Internships can be transformative experiences

By Lucas Zimmerman

Have you ever wanted to go back in time to your university days and find out exactly what you wanted to do when you grew up? People graduate from prestigious universities all over the world not convinced of what their future holds. You can graduate with the highest degrees and still have a hard time finding a job. You can submit your resume into the black hole of job-placement websites praying for a company to contact you back. In some instances, it takes 3-4 months for a single response. By then, you have already moved on to your next field of interest. Most employers are seeking employees with years of experience. You ask yourself, “How can I get experience if I can never land a job?” Believe me, you are not alone!

Participating in an internship in another country during your university days is a great way to get your career started and enjoy a cultural experience. Employers seek students who have one or multiple internships in today’s workplace. This is because an internship can give you grounded experience of what your studies might look like in a real-life work environment. Exposure to different co-workers and managers with different knowledge, experiences, passion, and management styles will broaden your perspective, both on your career and life. An internship will broaden your contacts, as well as create networks, resources, and references for future job opportunities. If you have this experience early in your academic life, it can give you self-confidence, allowing you to focus in on your specific future goals. Finally, an internship will strengthen your resume and give you concrete examples to pull from during job interviews.

Asia is known for its intensive yet rewarding internship programs. Many Asian countries have been running internship programs for years, finding the best students to mold into future employees. This has, in turn, benefited thousands of university students from all over the globe who travel to Southeast Asia seeking that experience in their young adult life. This process of finding the perfect internship can be quite difficult and time-consuming.

One country that has been moving forward in education over the last years in Thailand. Thailand is a beautiful kingdom, with breathtaking cultural, natural and historical attractions. Students working in this country, even if it is just for the internship period, have a wonderful opportunity. It’s crucial to ensure that interns understand what they need to know in order to land the right internship position in Thailand.

Having a company hire an intern is considered a win-win on both sides. While the employer is looking to increase efficiency and profitability, the intern is looking for a life-changing experience. This is a great way for the employer to try and enhance their workforce with knowledgeable energetic staff. An employer will want to ensure that their workplace remains fresh with new ideas and faces, allowing present employees to mentor and encourage young people entering their profession. Companies help interns integrate into the present workplace.

One of the best and rewarding parts of having an internship would be turning it into a full-time job. With the vast amount of connections interns are making, many companies are spending a lot of time training their interns on how their companies work. Companies in Thailand already have a 3- to 4-month probation period for all new hires. This is a terrific chance for the intern to prove themselves. In addition to finding a full-time job, internships are also beneficial for earning university credit. Most universities make it mandatory for students to participate in an internship before graduation. The universities see the importance of this experience before they send them off into the real world.

Now you might be asking yourself, how do I find an intern or internship that best fits my needs? Luckily, there is a company out there called My Internship Asia (MIA). This company focuses on the student’s needs and wants for their education experience. Most students will only do one internship in their university career. They have to make sure this internship is one in which they will gain the most knowledge and create the best connections in all areas. During this time, MIA trains and counsels students in all different business-related fields. These include resume building, interview etiquette and process, and most importantly, ways to understand what their interests and goals are in life. During this process, it becomes very beneficial for the student to realize their potential and interests.

Internships are a great way to network in fields that are related to your degree. Networking, especially in Thailand, is one of the most important ways to conduct any type of business. In Thailand, I’ve noticed that finding a job for foreigners other than teaching English very difficult. Everything from integrating workers into a foreign market to handling your work visa can be very challenging and time consuming for any type of business. There are many foreigners living in Thailand that have independent companies who are looking for those dedicated foreign workers. Exploring sites as or taking advantage of all the Chamber of Commerce events are very important. Many company contacts will be more than happy to talk with interns on exploring the options if they are interested in finding that “dream job” while having an internship in Thailand.

(Lucas Zimmerman has been living in Thailand for the last three years. He has been working closely with students in the education field as a counselor and leadership advisor to help students succeed in finding their true passion in life. He recently began working with internships in finding them the best opportunities available in Thailand.)