The 10-Minute Guide to Overseas Internships

Many of us have considered doing an overseas internship and for so many good reasons. Working in a foreign country lets us experience a different culture and lifestyle, network and make deep connections with people around the world, develop stronger cultural sensitivity, increase our confidence, and improve our employability.

If you’ve been keen on getting one to broaden your perspectives and venture out of your comfort zone, do arm yourself with a resume and cover letter and then start applying as early as possible! Opportunities are coveted and tend to get snapped up quickly. Decide what kind of internships you’d like to go for and train yourself to be resilient and prepared for anything that comes your way.

What are the kinds of overseas internships you can get?

Paid

You get an internship stipend. Some companies might provide accomodation.

Free

No stipend at all. If you decide to go for the following, make sure to do your homework! Research on the company and their track record with interns, and ascertain the level of exposure you’ll get in terms of tasks and mentorship. Also, make sure that you have enough savings to make ends meet!

Hybrid

These are internships, offered by local organizations and entreprises, that offer some form of exposure to an overseas market. If spending months abroad is unfeasible, consider these as a great alternative.

Where can I find overseas internships?                       

Keen to explore your options? The best place to start looking would be your university’s Career and Attachment offices (or the equivalent), of course! The offices actively source for great internship opportunities and through collaborations or agreements, might have attractive postings that cannot be found elsewhere.

Otherwise, here are a few places to commence your search:

1. Entreprise Singapore

A statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Entreprise Singapore launched the Global Talent Ready Programme in October 2019. The Global Talent Ready Programme provides Singaporeans with internship and overseas work opportunities. The programme’s internships are with Singaporean entreprises, and overseas stints focus on Southeast Asia, India and China.

You can access all internship listings here!

2. MNCs/Large Firms

Many organizations like ACCA and HSBC offer university students (and fresh graduates) internship programmes with international exposure. If you have a organization you’ve always dreamt of working for, check them out first so that you won’t miss out on a precious opportunity! List down the major companies in your intended field/discipline and get down to researching.

3. Government Bodies

Internships with Government bodies are highly sought after, and there’s no harm to try for them too! The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) offers internships at their Overseas Missions, for example, and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) offers a fully-sponsored Global Internship Award (GIA) programme comprising a 6-week overseas stint. You can access all available internships at [email protected].

What if a company doesn’t have any internship opportunities listed? Try writing in to ask about possible placements—if you never try, you’ll never know! If you impress the company or organization, they could very well create an intern position just for you. A sincere attempt could also create a lasting impression and call you to mind when there is an available vacancy.

4. International Internship Portals

There are a few portals that provide overseas internship listings and/or internship placement programmes, the latter kind offering support from start to end at a fee. One great portal to start off with is Go Overseas: the site has hundreds of internships listed and reviews from students that have gone said internships. Some even have Q&A’s for you to browse through.

Other popular sites include The Intern Group and Absolute Internship. Use any placement services at your own discretion: please do sufficient research and make sure that you can cover the costs for services rendered before applying.

Other things to note

These might seem obvious, but here’s a reminder to research any destination country to make sure you won’t commit any cultural no-nos or taboos. Familiarise yourself with the work culture so that you can jump right in straight away, and make sure that living costs are manageable and that safety will not be an issue.

To maximise your time abroad, make sure that your internship is one that helps to advance your career goals, or at least cover some academic credits. Also make sure that you’ll have enough time to spare to apply for any Visas or paperwork that you might require, and pause any subscriptions or services that you won’t be using during your time away!

Want to find out more about internships? Here’s a few more resources:

We wish you a great time abroad! If you’d like to share your past or future experiences with us, do drop us an email or comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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