Whether you dream of the spotlight or love the idea of helping behind-the-scenes of your favorite TV show, the media industry is a complex and fascinating one with many moving parts that put work into each piece of content or show they produce. Since TV shows, films, and radio shows are produced all over the world, an internship helps you set yourself up for a successful career in a global industry.
An internship abroad in media can be also an opportunity to gain real-world experience in a field you might otherwise only get to watch or listen to on your car radio; since so many companies offer extremely competitive internships in the U.S., going abroad is a great way to improve your application chances and your resume. No matter what part of the industry you'd like to learn more about, there are media internships around the world that can help you do it.
Photo credit: Maciej Korsan.
In itself, the field of "media" is quite broad -- we grouped together radio, TV, and film for clarity, but within each media type, there are a variety of roles that go into producing the perfect "show." Here are some of the general internship types you might find in the media field.
There are many forms that an internship in "media production" might take. You could learn how to scout locations for a TV show or movie; assist a show director in making sure all of the pieces are in place before the camera starts rolling; or learn about the business side of how shows are made. (There are lots of accountants, lawyers, and financial professionals who work in media too.) If you have several interests related to media, a production internship could be a great way to see how well they blend together in a career.
An important part of any media company involves managing the "talent" or star(s) of the show. This could include learning how to be a talent agent, or working as an assistant to an actor or actress during a movie or TV show's production. Having a specific idea of what kind of talent management you'd like to learn will help you make the most of an internship in the field.
While extremely limited in the number of opportunities out there, it is possible to actually intern as "on-air talent" for whatever medium you are most interested in (radio, TV, or film). These roles will likely be much more competitive, but for those whose lifelong dream involves having a spotlight, an internship is a good way to find out if you really like all that limelight.
Marketing & Journalism
Even the best shows in the world require a talented marketing or editorial staff to make sure people are watching or listening. Internships in media marketing and media journalism are a good chance to peek behind the scenes of your favorite radio station or TV show and learn if the industry is a place where you want to pursue a career.
In today's internet-connected world, media is everywhere. From New York to Cape Town to Shanghai, you can find media companies everywhere that can give you a chance to intern abroad in this field you're passionate about. Here are some other places you could consider an internship placement.
Many people don't realize that media also includes the government, at the city, state, country, and global scale. In Indonesia, you'll have the chance to learn everything from how to handle press releases to commentary on UN issues from around the globe. Talk about a world-changing internship opportunity!
As the hub for fashion in the Western world, there is never a shortage of media coverage about Paris and all the beautiful experience you can have. If fashion is your passion, consider an internship in the French capital with a brand or a media company that focuses on the latest styles and runway events.
As the epicenter for Bollywood productions, Mumbai is a great chance to participate in one of the largest film industries in the world. Interns at Bollywood companies based in Mumbai will work alongside film professionals on projects that can eventually have a massive Indian and global audience.
If film is your passion, consider heading to Colombia for a chance to really experience what life is like on the production side. You could learn everything from lighting and camera framing to animation and post-production at the film internship programs there.
When preparing for your media internship abroad, there are several important things to keep in mind.
Make sure you are focused in your program search and application process -- even if you are unsure exactly what area of the media field you'd like to work in, try to narrow it down to 2-3 options. Otherwise, you may end up struggling to know if a program has a good fit for your educational needs and professional interests.
If radio production is your area of interest, it wouldn't make any sense to apply for a film marketing internship; the best way to avoid this is by making some career decisions before you start the application process.
Where to Look
Well, you've made a great start by checking out the programs and reviews here on Go Overseas! Another way to find internships in media is by looking at specific media companies directly. Most major companies, even international ones, will list internships directly on the 'career' or 'opportunity' page of their website. This will give you a sense for the kinds of internships the offer in different parts of the world.
Certain internship programs will provide housing opportunities as part of the total internship package. This is especially true if you find an internship that is associated with an academic institution. Interns may be provided housing in dormitories or apartments.
If you apply for an internship directly with a media company, be sure to check out what they offer for housing; big media companies may not provide any housing, but they may have stipends for room and board available.