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College Internships Are Going Global

What is the Big Idea?

The world is becoming increasingly interconnected and more employers are looking for candidates with global experience. Now, college students are getting in on the action by gaining work experience in overseas internships.

Cheryl Miyake, a junior at Stanford majoring in sociology, got an internship in Beijing last summer working for a local company that offers music and English immersion classes to children.

Stephen Keil, a sophomore majoring in international relations and minoring in French at Syracuse University, worked full time last summer to save for his fall internship with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

What is the Significance?

The total number of American students traveling abroad for internships and receiving academic credit was at 20,000 in 2009-10, up from 7,000 in academic year 2000-01, according to the Open Doors 2011 report issued by the Institute of International Education (IIE), a New York-based nonprofit.

“I think if a student is interested in pursuing any sort of career outside of the U.S., it’s a great idea to immerse yourself in the environment,”  said Lauren Berger in an interview with The New York Times. Berger is author of “All Work, No Pay” and chief executive of Internqueen.com, an online internship site.

China is a favored destination for overseas internships, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Recruiters like Dan Black from Ernst & Young pay close attention to students who have work experience in Asia, especially China.

“We’d put a very high value on that because of the growth we’re seeing there and because of the investment we’re making in China,” he said. “If you have both the language skills and the experience—boy, that is a lot of value for a company like ours.”

Getting set up with an internship overseas doesn't come cheap. Miyake enlisted the help of Intrax Internships Abroad, a company that arranges internships for a fee that ranges from $5,600 to $7,900 for an eight week program. Prices are based on location, insurance, housing and work visa fees.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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