What is an internship?
Internships are a way to learn new skills and travel at the same time, while gaining valuable work experience, which will in hand enhance your CV. Potential employers will want to see that the person applying for a job is well rounded and has some life experience; internships are perfect for this. Some internships are even paid but even if they are not, you will gain a lot from the experience.
Why should I do an internship?
As mentioned above, internships can add value to your CV and show that you are willing to put yourself outside of your comfort zone. You will also have gained transferable skills, which you can utilise in a new job. For example, teaching abroad, (ranging from teaching languages to sports) will not only improve your communication skills but confidence.
You can undertake an internship in an area which you are interesting in pursuing as a future career, and gain lots of relevant work experience. If you impress the right people, there is the possibility that the internship could always turn into a permanent job. Maybe you have been day dreaming about trying out a new career but are scared about taking the leap. An internship will give you the opportunity to get some work experience in that area to see if you like it.
Another advantage of gaining work experience, is that you will be surrounded by professionals who are full of knowledge and will be ready to answer your questions. You can ask for career advice and ask them to have a glance over your CV and provide constructive feedback. Some programmes will provide a one-to-one mentor which will be able to assist you.
Some internships will provide training courses and offer additional qualifications, which you can use when the internship is over and are looking for full time work.
Where can I do an internship?
There are internships across the world and the location you choose will most likely come down to the type of internship you want to get involved in. For example you may choose Canada for a ski instructor internship, New York if you were interest in Fashion or Fiji to become a diving instructor...the world is your oyster.
Will I be paid for my internship?
It depends. Internships generally don't pay very much, but they will hopefully give you something towards your expenses, costs and some will provide your accommodation. Depending on the organiser, they may arrange the accommodation, or assist you with finding accommodation.
Unpaid internships are common in developing countries where they simply don't have the funds to pay. Keep in mind that in developing countries, your cost of living will be lower, so may be the same cost, or cheaper, than doing an internship at home.
Organisers will usually charge a fee for you to take part in the internship programme, but they will take responsibility for organising the internship, will provide support before you leave and while you are abroad. They will also advise you if you need a visa or not. It is worth the fee, as you know your programme/internship will be structured, well managed and will be a worthwhile time to spend your career break.
Do I need previous work experience to do an internship?
No you don't, this is is the beauty of internships, they allow you to gain the experience, which may be otherwise hard to find. If you do need any particular skills or training then the internship should support you through the training.
Am I too old to do a internship?
NO! You are never to old to try something new. If you are passionate about something and want to give it a try, then what is the worse that can happen? Internships are perfect, as you don't have to commit yourself to anything.
I hope this highlights all of the advantages of taking part in an internship. One of the only major downfall is that you won't get paid a high salary, but that is not the point of an internship. The experience you gain, alongside travelling to a new country is worth more than the short term financial gain.