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The Rise of the International Internship

Photo courtesy of PINC International

By Mariel Tavakoli, Creative Content Manager, PINC International

At the start of each semester, the big question circling around American college campuses is, “What did you do this summer?” For several years, students have spent their summers jumping on opportunities that will boost their resumes, or even guarantee a job placement upon graduation. While internships in major U.S. cities were once the standard solution, employers and students now recognize that international experiences are providing students with the skills to succeed in a global economy and competitive job market.

Neil St. Clair, the CEO of Alleywire and a Forbes contributor affirms, “When [he sees] extensive international travel on a resume, it shows a willingness to put yourself in unfamiliar places and innovate to find success… Tack on a language skill to that experience and you’ve separated yourself from the herd.”  Many of these skills align with the attributes that over 60% of employers seek on a candidate's resume, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers; skills including leadership, problem-solving, communication, initiative and adaptability are just a few that travel brings to the table.

According, to the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative, as of 2012, less than 10% of graduating U.S. college students had studied abroad. As a result, students with the ambition to gain international experience have a definite competitive edge, in comparison to the majority of their peers. For example, Sarah Schact, who completed an internship in Spain with PINC International claims, “Recruiters talked to me much longer once I mentioned ‘my recent internship was actually in Madrid this summer.’”

PINC International’s CEO, Lisette Miranda, who provides abroad experiences specifically designed for female students says that, “empowering and educating young women on an international level is the key to building confident and innovative leaders of the future.” Miranda was born and raised in New York City, but was inspired to start PINC after her own transformative experiences in Madrid during a five year excursion. PINC now offers summer and winter programs in both Madrid and Barcelona for women living across the United States.

When it comes to capitalizing from an experience abroad, Matt Carotenuto, an associate professor at St. Lawrence University, confirms in the Washington Post that college women are ahead of the curve; they represent a larger population of international program participants, particularly in diverse locations that involve experiential learning. However, as employers increasingly value global skills, international experiences that offer unique professional opportunities will become more attractive to male and female students alike.

Completing an international internship may be the ultimate way for the next generation of college students to maximize their time between classes. As more students pursue opportunities abroad, the big question on campus will not only be, “What did you do this summer?” but also, “Where were you?”

October 17, 2016

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