How to secure an internship abroad

Davida tells us about her experience of securing an internship in the USA...

I was in the middle of my advertising and communication postgrad when I decided to get my first step on the career ladder and find an internship in San Francisco during my Work America experience.

Internship USA

Where to start... My summer internship search began with Craigslist which is a great resource for job hunting in the US and because internships are especially popular Stateside there’s a specific section on the website devoted to companies offering work experience.

Issues to overcome

Getting the internship was more challenging than I expected with a huge number of students competing for limited places, the majority of which were unpaid summer internships (which is quite common in the US). Taking on an intern can be quite expensive for an organisation as they have to be trained on company time. I found that some companies were hesitant to invest time training someone who was going to leave in September. However, this is definitely something that can be overcome if you show how your international perspective can be an asset to their company.

Getting stuck in

I spent hours applying to the ads on Craigslist and sent out countless letters and CVs to every ad agency in the Bay Area. It’s worth checking social-networking sites like LinkedIn too as they can help you find the right people in your industry and I found that contacts can be invaluable (if you have any, take full advantage!)

The importance of cover letters

I also discovered the importance of cover letters; let your personality and enthusiasm come across, tell them why you want to work for THEIR company and don’t send out the same uniform cover letter to everyone!

Securing my internship

Eventually my hard work paid off and I got a part-time internship with a small ad agency (meaning more hands-on experience) where I watched ad campaigns unfold from beginning to end, researched brands and contributed ideas to brainstorming sessions.

Loved it!

I loved every aspect of my internship and it gave be invaluable experience for when I returned to the UK.

Find out more about how to begin your Internship abroad with BUNAC today! Questions? Give us a call on 020 7553 6180.

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