College students are working through their summer plans. Options likely include summer classes, a job – part-time or full-time, or an internship with a local corporation or charitable organization. While each of these options delivers value, another option offers something more – a global perspective.

Global Summer Internships

In a world that seems to be intrigued with a return to nationalism, boundaries will remain open when conducting business and pursuing a charitable initiative. Global partnerships still happen, and many organizations plan and implement programs on a worldwide basis. College students need to experience the world outside of their comfort zone.

Nearly 29,000 university students in the 2015-2016 academic year enrolled in a summer internship program in another country. Although the number seems limited, it is up 21% from the previous school year. When you compare summer internships abroad to studying abroad, the numbers seem even smaller. Over 4.6 million higher education students study abroad.

Global interest is alive, and it is time to dive in deeper with a summer internship experience.

How to Craft a Global Career Mindset

College is an ideal time to expand your boundaries and start your career with a global perspective. Speaking a second language is only one component. To set your career on a global path, outlined below are three considerations to think through and act upon.

Move Beyond Words to Experience

build global professional relationshipsMost universities require students to learn another language. Taking on another language is important, but it cannot stop here. While taking your language classes, visit a museum that highlights the history and culture of the country. Language sets one perspective, and cultural history delivers context and depth. Going through the motions of learning a language will seem superficial without understanding the history. If a museum is not nearby, then find a good history book on the country or a good social and political book on the region of the world that speaks the language you are learning. Move beyond just the words and learn the history.

Spend a Summer Working in Another Country

College students need to experience the world outside of their comfort zone.

More than 29,000 students should be interning in another country. To enhance empathetic skills, living and working in another country will deliver new leadership capabilities and understandings. To really understand a global mindset, experience is crucial. The culture of a country is important to absorb.

Equally important is understanding the culture of an organization in another country. How people work together and how leaders lead in a different country broadens perspective that will carry through to whatever you do after graduation. After all, organizations are diverse no matter where they are located.

Stay Current in the News and Relationships

Summer internships should not end at the end of the season. Summer internships are only a start, especially ones with a global connection. One of the biggest mistakes would be to let the relationships fade. Instead, talking with the individuals you worked and socialized with needs to continue throughout the years forward. In today’s connected world, there is no excuse for not talking with the people you worked with and continue to hear their experiences, challenges, and successes. Life continues for all involved. Staying in touch translates to understanding how their work evolves and comparing it to how your work advances. As you enter the workplace, you will add even more insights to your colleagues in another country. The mutual value will only increase, and these are relationships that should last a lifetime.

In addition to building the relationship after the summer experience, follow the political, social, and economic trends for that country and region of the world. Again, context is essential. When talking with the individuals you met, you will be able to ask them questions about what is happening and their viewpoint. Gaining a personal perspective on bigger trends makes it more real and practical. Again, empathetic skills continue to grow. As important, personal growth continues.

Career Paths Will Continue to be Globally-Oriented

Technology reinforces a global path. Ignoring a globally-connected world will not make it go away. With the internet and worldwide travel, small businesses attract customers from many nations, just as large corporations do. Many locations around the world are impacted by locations around the world. We need to engage early and often.

No matter if a college student or a twenty-year veteran in an organization, continued personal and leadership growth is essential to the vitality of our thinking and corresponding actions. Gaining global work experience will be invaluable in any career, and college students need to find a good global internship to build a solid career foundation.

Featured Photo by Vladislav Klapin on Unsplash
Photo by Fernando Cabral on Unsplash
Considering summer classes, a full or part-time job, or an internship with a local corporation or charitable organization? While each of these options delivers value, summer internships abroad offer something more – a global perspective.