The debate on overseas or local internship goes on. Which should be your best choice? Let’s take a look at the difference between an overseas and a local internship, as well as pros and cons of each.
Overseas internships are more costly as you need to purchase air tickets to travel and pay for accommodation in the host country. The cost of living in the host country may also be higher than back home. However, your internship stipend overseas may be higher than that at a local internship, which can balance out the higher cost of living.
Doing a local internship is less costly, especially if you are staying with your parents. There is no need to carry out extensive financial calculations as there will be minimal change to your lifestyle, apart from the internship stipend and possibly cost of transportation and food.
Going on an overseas internship involves more risks, especially if it is your first time being in the host country, or if you are not familiar with the native language. You will need to take care of your own affairs and needs, and you will not get as much support from friends and family as you do back home. Emotional and mental preparation is therefore necessary before going on an overseas internship. Especially if you are not very familiar with the native language, you will need to take some time to get accustomed to it which may add on to the pressure and stress of living alone overseas.
Doing a local internship is, on the other hand, less risky as you will continue to receive support from your family and friends to help you manage your time and stress level. And as there is minimal change in your lifestyle, it takes less time to get accustomed to the working environment, thus catching up is much faster and easier.
According to the Independent, 65% of UK employers said they favour applicants with experience overseas. Overseas internships convey certain personal qualities in students, such as self-independence, tolerance towards risks, willingness to take initiative, maturity, etc. These are highly desirable traits in an applicant, therefore employers continue to show strong preference towards applicants with overseas internship experience.
Having experienced an overseas internship also presents a student with more opportunities for employment and career advancement, as working with someone overseas has become increasingly common in today’s modern economy, even if one is working locally.
4. Personal development:
Both overseas and local internships contribute to your development as a student, a job applicant and an individual. By going through an internship, you develop interpersonal skills, time and stress management, network with professionals in the field and develop greater self-confidence. Both local and overseas internships also help you fine tune technical skills and develop new ones.
Overseas internships, however, have the potential to develop your cultural sensitivity, appreciation and ability to comfortably interact with people from different backgrounds. You will also grow more mature compared to when doing a local internship, as the need to take care of yourself and settle your own affairs will mould you into a more independent individual.
For more on benefits of doing an overseas internship, take a look at this article.
When weighing the options of doing an overseas or local internship, take note of the above factors: cost, risk, reputation with employers and personal development you will gain from the experience. Finding the right internship will kickstart an exciting career track and help you find out more about your career choices and inclinations.