Internships abroad are an excellent opportunity to gain work experience, meet new friends and prepare you for your future career. You will be able to experience living in a different country and fully immerse yourself into a new and exciting culture. The UK is undoubtedly a fantastic place to do an internship and there are countless opportunities in different sectors – from fashion to retail, finance, media and many more. An exchange partner can help to provide you with the language and communication skills which you’ll need for your time in the UK. Once you arrive you will be continually improving your abilities and adapting to a new lifestyle. If you’ve been thinking about an internship in the UK, but you’re not sure where to start – take a look at some of our top tips:
1. DETERMINE YOUR GOALS
Your experience abroad can potentially lead you to your dream job, which is why we advise dedicating time to think about your career goals before applying for an internship. If you’re feeling confused or you’re still undecided on your future career path, don’t worry. Your internship doesn’t necessarily have to relate to what you want to do long-term. Working abroad is a great experience, even if you do decide that the job you’ve worked in is not right for you. You’ll have the chance to enjoy new surroundings and explore your options whilst improving your language skills every day.
2. CHOOSE A LOCATION THAT APPEALS TO YOU
Choosing a location is the first important step to finding your internship. When making your decision, consider how confident you are with the language, and if you see yourself enjoying the day-to-day lifestyle. It’s good to have an idea of what to expect everyday life to be like before you commit to an internship. The UK is a fun and exciting place to live – just be sure to do your research or even ask people who live in the UK for advice. If it is an option for you – you could take a short weekend break to get a real feel for the culture before you decide to move.
3. ASK YOUR EXCHANGE PARTNER TO HELP YOU WITH INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC LANGUAGE
If you’re comfortable with your exchange partner, you can begin to discuss more specific topics. At the beginning of each session, you should be making a brief plan regarding how you’ll spend your time and what you aim to achieve from your conversation. If you are hoping to work in the catering industry – you might want to practice common British phrases that people will be likely to use in your workplace. This is a chance to find out about the culture of the industry from somebody who has experienced it first-hand. Using your exchanges to learn more about your internship abroad will set you aside from applicants who have only used the internet to do their research.
4. CHECK OVER YOUR RESUME
Internships abroad are becoming increasingly popular, especially in lively cities full of opportunities, such as London. You’ll need to make yourself stand out from the crowd if you want to get the job that’s right for you. Your resume is the first impression that you’ll be giving to your potential employer. It is your chance to sell yourself as the right candidate for the role. We have listed the top things you’ll need to include in yours:
• Key skills – For example, if you’re applying for an internship in a customer service based role, you can talk about times when you’ve used communication or problem-solving skills.
• Work experience – If you don’t have direct work experience, you can still highlight relevant skills that will make you stand out. You might want to talk about a time when you’ve worked in a team or managed a project.
• Your interests and hobbies – Not everything on your resume has to be about work; it’s great to show off your bubbly personality and your social interests.
• Travel experience – If you’ve travelled before, this could be something employers will be interested in hearing about, because it shows that you can adapt to new environments and comfortably meet new people.
If you get stuck when you’re trying to write your resume – there are plenty of helpful tips and guides you can find online. If you are a student, your university or college might be able to provide useful resources or templates.
5. FINDING THE RIGHT INTERNSHIP
There are so many opportunities in the UK, meaning you’re more than likely to find an internship that is suitable for you. Be sure to do your research and apply for roles that you think will still excite you long-term. If you’re interested in a particular company but can’t find any opportunities online – you could still contact them and show an interest. Reaching out to a company will show them how enthusiastic you are, and you never know what they might have to offer you. If you are already studying– make sure you ask your teacher or career adviser to help you. Often, universities provide students with internships in the UK, volunteering positions and work placements. Moving to a new country and being surrounded by new people is a great opportunity, but it can be quite daunting. Asking for help and advice will make the process feel less overwhelming.
6. DON’T LEAVE THE PRACTICAL THINGS TO THE LAST MINUTE
With all the excitement of moving away from home and starting a new and exciting internship – it can be easy to forget the practical side of things. When planning to travel to the UK from abroad – you’ll need to consider how much money you’ll have to save before you commit to an internship. Not all internships will pay you a wage, so it’s essential to ensure you’re applying for a position that will suit your financial needs. We recommend trying to save some money before starting your journey. Once you arrive, a part-time weekend or evening job is another way to earn some extra cash on the side and make new friends. Another thing you will need to think about is your visa. There are different types of visas you will be eligible to apply for, depending on your current living circumstances. You can read more about this here: https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/work-visas.
7. PREPARE FOR AN INTERVIEW
Once you’ve landed yourself an interview, you should start reading about the company, what they offer, and how they work. The most important part of the interview preparation, however, is what you can offer. Your internship will undoubtedly benefit you – but, the company will also want to hire somebody who is going to help them. We suggest preparing some answers to standard interview questions and trying to make them personal and unique to you. Your language exchange partner can be a great help throughout your interview process. Using your time with them to practice answering questions will ensure that your language abilities and conversational skills make you stand out in the best way possible. Nothing will impress employers more than somebody who is motivated, hard-working and has a genuine interest in their culture and the experience they’re offering.