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Student Internship and Work Abroad Checklist

Ensure a Successful Search

By Jane Cary

Women with phone using map

Before Leaving

  • Make a list of alumni living in the city and country where you’ll be.

  • Talk with students who are back from your future study site. Did any work or perform an internship while there? How did they arrange it?

  • Read the sections of all work abroad websites and books that mention the country or city where you’ll be.

  • Browse the website for more information on work abroad.

While Abroad

  • Maintain a “contacts” notebook (physical or digital). Include the name, address, phone number, email address of every interesting professional you meet.

  • Contact alumni. Meet them at their place of business or socially. Express your interest in staying on after your program of study ends, or your interest in returning after graduation.

  • Check online company job posting boards, the local Yellow Pages and the daily paper want ads for future reference.

  • Look for schools that teach in English. What qualifications do their teachers have?

  • If in a homestay, take every opportunity to meet the family’s friends and extended family. Network.

  • Practice the local language. Meet the “natives” in all walks of life, constantly. Read the local and national papers and periodicals whether in physical or digital format.

  • Introduce yourself to older Americans living locally. Learn about where they are or were employed and how they obtained their positions.

  • Pay attention to the living costs of the host country and figure out how much money you would need.

  • Have a standby friend at home pick up and save summer job and internship information for you.

  • If graduate study in that country is an option, get information while you’re there.

After Returning

  • Visit your Career Center early and often to learn about its services for job-hunting seniors; attend all relevant job-seekers workshops.

  • Find out if firms with offices abroad recruit on campus. Don’t be distressed to learn that you might have to work in the U.S. first.

  • Ascertain whether you will need a higher degree to obtain the job you want. What graduate entrance exams are required? Where in the U.S. or abroad can that degree be earned? Make time to gather and pursue short-term and more permanent work-abroad resources.

  • Prepare your resume. Make sure it describes your experience abroad and all the skills you acquired, including language competency.

  • Keep in touch with all the contacts you gathered abroad. Write or email them, stating your serious interest in returning to work in that country after graduation (if you are serious).

  • Investigate short-session programs that teach the Teaching of English as a Second Language. Do they help with job placement?

  • Assess your financial situation. How much money must you earn before you go? How long can you afford to live abroad?

  • Find a friend to job hunt with. Two heads are better than one: you can share leads and contacts.

Jane Cary wrote this piece while the Associate Director of Career Counseling and the Study Abroad Advisor at Amherst College, and has since moved on to Williams College.

Related Topics
Short-Term Jobs Abroad
Internships Abroad
Work Abroad Advisor

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