How To Pick Your Internship: The Ultimate Guide

With so much to consider, where do you even begin? Don't worry. We're going to help you pick the perfect internship.

You’re here because you want to figure something out. How on Earth do you pick the right internship for yourself when there are so many options? Fear not, we have the answers. But first, take a minute to be proud of yourself. You’ve decided you want to do an internship abroad. Not only will exploring a new country be incredibly fun and eye-opening but having international experience on your resume will make you a stand out candidate in your future job searches.

But before you even begin, we’ve got an incredible FREE resource for you. A complete guide to all things interview and career prep. It’s packed with advice, recommendations, and strategy! 

 

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Your next step is to pick the right internship for you, which is why you’re here!. While our dedicated team of advisors is great at matching you with the right program, it’s still helpful for you to figure a few things out for yourself before you chat with our team. So, how do you pick your internship?

Consider Pricing

The best thing you can ever invest in is yourself.

However, that doesn’t mean you should feel an incredible financial burden before, after, and during your time abroad.

How to pick your internship abroad with World Internships

We pride ourselves on our affordable price points, but also have a ton of advice and recommendations for picking an internship that works for you financially.

So, where are the best locations for a budget-friendly internship? While we’ve got quite a few, I want to share some personal favorites. But don’t be hindered if you’re not seeing “the one” here, we’ve got more bang-for-your-buck programs here.

India: 4-16 weeks; $1,900 – $4,790

Home to our most affordable program! But don’t let its price tag fool you: though we keep the costs low, our programs in Mumbai and Bangalore and unbelievably rich, packed with professional and cultural opportunities to help you make the most of your time abroad. As a hub of non-Western industry, India has some of our most sophisticated business and engineering internships. The vibrant day-to-day life means you’ll never be bored (the regular social activities we host don’t hurt, either!) and the low cost-of-living of each city will help you take souvenirs back to all of your friends and family that are stuck drooling over your Instagram pictures. India is definitely a top pick!

South Africa: 6-12 weeks; $4,590 – $5,790


Cape Town is one of the most popular destinations we offer, and that makes sense, with its low cost-of-living, internship programs to fit nearly all fields, and tons of social activities. But did you know: your Cape Town program includes a lot more than meets the eye? Every Monday night, you’ll gather with other interns to meet with an indigenous person native to the region, learning about everything from food and music to South Africa’s cultural history. You’ll also be enjoying a fully-funded long weekend trip along the Garden Route (trust us, Google it now: you won’t be disappointed). With all of this and more in store for you, Cape Town is easily one of our highest-value, lowest-cost location options.

Not wanting to hear it all from us? Fear not. Our talented intern Mahbub wrote beautifully about his time in Cape Town, making of us here at World Internships equal parts jealous and proud.

Spain (homestay): 4-12 weeks: $4,990 – $6,590


Europe doesn’t often make the list when we think about affordable programs, but we’ve worked hard to change that. With an internship program and homestay accommodation in Barcelona, you’re getting massive bang for your buck! Not only will you intern with a company or organization in one of Europe’s most progressive cities, but you’ll enjoy a deep immersion into the local culture and two meals per day provided by your host family. With excursions, language courses, weekly activities, walking tours, and cooking classes, you’ll never be bored (and you’ll be saving the money you’d otherwise have to spend on food and activity costs!)

Let’s Talk Language

Travel is already overwhelming. Throwing in a language barrier may be the thing that turns your trip from awesome, to tougher than needed. We don’t want that to happen.

Being around new languages and sounds can be one of the most intriguing, interesting and beautiful aspects of travel. But, speaking realistically, it can also be incredibly frustrating. Our internship programs are always picked with you in mind. We would never place an intern in a situation where language would impact their ability to communicate with our on-site support, or their internship hosts.

 

How to pick your internship abroad with World Internships

 

However, you should always expect that while traveling to non-English speaking countries, you will not be able to speak English with every person you encounter. You may be thinking, “Well, duh!” but culture shock is real, and it’s important to consider all aspects of your future internship country.

Are you comfortable with not always knowing what’s being said around you? Are you willing to push yourself outside of your comfort zone to communicate with people?

For some, the idea of a new language is exciting. For others, it’s too daunting to consider. While we always encourage personal growth, we want you to have the best experience possible.

Let’s get into specifics and break it down by country

*This assumes your native language is English. If your native language is not English, please don’t be deterred. Reach out!

Australia:

Main language spoken: English

South Africa:

Main language spoken: English

Canada:

Main language spoken: English

China:

Main language spoken: Mandarin

Mandarin lessons are included during your stay. As Beijing and Shanghai are international business hubs, English is often understood.

Colombia:

Main language spoken: Spanish

Bogota has a relatively large expat community, so English has a large presence. However, as a native Spanish speaking country, it is ALWAYS helpful to learn a few key phrases. Duolingo is an incredible free app that we recommend using prior to your internship.

Some of our programs will require intermediate Spanish, some beginner, and some none (we will let you know what’s what). Language classes can be added. We provide an extensive Spanish program in the first week of this program.

Costa Rica:

Main language spoken: Spanish

Booming with tourism, you can expect a basic level of English from your internship host country. A one-week Spanish intensive course is included if needed.

Ecuador:

Main language spoken: Spanish

Quito is a fantastic location for Spanish beginners who want to hone their skills during their internship. Some of our programs will require intermediate Spanish, some beginner, and some none (we will let you know what’s what). We can arrange an intensive language course before you start your internship.

England:

Main language spoken: English

India:

Main language spoken: SO MANY! But your placement will be in English.

Ireland:

Main language spoken: English

Italy:

Main language spoken: Italian

As a large tourist hub, Florence is English friendly. But of course, it never hurts brushing up on some basic phrases. We will help you there with three weeks of language courses. Your new Italian friends will be very impressed!

Japan:

Main language spoken: Japanese

Tokyo is a hub for all things culture, food, shopping, and more. Along with its iconic cityscape comes with many expats, tourists, and backpackers. While Japan’s native language isn’t English, you’ll find people have a general understanding, if not fluent.

Morocco:

Main languages spoken: Arabic and French

In mainstream tourist locations, you’ll be able to get by with English. Outside of these places, you may find it a bit more difficult to communicate. You can choose to have on-site language courses in either Arabic or French. Pick up some local phrases and find comfort in knowing our on-site support will always have your back!

Nepal:

Main language spoken: Nepali

Many people in Kathmandu have a basic understanding. It’s always beneficial to pick up local phrases, especially as many internships are aimed at assisting people in rural Nepal.

New Zealand:

Main language spoken: English

Spain (Barcelona):

Main languages spoken: Spanish and Catalan

Your opportunities in Spain will be greater if you have Spanish fluency. However, there are still plenty of internship opportunities for those with no basic Spanish. We will also help you out with 1-2 weeks of Spanish courses.

Thailand:

Main language spoken: Thai

While it may be a bit harder to communicate in Thailand, this isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of English speakers. Thailand is a backpacking hub, so city life is very English friendly. Brush up on common phrases so you can impress your host family!

Vietnam:

Main language spoken: Vietnamese

Vietnam is an incredible destination for people wanting to experience an entirely different culture! While the main language is not English, you’ll be sure to meet some people with fluency. However, we always recommend trying your hand at the local language. A beginner’s course is included in orientation. You will also have a local buddy to help you navigate.

Our incredible on site director, Mo, is always happy to help out as much as she can.

USA:

Main language spoken: English

Phew! We’re curious: what are you thinking at this point?  Do you have any worries, or feel relatively good to go? Let us know!

Support

No matter which World Internships program you pick, you’re going to be met with incredible resources, team members, and a feeling of family.

However, some locations are better suited for independent thrill seekers, and some locations are more suited for hands-on support. So, ask yourself; which one are you?

Our alumna, Samantha, once told us

“My biggest piece of advice is to take advantage of the time you have in this new country and force yourself to get out there and travel. This is your time to be a tourist and explore the country’s sites and culture. Getting the motivation to go out when I felt lonely allowed me to make some amazing friendships, and ultimately made my time abroad so much easier.”

We fully stand behind these words because we know that our happiest, most successful interns are the ones that know what they need to thrive on the internship they picked.

That’s why it is so important for you to have transparency with your internship coordinator. We’re top-notch at helping pick internships based on what you tell us about you, so knowing your preference for support is helpful in picking the best program for you. Once you start this process with us, be sure to tell us where your head is.

Be prepared to let us know:

  • How much you’ve traveled 
  • How you perform best in a work environment
  • How independent you consider yourself
  • What you’re most nervous about
  • What you’re most excited about

Another helpful tool is our Intern Quiz. Take five minutes to answer some basic (and fun) questions, giving both you and our team some insight into you, as an intern, and you, as a young professional! This free resource can play a key role in picking the right internship for you.