Are you fascinated by the intricate design and beautiful structure of the Sydney Opera House or the Eiffel Tower? Do you love to analyze the engineering measurements of various buildings? As the intersection of engineering, design, and art, architecture is an amazing field to dive into. Architects around the world are responsible for constructing the houses of citizens, designing public gathering places, and creating wonders of art.
One of the best ways to learn more about the different architectural ideas and trends is to travel abroad for an internship. For those interested in pursuing an international architecture internship, get ready to be challenged, have fun, and start building your portfolio on foreign soil.
Photo Credit: Ian McGregor
Commercial/Institutional Architecture: Most architecture internships abroad will be at firms that specialize in commercial and institutional design projects. This type of work will require you to conduct research, analyze structural limitations, and gain an understanding of the more specific mechanics of construction. Some possible projects include designing company office buildings, malls, or schools.
Landscape Design: Landscape architecture internships will give you the opportunity to assist in the design and implementation of various landscape projects as well as administrative work. Landscaping differs greatly from traditional structural architecture design, as contractors must consider several environmental aspects and use vastly different materials for construction. Landscape architecture interns tend to be more fascinated by the artistic aspect of design and interested in beautification.
Historical Preservation: Architects are not constantly designing new infrastructure; in fact, most of the historical buildings you have been renovated by modern architects to be preserved. Thanks to these architectural efforts, buildings that were constructed hundreds or thousands of years ago are still relatively undamaged and intact for future generations to enjoy.
The location of your architecture internship will very likely determine the type of work you will be doing. Interns in modern, developed countries in Europe might be working in a large private architecture firm whereas interns in more rural developing countries may be designing basic infrastructure literally from the ground up. If you aren’t sure where to go for your architecture internship, travel to these popular destinations around the world for a great international work experience!
- China: Since the construction of the Beijing National Stadium, or “Bird’s Nest”, during the 2008 Olympics, architecture has become a booming field in China. In a country that is still rapidly developing and taking the modern world by storm, countless building projects are underway. Architects and designers from around the world meet in China to collaborate, share ideas, and jump aboard the next hot design project. In fact, many Chinese architecture firms are specifically keeping an eye out for foreign talent to bring in a new and unique perspective to their design concepts. Finding an architecture internship in China is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in a creative design atmosphere, learn from seasoned architects, and set yourself apart from others.
- Italy: With Brunellschi’s Duomo in Florence, Villa Farnese in Caprarola, Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy is filled with beautiful architectural wonders. A prime location for aspiring architects, the cities and villages are a major inspiration for new projects or historical renovations. The architectural trends of the past and present are so dominantly represented in various parts of the country that any architectural style is welcome. If you are interested in learning more about architecture while living in a world center for artistic and cultural exchange, go to Italy!
- Australia: There is no doubt that Australia has recently become the new international architecture mecca. Architects in Australia have developed a great design culture and embraced sustainability as well as environmental responsibility initiatives. This is extremely attractive to the younger generation of architects-in-training who want to improve the world and experienced architects looking for new challenges and build for the future. With many major architecture firms, Australia is a great place for interns to get more experience in the field and learn from seasoned architects.
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dubai has unexpectedly sprung up as a major innovator in the field of architecture. While the country’s economy was originally built on oil in the past, the government has drawn out numerous plans for urban development and extravagant architectural wonders. A huge real-estate boom has begun an era of modern and innovative design. With the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Al Arab, the only 7-star luxury hotel in the world, and a man-made archipelago of 300 islands, the UAE is leading the architecture world with insanely creative projects and pushing the limits of design. Dubai is an amazing place to find an architecture internship for the innovative and ambitious architecture student.
- India: India is becoming a more and more popular place for architecture interns. The Taj Mahal itself brings thousands of visitors from around the globe each year. As a rapidly growing country rising in the international arena, India’s architects are also receiving more attention than ever before. With many slick new modern architectural pieces including skyscrapers and shopping malls, the country is experiencing an architectural boom. This is a great opportunity for interns to get contemporary design experience and work on projects that are utilizing the newest green technologies and promoting sustainable initiatives.
When and Where to Look for an Architecture Internship:
Architecture internships can be found year-round, although many architecture firms may expect to have more interns over the summer. Depending on where you would like to intern abroad, there may be more internship opportunities in architecture when the economy is doing well, or when there major developmental plans underway. You definitely want to find opportunities that pertain to your design interests and are available in places that have a strong architecture network so that you can be immersed in a great learning environment. Most importantly, begin your research early.
Since jobs in architecture aren’t falling from the sky at the moment, it is a very good idea to begin building a solid professional network as soon as possible. Not only will having connections with other architects be beneficial for your architecture career, but also give you many opportunities to learn from others and collaborate. Get to know your colleagues at work, attend any networking or social functions in the office, and check out local professional groups. There are even quite a few international online architecture networks or forums that you can join to get to know others, or receive some advice!