International Internship: It Could be an Inspiring Experience



Simply going away can inspire creativity and entrepreneurial fervor. Tom Henderson, assistant dean at The University of Texas at Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management and director of the Jindal School’s undergraduate Business Administration program, said for those interested in expanding their entrepreneurial horizons, one path would be participating in an internship in another country.

There are caveats, said Sarah Henry, undergraduate student services coordinator at UT Dallas. Most international internships are not paid. And to get the most of the experience, she said, being bilingual is important. At minimum, the participant should have a working knowledge of the language.


But not being paid and not being fluent shouldn’t dissuade someone from pursuing this idea, she said.

Henry said there are three typical methods for university students to find an international placement and these would, for the most part, work for anyone wanting to experience commerce in another culture:

  1. Family or friends who already are living abroad. She said for those who truly are interested in learning about business and startups in another nation, this might be the best way to locate a compatible placement. Family or family friends also might be willing to help with housing arrangements and simple life issues—like the best place to wash your clothes or visit the doctor.
  2. If you’re still a university student, look for the AIESEC chapter on campus, she suggests. AIESEC, which originally was an acronym for Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales, helps match undergraduate and graduate students with international opportunities. Students might work with a not-for-profit or a non-governmental organization (NGO) or they could be placed with a company. AIESEC claims to match up to 20,000 young people annually with an international opportunity.
  3. Another option is to go through one of the myriad third-party companies that match people wanting an international internship with openings abroad. UT Dallas works with Connect-123, but there are many from which to select. Several Jindal School students this summer will be heading to Dublin, Ireland, with Connect-123.

“You need to think about what you want to get from it,” Henderson said. Every student he’s ever talked with, upon their return from an international internship, has been impacted and inspired.

“In general, they absolutely love the experience. It’s life changing,” he said. “They gain a global mindset from their experience.”

And from a career perspective, he said, “In a lot of cases, it confirms their goals and desires.”

Photo: Melissa Chan, a JSOM senior, won Honorable Mention in the in the recent UT Dallas Education Abroad Photo Contest for her photo of the Praha, Slovakia, streets.

Follow The University of Texas at Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management on Twitter @jindal_utdallas.

For a daily dose of what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth innovation, subscribe to our Dallas Innovates e-newsletter.

Jeanne Spreier is a writer for The University of Texas at Dallas. She previously was the marketing and communications director for a medical device startup in Dallas and has worked for several daily n(...)