Geologists tend to have some of the most international job requirements. Since regional elements determine the extent to which a geologist can apply their specific discipline within their immediate area, it’s common to travel overseas for access to another nation’s resources. For students of the field, it’s only natural to kickoff what will likely be a global career with an overseas internship.
With so many branches of geology practiced in the earth sciences, an international internship is one of the most effective ways to solidify your chosen path. You can monitor volcanic activity around the Ring of Fire or track down fuel reserves in the Middle East. Once the internship program has wrapped up, you’ll have rock-solid knowledge of your field and expanded employment opportunities for your future.
Geology is a crucial science to help us understand the inner workings of our planet. As such, interns are needed worldwide to ensure that geological discoveries continue to develop.
One of geology’s most popular subdisciplines is volcanology. Volcanologists-in-training may find themselves interning for research facilities in an overseas university or for government organizations tracking volcanic activity. You’ll spend some time in the field, collecting lava samples and recording data, as well as in the lab, evaluating your findings alongside other collected information.
With the guidance of experts in volcanology, interns will have the chance to contribute to advancements in this field, ultimately helping to predict eruptions and save lives. To locate the ideal destination for an internship in volcanology, simply follow the ash clouds...or explore opportunities in places like Mexico and New Zealand.
Specialized knowledge of our planet’s makeup is necessary for pin-pointing where petroleum resources are likely to collect. For this job, oil and gas companies hire petroleum geologists to guide expeditions to previously untouched fuel reserves. Interns are occasionally taken on board to help analyze the many elements that need to be present for such treasures to be produced.
Aspiring petroleum geologists can discover internships on company websites, like Schlumberger, to start gaining hands-on experience from industry leaders. Since countries like Norway, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States have sizeable petroleum markets, hopeful interns can start their search with companies in these nations.
Engineering geologists play a crucial role in reconciling human operations with those of Earth. When something like a landslide, such as the one that decimated California’s Highway 1, affects an area, engineering geologists are key players on the team responsible for reassembling man-made infrastructure around potential risks.
Interns have the chance to assist on these projects, learning from the experts how the planet and its people negotiate with one another. Engineering geology crosses paths with several other disciplines, and, as such, interns may find themselves working in government organizations, construction companies, or research facilities around the globe.
Where to Go
When you’re studying the Earth’s framework, you have pretty much the whole planet to choose from for an overseas internship. As you’re narrowing your search for the ideal place to begin a career in geology, consider the following destinations. From active volcanos to oil reserves, these regions are diverse in composition and rich with opportunities for aspiring geologists.
With millions of years of history written in the landscape of this isolated region, New Zealand is a playground for geologists. The country’s north and south islands are riddled with volcanoes, including a supervolcano in Taupo. It’s not just volcanology interns who will easily find a home here -- aspiring engineering geologists can also observe appraisals of earthquake-prone areas, like Christchurch, during their program.
Environmentally-minded interns will be anything but bored in their spare time. Nestled in the south Pacific, New Zealand is home to rare wildlife and Middle Earth terrain, making sanctuary visits and long hikes popular activities.
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
In the UAE, geology interns can try their hand in the petroleum industry. Both Abu Dhabi, the country’s capital, and Dubai, a major urban hub, host overseas offices for international oil and gas corporations. Companies like Halliburton, though based in the U.S., have trainee programs for hopeful petroleum geologists in their Middle East locations.
When you’re not using your geo-detective skills to track down fuel reserves, you can embrace the city culture of your destination. Whether it’s peering over the edge of the tallest skyscraper in the world, Burj Khalifa, or exploring the bustling markets and local cuisine of a UAE street scene, the country’s urban attractions rarely disappoint.
Geology interns will also find a plethora of opportunity in South Africa. Organizations such as Umvoto Africa, which is headquartered in Cape Town, need talented hydrogeology students to help detect groundwater passages. Other internship programs might focus more on mining geology or mineralogy.
In South Africa, you can enjoy the perfect blend of city and wilderness. From documenting history in Cape Town’s many museums to escaping in the surrounding hills for a day of hiking, the list of things to do is diverse and plentiful.
Planning Your Trip
How to Choose a Geology Intern Program
By the time internships show up on a geology student’s radar, it’s likely they’re already pursuing a subdiscipline or even graduate degree. As such, the most significant factor that goes into selecting the right intern program is locating a region that has the requisite geological elements. From there, you can narrow the choices by interest.
Additionally, aspiring geologists will have to consider what types of organizations in which they aim to be employed. For instance, while volcanologists can find work at universities, if you’re more interested in being part of a national parks program, apply first to government opportunities. While it’s true that any internship will open doors for your future, the right one will help you acquire the specific skills and references that you need for your desired career path.
Health & Safety
For overseas geology interns, there are some health and safety considerations to keep in mind. In the field, you’re exposed to natural elements, like volcanic ash or unstable ground. The lab can also have its share of dangers, depending on whether or not your field of geology requires handling dangerous chemicals.
Even though your university courses have likely already instructed you on the specific risks that you may face as a geologist, things can be much different in practice. As such, pay close attention to your internship supervisor’s commands, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if ever you’re unsure of something.
Other Need to Know
In some cases, the companies and organizations that take on geology interns aren’t just looking for a temporary worker to lend a hand. They may be able to extend a job offer upon successful completion of the internship program.
Since geology students tend to intern towards the end of their undergraduate program or after completion, this approach makes sense. You’re running out of things that you can learn in a textbook, and, given the technical nature of the industry, potential employers would rather hire someone they’ve already worked with and know they can trust.
As such, try not to fall into the trap of thinking that your internship is merely about gaining experience and furthering your education. Instead, be less of an intern and more of a team member, accepting opportunities to take on additional responsibilities and demonstrate initiative.
With this possibility on the horizon, getting acquainted with your overseas destination is crucial for geology interns. Take the time to discover the best local restaurants, wander up unfamiliar streets, and explore beyond your living area. But don’t get too comfortable -- a career in geology can take you anywhere.