Doing an internship abroad while in high school is a great way for students to expand their resumes and give them real-world experience. It may also help students pinpoint exactly what does or doesn't interest them when it comes to jobs, making it that much easier when they have to choose a major in college.
High schoolers will get to work alongside professionals in their internship choice. By doing an internship abroad, students will gain travel experience in a new country and will get to learn about another culture while also working.
High schoolers can intern at local hospitals alongside nurses and doctors. More specific internships can include working with HIV/AIDs patients, working with veterinaries, working with nutrition specialists, or interning in physical therapy. Daily tasks may include shadowing nurses or doctors, helping with physical therapy, or making rounds in the hospital.
Business internships are great for students interested in management, marketing, social media, and accounting. Learning how businesses operate in different countries is very beneficial to doing well in this field. Students gain real, hands-on experiences and learn the way companies work around the world, as well as expand their professional network.
Teaching internships abroad not only benefit the student with experience shadowing or assisting in a real-life classroom but depending on where the student goes, they may also be able to help a community by teaching students English or aid in a school where there is a shortage of teachers.
Students can intern with biologists, zoologists, ecologists, and many other different types of professionals depending on their area of interest. Many tropical countries in the world are great for conservation and biodiversity internships, and quite a few countries have endemic species. Interns will be able to observe and potentially interact with these animals as well as study and care for their surrounding environments.
Where to Go
- Buenos Aires: There are many opportunities for nursing and pre-med majors here, as well as those interested in aiding patients with HIV/AIDs.
- Spain: This multilingual environment is a great place for students interested in medical internships. They will shadow doctors or nurses and will learn the inside scoop of medical practices abroad.
- Thailand: One of the best hospitals in Southeast Asia is located in Bangkok. By interning in Thailand, students will learn about the healthcare system in a developing country.
- United Kingdom: The UK is great for students who don’t want to venture too far from home, but still have an experience overseas in an international country.
- Poland: Cities in Poland such as Warsaw are innovative and up and coming, a perfect destination for students interested in business.
- China: China is a fast paced country that’s always coming up with innovative developments and new skills.
- Hong Kong: Hong Kong has an intense and thriving business culture, a great destination for students interested in management.
- Philippines: Not only does the Philippines offer many teaching opportunities, but students will be able to learn about the school system in a developing country while also helping a local city thrive.
- Vietnam: There is always a demand for English teachers in Vietnam, whether it's from a hotel management staff or a classroom of children.
- Hungary: Teaching Internships in Eastern Europe is a great way for students to immerse themselves in a new culture while also working alongside local teachers and professionals.
- Brazil: Brazil is a great place for students interested in conservation to intern. It has over 300 islands, beautiful beaches, and of course, the Amazon Rainforest.
- Madagascar: Students interested in biodiversity and conservation will find Madagascar a wonderful place to intern. There are numerous endemic species in this country, and students will find tons of exploring and field work to engage in.
- South Africa: There are over 700 species of birds and 200 species of animals in this destination. Kruger National Park, which is home to the Big Five, is located in this country, and students will find numerous field work opportunities here.
Planning Your Trip
Tips for Applying as a High Schooler
High schoolers will typically either find a summer-long internship before college or take a gap year after graduating to do a longer or more extensive internship. Keep your priorities in mind when searching for options.
High schoolers will want to make sure their resume is error-free and up to date. They’ll also want to have a valid passport, any teacher recommendations, and proper funds to apply and live in the new country. Students will want to keep any visa applications and fees in mind when applying.
How to Find an Internship Abroad is a great resource for students to start planning their internship application. It may be easier for high schoolers with little to no prior experience to sign up with an internship provider program, which will customize a guaranteed internship for
Depending on the program and location, students will either live with other peers in the same program in a dorm, do a homestay with a local family, or have to find housing independently. Living in a dorm will help students assimilate to a new city and make them feel more at home. By doing a homestay, students can learn about another family’s local traditions and culture, and even learn a new language.
Because students are going to be working, they should keep in mind that they will need to pack professional clothes as well as casual clothes for when they are not on the job. Dress pants, a dress shirt, jacket, and dress shoes are a good idea to pack, as well as long dresses for females. Males may have to pack button-down shirts, slacks, and even suits. Find out the office dress code of the internship beforehand to be prepared.
Packing clothes that can be layered is a great way to prepare for any type of weather for the destination. Loose-fitting cotton clothes are good for warm weather, while long pants and shirts and an insulated jacket are good to pack for students in cooler places.
A surprising aspect about interning abroad is that it often costs money if you're going through a formal program provider. While the idea of paying to intern may seem strange, there are some legitimate benefits to these programs:
- Providers typically serve as a liaison between you and the potential organization where you’ll intern. Establishing relationships with organizations, companies, and businesses takes time. Providers take care of this for you, so you don’t have to find awesome internships on your own! They’ve cultivated these relationships and taken the time to get to know them and understand their needs. As a result, they can find an internship that meets your skillset and goals.
- Providers serve as a vetting system -- you wouldn’t want to work 60+ hours cleaning or working in environments that are unsafe, unhealthy, or just plain unfit! Providers ensure that internships will be mutually beneficial and that you will not be taken advantage of.
- Rarely anything in the organization and administration world is free. Providers coordinate paperwork, applications, and scholarships and provide recommendations.