As commerce becomes more globalized, organizations need experts in public relations with a high level of cross-cultural understanding. Having a global outlook is essential for anyone entering this field. Heading overseas to complete an internship in public relations will give you the competitive edge that this field requires while imparting a sense of perspective that’s hard to come by elsewhere.
Public relations is a dynamic and engaging field. You’ll find that your responsibilities can range from putting together press releases to organizing public events. You’ll get to know what workplace culture is like in other countries and how businesses connect to their customers in different contexts.
PR internships exist in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. As an intern, you’ll be part of the bridge between these organizations and the public. As a public relations intern abroad, you’ll gain a level of understanding and insight that will make you very desirable once you enter the job market.
Interning with a company’s marketing department will provide invaluable experience in understanding how brands connect with their customers in a specific cultural context. You may find yourself assisting with a particular marketing campaign or working on long-term strategy.
Non-profits frequently look to recruit interns to work in many aspects of their organization. While the work of non-profits varies greatly, they usually have a public service aspect to their mission. By interning with a non-profit, you’ll have the satisfaction of doing good work while also increasing your skills, experience, and employability.
Festivals, sporting events, and industry conferences are great opportunities to gain experience in interacting with the public. Major special events often partner with PR firms that need extra help from people like you to help promote and run them. Interning for one of these projects will allow you to experience many sides of PR as you work as with a team to help make it all come together.
Where to Go
There are opportunities to intern in public relations in almost every country. Consider the following popular destinations below.
The United Kingdom
The UK is a top choice for many looking to intern in public relations abroad. The diversity and global nature of the British economy mean that there are many different types of opportunities out there for you. In the UK you could work with major brands in industries ranging from fashion and sporting events to banking and retail with the bonus of it being an English speaking country.
Heading to China for your internship will give you the chance to see how PR is handled in a nation with a vastly different business environment than just about anywhere else. Considering that China is one of the biggest players in international commerce, the lessons you learn here will be invaluable. You’ll gain first-hand experience of how companies and media programs operate under extreme government oversight, providing you with insider knowledge that’s hard to come by elsewhere.
With one of Europe’s strongest economies, Germany is a popular destination for internships in public relations. Germany is a major exporter of high-end consumer products, meaning that there is a large role for public relations experts here. Internships, or praktikum as they’re known in Germany, are a regular part of German education, so you’ll be in good company. Even better, paid internships are more common in Germany than in many other countries.
Interning in public relations in India will offer you something different than the typical placement. With its rapidly expanding globalized economy, Indian companies and organizations offer a dynamic and quickly evolving environment for anyone interested in PR. Gaining an understanding of how communications and marketing function in India will certainly set you apart from many others in your field.
Australia offers a great range of public relations internships. With a diverse mix of industries and businesses, there is a lot to choose from in the Land Down Under. You might be working in the tourism sector, representing agriculture interests, or helping promote environmental protection campaigns, just to name a few.
Planning Your Trip
Interning is a common method for gaining practical experience in public relations prior to entering the workforce. Many coveted internships can be quite competitive, so it’s always important to put your best foot forward when applying for your placement.
How to Choose a Public Relations Intern Program
With such a wide variety of options for internships out there, it’s important that you do your homework when considering different placements. Choose something in an industry you’re particularly interested in and come prepared with references.
It’s always helpful to talk directly with someone in the organization you’re applying to. You want to get a good understanding of what your duties and responsibilities will be so to ensure they align with your own interests. It will also give you a good idea of what the organization’s culture is like.
The culture and language of your host country is an important consideration. Because you'll be interacting with the public as part of your PR internship, a certain level of knowledge of the local language and customs might be necessary. While navigating an unfamiliar place might be challenging at first, it's all part of the experience. Interning abroad is a wonderful opportunity to learn a new language and immerse yourself in an unfamiliar culture.
Health & Safety
There are no health and safety concerns specifically related to public relations internships. Of course, you’ll want to learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and the State Department to see if there are any concerns that are specific to your placement’s location.
Other Need to Know
You’ll find that there are both paid and unpaid internships available. Paid internships usually require some previous experience and tend to be more competitive. If you’re just starting out, you’ll probably find that you’ll have better luck landing an unpaid internship, although some offer a small stipend to help cover travel and housing expenses.
Your internship is your opportunity to make connections that will serve you throughout your career. To that end, always act professionally and put your best foot forward. As an intern, you may not always be executing the most glamorous parts of the job. However, being enthusiastic and professional in all things will lead to getting some great references and building connections that will pay dividends once you enter the workforce.