Internships are a fantastic way to build skills and get practical, hands-on training for your intended career path. But when it comes to turning a good resume into a great one, consider taking your internship overseas! All over the world, there are organizations ready to work hard to place you with companies that share your passions and align with your interests.
Why not find an internship abroad that is as unique as you are? You’ll gain valuable experience that will grow you as an individual, strengthen your professional skills, and enhance your understanding of international businesses.
If you’re looking for internships that allow you to explore outside the box, consider some of these distinctive opportunities:
1. Learn Beekeeping with Yerba Buena Farm in St. Mary, Jamaica
Learn sustainable beekeeping and enjoy the sweet life in a seaside village. If you’ve never worked with bees before, don’t worry. Novices are more than welcome. During your stay at a bee farm in St. Mary, you will build top bar hives, keep records, and work directly with the bees.
You will also learn how to make products from honey, pollen, and beeswax. By the time you leave, you will have all the knowledge you need to start your own apiary, having gained experience at every level of the process from management and record-keeping to actually building the hives from environmentally friendly materials.
2. Try Your Hand in the Publishing Industry with Connect-123 in Shanghai, China
Get into publishing in a city where the written word is flourishing! Under the guidance of industry veterans, you can bring a book from development to the printers at one of Shanghai’s many traditional publishing houses, help develop a successful online publication or design pages for a glossy magazine. An internship with Connect-123 will make this all possible.
If you’re interested in hitting streets and writing timely pieces, create and publish content through one of several “journalist in residence” programs that let you have a taste of the writing life.
3. Let Loose & Dance with Performing Arts Abroad in Quito, Ecuador
So you think you can dance? Take your performance skills (and your Spanish) to the next level by joining this Performing Arts Abroad program that seeks to preserve the traditional dance of the Andes region and promotes the arts as therapy for youth and adults with disabilities.
By connecting to locals through this cultural outreach and a homestay, you will be immersed in Ecuador’s rich customs and history. Through a capstone project of your choice, you’ll learn valuable skills and demonstrate you have what it takes to become a professional dancer.
4. Get Your Hands Dirty Working on a Farm at Friends of Spannocchia in Tuscany, Italy
Learn the value of food by digging into organic farming in rural Tuscany. This community-oriented farm is dedicated to teaching interns new techniques to protect and conserve land as they go about the daily chores to maintain a working farm.
Learn Italian as you learn how to plant vegetable gardens, prune orchards, and care for animals. By working closely with Italian workers, attending wine tastings, and partaking in olive harvests, you’ll gain a firsthand appreciation of local history and what responsible agritourism looks like.
5. Take the Stage with Global Experiences in Sydney, Australia
Go behind the scenes and get involved with the production process to bring a script to life in one of the world’s most artistic cities. An internship with Global Experiences can make this your reality!
Depending on your strengths, you might have the opportunity to design and create sets, maintain props and costumes for actors, coordinate advertising campaigns, or even write scripts. By working with artistic directors throughout your internship, you’ll be a part of the show from start to finish and gain valuable insights into putting on a production for a live audience.
6. Be a Mobile Veterinarian with Oyster in South Africa
If you’re looking for practical experience and love animals, roll up your sleeves and get behind the wheel to work side by side with veterinarians who care for zebras, lions, and rhinos on a daily basis. Among many internships they offer, Oyster Worldwide can help arrange this internship for you.
As a mobile vet, your office and your patients will change day to day, allowing you to work with several kinds of animals and see lots of different places throughout South Africa. Wildlife specialists will train you to provide a wide range of medical care that encompasses domestic animals in villages, agricultural livestock in remote locations, and wildlife in game reserves.
7. Set Fashion Trends with Global Experiences in Milan, Italy
Shadow fashion designers in Milan and see the industry from the inside out through this internship arranged by Global Experiences. You’ll work with designers from sketch to sewn samples, drafting patterns and visiting fabric warehouses to find just the right texture. As you lend your creative eye to collections, you’ll have the chance to propose your own ideas as well.
During your internship, you will experience the business side of fashion as well, inputting orders and creating contracts for buyers. You’ll keep your finger on the pulse of the industry by researching and investigating trends and visit well-known showrooms. And -- as many previous interns have mentioned -- attending Fashion Week as an industry professional is a highlight!
8. Indulge Your Sweet Tooth with Vosges Haut-Chocolate in Chicago, Illinois
Study the culinary arts around the world with a company dedicated to storytelling through artisanal chocolate, Vosges Haut-Chocolate. Learn craftsmanship from a globally recognized and award-winning chocolatier who pushes the boundaries of chocolate conventions to create exotic truffles, bars, and other delicious, innovative treats.
As an intern, you can put your skills to the test by trying your hand at chocolate in product development or improve your international business skills by getting involved with store management, accounting, or marketing.
9. Explore the Great Blue Ocean with Meiji Academy in Japan
If you want to earn academic credit, gain experience in the tourist industry, and ride a jet ski at the same time, look no further! An internship with Meiji Academy will combine your love of the outdoors with savvy customer service by working with a company that offers adventures to tourists interested in exploring a different side of Japan and having fun.
You will guide groups for snorkeling, surfing, “ocean walking,” and other water sport activities. As you provide safe and responsible activities by teaching people proper use of equipment and engagement with ocean life, you will hone expertise in customer relations and communication—not to mention improve your surfing skills.
Let this list encourage you to color outside the lines when it comes to choosing an internship abroad. You might be surprised by what you can learn if you’re willing to take on something a little more unconventional than a typical 9-to-5. Pursue your passion and meet others around the world who can share and encourage your passion.
This article was originally published in May 2013, and was updated in May 2019.