insight into what makes those countries successful while letting you immerse yourself in their culture.
When you first start googling for international work experience, you might notice loads of placements and internships available in hospitality. There’s a lot more variety, with hundreds of work experience opportunities within business sectors; these include...
Finance and banking
Where can you find work experience abroad?
KPMG offers a global internship program that is designed to equip you with experience of working with some of the company’s biggest clients, anywhere from Japan to India to the US.
Companies like BUNAC focus on organising work experience adventures and industrial placements in far-flung destinations. On one of these, you could spend six months in Fiji carrying out marine research or teach in Colombia for four weeks.
Credit Suisse organise business-oriented internships and placements in a range of exciting locations including Switzerland and South Korea.
Each amazing experience offers an unrivalled opportunity to delve into a foreign culture and develop as a person, as well as give you skills and qualifications that can set you apart from other graduates in this competitive job market.
One of the best ways to travel to all four corners and make a difference to diverse, international societies is to become involved in global, conservation efforts.
It’s a solid way to create an impact on important, worldwide projects, hone key skills, learn life lessons and develop as a person by volunteering abroad and joining one of the many, many sustainability projects.
What are the different types of conservation projects?
While not a comprehensive list of the kind of initiatives you can get involved in, examples of global conservation projects and volunteering opportunities include:
Teaching English abroad in foreign education centres
Providing language coaching to groups or individuals
Becoming involved in the day-to-day life of a community
Surveying wildlife on location to help communities protect animals
Working with other international volunteers to safeguard certain endangered animal species
Helping out local social groups by providing healthcare assistance
Lending a hand with construction and infrastructure development tasks
The locations may be exotic and like nothing you've ever seen before, but remember, when you volunteer abroad you aren't just packing your bags for a holiday!
Why is international conservation work important?
What is it about global conservation work that makes it vital? From a personal point of view it can help you learn and develop key skills that can give you the foundation you need to thrive in your future career.
From an ecological and environmental standpoint you can take an active role in many important projects that benefit not only local communities, but also the global ecosystem – like limiting the impact of deforestation, helping societies access clean water supplies and protecting vulnerable rainforests.
Are you paid during a placement abroad?
The majority of international work experiences are unpaid.
A placement year abroad costs a lot to organise, meaning you’ll have to pay for international work experiences. The more expensive the scheme is, the more support you’ll receive.
Schemes start at around £900 and can cost as much as £6,300. These fees will largely cover the following...
If you’ve thought about working abroad and are slightly worried about the costs, there are dozens of schemes available to help fund your internship or placement abroad.
These come in the form of partial to full grants, scholarships and need-based aid to cover living expenses (food, travel, bills, accommodation) and the general cost of the scheme.
The Turing Scheme is a newly launched initiative that provides school, college and university students with the funding needed to study and work abroad.
The scheme will fully fund students who want to study or take part in a placement abroad. Your university will need to be registered to the scheme and will also need to apply on your behalf.
Is an internship or placement abroad a huge investment? Yes. Is it totally worth it? Absolutely.
International work experience is an electrifying way to develop your skills, make global professional connections and get top-tier work/life experience.
"My placement with Mountbatten was really enjoyable. It was a great way to experience a year in New York as a local and gain professional experience. Being immersed in American culture really boosted my confidence in a way that surprised me. I was never shy about coming forward, but after a year there it made me a lot more positive and sure of myself, which definitely helped when I got back to the UK and started looking for jobs." Event/Office Co-Ordinator at the Mountbatten Institute in New York City, USA
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