Considering Internships Abroad?
January 20, 2010
Students interested in interning abroad often ask us how to get started. Before I can answer that, however, I have questions for them. The first question I ask engineering students who are interested in international opportunities is "What language (other than English) do you speak?" Next I ask, "What do you hope to get out of an international experience?" The answers to those questions can help you find the experience that's right for you, whether it's work, service, or study abroad.
At OSU, the Office of International Affairs (OIA) is where you want to start to explore what kind of international experience is right for you.
There are also international opportunities for engineering students sponsored by the College of Engineering. For example, there is a weeklong trip to Honduras for service learning. Other opportunities through the COE are the ECOS (Engineers for Community Service) sponsored project in Guatemala and a study abroad experience in Italy through the School of Architecture. Check your major department's homepage for links to study abroad opportunities for their students (for example: several MSE students have partipated in a German program through DAAD RISE (Research Internships in Science and Engineering). German language is not necessary.
Check your ECS job search account, too. You'll occasionally see opportunities posted at various times during the year, such as Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) available in Germany. Some employers will place a strong co-op candidate (who is interested) in their overseas operations for a rotation after successful work performance in a U.S. location. Ask about these opportunities when you interview with a global employer.
There are also non-profit organizations that link students with international employers. One of these is CDS International, Inc., which operates a one-year work/study program in Germany. CDS is a non-profit "committed to the advancement of international practical training opportunities that stimulate the exchange of knowledge and technological skills and contribute to the development of a highly trained and intercultural competent workforce. These experiences help strengthen global cooperation and understanding amongst individuals, businesses, organizations and communities."
IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) is also worth checking out.
To sum it up, if you're considering an international experience, please start with the basics and schedule an appointment with OIA to find out what's involved. There's a lot to consider regarding language fluency, interviewing remotely, attaining a work visa, health insurance policies, finances, monetary compensation, housing, etc. Start with the experts at OIA and let us know if you do work abroad so that this experience can be professionally highlighted on your resume!
"In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration."
Authored by Olga Stavridis.