How to Approach Your Search:
Volunteer, Work, Intern or Study
Build global competence, sensitivity, and awareness
Strengthen language skills
Create/Expand your international network
Focus career plans
Position yourself for other opportunities
These are some of the reasons that Binghamton students and alumni explore international work, volunteer, internship or study experience. The process for gathering information and evaluating opportunities takes time. As you begin, it is important to understand your motivations and goals so you can be better equipped to make decisions about where and how you will pursue an international experience.
- Articulate your goals before you begin to search. What kind of experience are you hoping to gain and where?
- Be proactive and persistent
- Research and networking are key components
- Explore all of your options thoroughly
- Connect with recent participants in a program of interest to gain additional information and personal feedback
Visit the Career Development Center to review A Workbook for Finding and Planning a Volunteer Abroad Experience by Zahara Heckscher (MelibeeU, 2012). It includes sections such as:
- Clarifying Your Goals for Volunteering Abroad: your ideal experience; skills and expertise worksheet
- Finding and Evaluating Volunteer Opportunities: making your short list; using contacts; criteria for evaluating; cost comparison chart
- Overcoming Financial Barriers: budget, expenses, funding; cost of participation worksheet; saving and fundraising
Another useful resource to help you get started is How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas
Visit the CDC to view A Workbook for Finding Your First International Job by Zahara Heckscher (MelibeeU, 2012). It includes sections such as:
- Clarifying Your International Job Search Goals: top strategies and choosing your strategy; ideal work abroad worksheet; skills and expertise worksheet
- How to Implement Your Job Search
- Tips and Resources
While obtaining an international internship can be a challenge, the key is to start exploring resources and opportunities very early. Consider your needs and motivations. Do you want academic credit? Pay? Where do you want to do this internship? What do you hope to learn?
Keep in mind that internships are often unpaid, and some may require tuition or fees. Internship programs often arrange or assist with housing and many require fluency or working knowledge of the foreign language.
Transitions Abroad: International Internships is a bimonthly magazine for those interested in working, studying, and living abroad. This section of their web site provides a good overview of internship options and resources.
Visit the Office of International Programs website to learn about both SUNY and non-SUNY study abroad programs.
How to Ensure a Career Advantage from Studying Abroad (Adapted from, "Preparing Students to Be Global Citizens: A Career Perspective on Study Abroad" by Sheila Curran)
- Before you leave:
- Learn a foreign language; use these skills to study abroad in a non-English speaking country
- Show commitment to the country of interest through taking classes in the language/ history of the country
- Engage with international students on campus (perhaps even from the same school/ region to which you will travel).
- While abroad:
- Interact with local students and become involved with the community.
- Practice your language skills with natives of the region.
- Combine your study abroad experience with an internship, work or volunteer opportunity.
- Upon Return to the US:
- Show continued interest and commitment to your host country by staying involved in internationally-related activities on campus.
- Learn how to articulate your experiences, knowledge, and skills gained in a resume and/or interview.
- Utilize resources within the Career Development Center for further assistance and guidance in developing internationally based future academic and career plans.