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By: Richard Menard, Director of Study Abroad

Oftentimes when students think of studying abroad, they think of it as an academic and cultural experience.  However, studying abroad can also increase professional opportunities via internships.  With assistance from the Study Abroad Office, students can apply for internships abroad. With the current job market and continued competitive applicant pool, graduates will surely benefit from internships in addition to their strong academic successes.

If less than 2% of American college students are studying abroad per year, how many students are doing internships abroad?  It’s LESS than .1%!  An internship with international flare and experience can give students the edge to apply for that dream job.

Several years ago, one of the few places a student could do an internship was in the U.K. However, with the spread of the English language, there are a host of cities and countries that students can now consider: Auckland, Beijing, Brussels, Florence, Pune, London, Melbourne and Seville.  Students have the option to do a straight internship experience while abroad or they can do a blended program that allows them to take some academic offerings toward their major, minor, or core requirements.

As stated in our previous article, “How to Choose a Study Abroad Program,” students should think strategically about how this experience will affect them. For instance, Brussels is great for business, international studies, and political science majors. Brussels is home to the European Parliament, the European Commission, NATO, and more non-governmental agencies than London or Paris.  Additionally, there are hundreds of diplomatic missions there for the Belgium government, the European Parliament, and NATO, as well as hundreds of businesses headquartered in Brussels specifically to lobby the European Union.  A civil engineering student might find Melbourne a better fit because engineering firms will allow students, within a certain scope and complexity, to consult with senior staff to gain valuable experience in civil engineering.

Studying abroad isn’t just about the student anymore; it’s also about the professional.  Internships are available for a semester, a school year, or during summer.  Students have opportunities to participate in experiences that weren’t available even ten years ago; it would behoove them to start developing their skills and resume now to become a global citizen. International travel alone doesn’t equal global citizenship, and doesn’t substitute for global competence.

This is the fifth part in an eleven-part series on Study Abroad. We will talk about how to choose your program, budgeting, safety abroad, internships, service learning, Gonzaga-in-Florence, Gonzaga-in-Paris, Faculty-Led Programs, Sponsored Programs, and Returning from Study Abroad.

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