College and graduate school are great times to travel the world. Long breaks provide the time you’ll need to explore new countries and cultures. Students are faced with the decision of choosing to intern abroad or study abroad.
The if i could… programme facilitates internships with high-profile non-profit organisations in Cape Town and New Delhi. Our internships are a fantastic way to gain valuable work experience while contributing to a better world. Here are some tips for the cost-conscious traveller.
Figure out which costs are negotiable and which ones aren’t. Round trip travel to another country will vary some, but there are many places that are roughly equivalent as far as airfare costs. Round trip flights can cost up to $2000 so that is something you’ll want to include in your budget early on.
Costs that are negotiable and vary quite broadly are often based on exchange rates and costs of living. These are both things that you will want to research thoroughly before deciding on a destination for studying or interning abroad since they’ll really affect your budget.
For example, studying or interning in Europe is quite expensive for student from the US because of the exchange rates from the dollar to the Euro or Pound. The added expense from the exchange rate will affect things like monthly rent or housing expenses, food costs, and travel within your host country. Conversely, picking a country with an advantageous exchange rate, like India or South Africa, can stretch your money a long way.
Interning vs. Studying Abroad
Studying abroad is becoming increasingly common and is often a default for many students. However, even lower cost study abroad programmes may not be the most cost-effective option. According to the Institute of International Education the average cost for a semester abroad programme in 2012-2013 was a whopping $17,785 USD.
Studying abroad often costs more than a semester at a student’s home university because it often includes the cost of the individual credits the student will receive, as well as housing, and the fees for a programme coordinator to manage logistics for students – including providing orientation and student support, and cultural and social opportunities around the host city. Some study abroad fees do not include housing and require the added cost of the student’s housing.
If the price tag for study abroad programmes is too high, or if you’re hoping to get real-world, hands-on work experience consider interning abroad. Fee-based programmes, like if i could… are significantly lower in cost and provide many of the same support services that a study abroad programme would, as well as assisting you in securing an internship that will serve your future career goals. International work experience is something that employers are increasingly interested in seeing on resumes, even for undergraduate students or recent graduates.
Many universities now offer funding for summer internships because of their career-boosting potential (You can contact your career services office at your university to see if there are options available). If you’re worried about getting credits toward completing your degree, look for an internship that can be customized to your degree programme. Even if you aren’t interested in getting credit you’ll be able to use and build on what you’ve learned in the classroom.
Additionally an international internship will illustrate your ability to work well with different people and your willingness to take initiative, all while helping you develop skills for the working world. These factors make interning abroad an attractive, lower cost option to studying abroad.