Some say our world is growing smaller every day, as people become more interconnected and the world becomes ever more globalized. International experience is a must for many careers today and a huge bonus for all others. You can gain a plethora of priceless skills from an internship abroad as well as a meaningful and exciting experience.
An internship can also be an unbeatable way to experience and learn about the culture of a place. I know, in my experience at least, interning while living and studying abroad helped me learn more about the culture than any textbook could have ever told me!
Interning overseas is undeniably valuable and is sure to open many doors for you in the future, but it can be difficult to decide where in the world to go. For your inspiration, we've compiled a list of the top ten places to intern abroad for 2020.
The countries below were chosen based on a few factors: their popularity on Go Overseas and on popular search engines, like Google, and the breadth of internship opportunities that are available in each nation. Within each country, we also picked programs from a broad range of sectors, based on the positive reviews they have received from Go Overseas users. This year we have a few new countries to read up on that have made their way into the ranks: Singapore (# 6), Germany (#9), and Colombia (#10).
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Home to over one billion people, China is too diverse and multi-faceted to explain in such a short amount of words. Every region and city has its own unique flair, culture, and appeal - no matter where you end up, China is sure to enchant you and leave you with a wholly fulfilling experience overseas. As Asia's strongest nation and economy, China is home to the largest trove of international internships in the region.
It is an opportune place to intern if you're interested in business, finance, or marketing, but it is also great for those interested in hospitality and marketing. As one of the world's leaders in green energy (and pollution), China is perfect for those who are looking to intern with companies focused on green technologies as well.
Popular internship programs in China:
- Paid Internships at Fortune 500 Companies in China with Go Abroad China
- Shanghai Future Leader Internship Program with NEXSTEP
- Medical and Healthcare internships in Shanghai with Connect-123
Japan has a little bit of everything, from the almost chaotic city-life in Tokyo to the picturesque and undeniably beautiful Kyoto. Japan is a great place to consider for your internship abroad. As one of the world's centers of technology, there are many internships available in sectors like electronics and tech, but also in areas like media and marketing.
As long as you can survive the Japanese working week, you'll be rewarded with an amazing experience and a deeper understanding of Japan's unique culture. To unwind, turn to one of Japan's reviving hot springs, or onsen, or regain your energy with a hearty and soul-warming bowl of ramen.
Popular internship programs in Japan:
- Internships across many industries in Tokyo and Osaka with Zentern
- Internships throughout Japan with Meiji Internships
- International Internships in Tokyo with The Intern Group
A vibrant and exciting country, Spain is sure to give you an experience of a lifetime. When you’re not giving valuable experience in one of Europe’s growing economies, you can enjoy the stunning architecture, cuisine, and culture of Spain. There are many internships available in business, finance, and -- of course -- tourism and hospitality. Though having some Spanish language skill is a plus (especially as the world’s third most spoke language), there are plenty of internship opportunities in English.
You’ll likely find yourself in Madrid, the capital, or one of the other large cities, like Seville or Barcelona. Wherever you end up in Spain, you’ll be sure to enjoy a relaxed working life, giving you ample time to explore and get to know the beauty of España.
Popular internship programs in Spain:
- Healthcare and nursing internships in Madrid or Seville with Adelante
- Hospitality management across Spain with Instituto Hemingway
- Shadow Doctors 20+ Hours/Week in Spain with Atlantis
Australia is home to a unique combination of cosmopolitan cities and expansive wilderness wrapped into one. Whether you want to experience the wild of the Outback or the liveliness of the multicultural cities, Australia is the place for you. With boundless nature, Australia is a great place for ecological or environmental based internships.
There is also a prominent and vibrant start-up culture in the major cities, making for an even wider range of options for an international internship from information technology to marketing and PR. You'll be sure to enjoy the welcoming and down-to-earth vibe of Aussies, the stunning, expansive beaches, as well as the relaxed lifestyle of the land Down Under.
Popular internship programs in Australia:
- Startup internships all over Australia with Start Me Up
- Global agricultural internships all over Australia with WISE Foundation
- Cultural ecology internships all over Australia with Institute for Cultural Ecology
- Internships across many industries in Sydney with Global Experiences
Another excellent option for English internships, England has a lot to offer for just about anyone. The capital, London, is one of Europe’s most important financial centers and a hub for international companies making it the perfect place for internships in business or finance.
However, there is more to England than the sprawling metropolis of London -- there are internships available throughout the country, from Birmingham to Leeds. Outside of your internship, you won't be hard-pressed for things to do as the country is home to some of the world's best museums, parks, and -- of course -- pubs.
Popular internship programs in England:
- Engineering, fashion, and more in London with BUNAC
- Fashion internships in London with Fashion Week Internships
- Innovation internship in Exeter with Corckscrew
- Finance internships in London with HKCareers
- Marketing, fashion, and business internships in London with Study Abroad Europe
As one of Asia’s few “alpha cities", a ranking for the most economically influential centers of the world, Singapore is the perfect place for any ambitious intern. Not only is this city-state a pristine metropolis, but it's also home to a wide range of opportunities for international internships. Despite having four official languages, English is often the most widely used in business settings, giving advantage to interns who can speak English fluently.
You can find opportunities in a broad range of sectors like electronics, biomedical science, tourism, and even media. Singapore is notoriously expensive to live in, but the potential to earn a more-than-decent wage is high within such a fast-paced and lively economy.
Popular internship programs in Singapore:
- Fully customizable Singapore internships with Meiji Internships
- 30 fields for Singapore internships with Absolute Internship
- Growth marketing & business development internship programs across Asia with Remote Nanyang
7. South Korea
From K-Pop’s pristine boy bands to captivating K-Dramas and films – South Korea has stolen the hearts of many throughout the world in recent years. South Korea is one of the wealthiest nations in the world and is home to many thriving markets -- from electronics and gaming to automotive, and of course media.
Seoul, the nation’s capital and a dazzling neon-lit megacity, is home to more than ten million residents - and endless internship opportunities. In Korea, the English language is highly valuable, making it easier for native English speakers to score the best internships open to foreign nationals. However, understanding Korean is undoubtedly helpful when applying as well as getting the most out of your time living within the vibrant Korean culture.
Working culture may be challenging to adapt to, especially if you’re coming from the West, with potentially long hours and few holidays, but you’ll never feel bored living in South Korea.
Popular internship programs in South Korea:
- Teaching internships across South Korea with TaLK
- International Business Development internships across South Korea with Asia Internship Program
- Social enterprise internships in Seoul with Korea Gapyear
- Teaching internships in Gwangju, South Korea with Princeton in Asia
8. South Africa
Diversity is a key pillar of what South Africa stands for and it is rich in all types: diversity of people, landscapes, wildlife, and perspectives. South Africa is a unique place to gain international experience through an internship. The vibrant cultures of South Africa give this country a liveliness that is hard to find anywhere else. You can enjoy the crystal-clear beaches, vibrant metropolitan cities, or the warm hospitality of a braai with the locals.
Internships are available in a variety of fields like international development, conservation, and communication. Typically, most people find themselves in the hospitality or marketing industry when they intern abroad in South Africa. It's not to be missed -- you're sure to have the time of your life in this spectacular and culturally rich country.
Popular internship programs in South Africa:
- Conservation and community development in Limpopo with GVI
- Internships across many industries in South Africa with Projects Abroad
- Customizable internships in Cape Town with VaCorps
- Writing and communications internships in Cape Town with Roots Interns
- International Development internships across South Africa with Imagine Scholar
- Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp with BonBillo
Another European powerhouse, Germany is home to some of the world's top companies and has a thriving, robust economy. Like a lot of European nations, Germany has a certain eclectic charm; it’s got a highly modern and innovative culture, making it a great place to gain valuable experience by doing an internship overseas.
You'll find a number of internships available across a diverse range of fields, like health, marketing, and business. No matter what city you end up in, you're sure to enjoy your time due to Germany's highly sought-after work-life balance. People work less, live more, and as a result, live happier and more fulfilling lives. Just be careful, if you intern in Germany you may never want to leave!
Popular internship programs in Germany:
Uniquely nestled between the Pacific and the Caribbean Sea, Colombia is a vibrant and diverse place to gain valuable experience during an internship abroad. Its geography creates ample opportunities for those who seek internships in sustainable development and environmental sectors. Business and engineering are also prominent fields in Colombia.
As a new addition to our list, Colombia is a fresh and exciting destination to intern in. Since the country is opening up more to international business and foreign workers, they are looking for high-quality interns from around the globe. As the national language, Spanish is an important skill to have -- if you don't already speak some, you'll be sure to pick it up in your time overseas in Colombia.
Popular internship programs in Colombia:
Though these top our list of the best places to intern abroad in 2020, there are endless options when it comes to international internships. Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what kinds of internships you can expect to find in different countries and regions, but be sure to explore all the options available to you. The perfect internship is just waiting for you to discover it!
Wherever you decide to go, you’ll be sure to gain valuable and eye-opening experience that will help you navigate today’s ever-expanding globalized world.