With the ever-increasing amount of international exchange and the ever-evolving relationships between cultures, there has been no better time than the 21st century to study abroad. Studying abroad offers the chance to gain invaluable experience and to find unique, global learning opportunities. However, it isn’t the only way for students to experience a new culture while getting a sparkly new line on their resume or CV. Internships abroad are rapidly becoming a popular and exciting way for students and recent graduates to gain real-life experience for jumpstarting their careers.
So, what’s the difference?
To understand why internships in foreign countries are an appealing alternative, let’s break down what makes study abroad such a popular choice. Study abroad programs are often organized in collaboration with a university and offer school credit. They’re often available to students as early as their first semester in some cases. They also often provide the chance to learn new languages, will let you encounter new cultures, and help you learn from perspectives unique to that culture. You can also often make friends from around the world. However, study abroad programs can also be expensive and difficult to undertake and aren’t typically available for recent graduates. Regardless, they are a time-tested and highly-regarded means of visiting a foreign nation.
Internships abroad, on the other hand, are available to students as well as recent graduates at no cost — at least for those provided through our program. (With our program, our affiliate companies also often cover expenses for things like airfare and housing with a surplus for other living costs.) They allow participants to gain real-world practical experience that can’t be found in any textbook. All the while, participants can still learn the local language and culture, discover new perspectives, make new friends, etc., on an internship like they would with study abroad. With our program, in particular, we are more than happy to also work in coordination with the host company and your home university to try and enable you to earn school credit for your participation. On the flip side, while internships are available for most students and recent graduates, the chances of placement for students still in their first couple of years of university are lower.
Okay, but which kind of experience is better?
Well, we’d like to say internships are always the better choice (we’re a bit biased, it turns out), but it honestly comes down to personal goals and preferences. Internships abroad are rich with just as much benefit (if not more) than a study abroad program, but studying abroad can be a better fit for some. For example, those in their first years of university, or those hoping to pursue academia for years to come might find more value in knocking as many credits out of the way while studying abroad as possible. Inversely, those itching to forge their career paths sooner rather than later will want to obtain as much practical experience as possible and can do so with an internship.
In any case, we want to encourage everyone to consider an internship in Japan. Internships can benefit nearly any upper-level student or recent graduate, and with our help, an internship will hopefully be easier for you to navigate.