The Advantages of Interning Abroad (And How It Can Launch Your Career) Part 2

Cody T.
Advantages of Interning abroad - Cody T

This blog post is a second part to what Cody has previously written. Cody talks about the advantages of interning abroad and how it has helped him secure a job once he graduates.


Hola, my name is Cody Trinkaus and I am a third-year Human Centered Design and Engineering student with a passion for the ethical, equal, and transparent implementation of information technology and the use of qualitative research, quantitative research, and design thinking to inform the creation of usable and socially responsible technology. 

Motivated by my love of nature and the mountains, I chose to spend four months interning in Ecuador – Quito to be exact – in the IT department of a government agency. I made the choice to intern abroad because I wanted to expand my cultural knowledge to enrich the rest of my time in university, gain real, applicable skills to make me competitive in the internship field in the United States, and give myself a change of pace from my usual course load and quiet comfortable corner of the US.

In this blog, I hope to give you a window into advantages I gained from interning abroad and the cool things that come with the experience. I will cover the ways my internship has impacted me personally, professionally, and share some tips that allowed me to use this experience to aid my career and receive a fantastic internship in the US. This is part two to an article I wrote about the challenges of interning abroad. You can check that out here.

Personal Growth

Crecimiento. This might be a bit of review if you have read part one, but it’s so impactful that I have to restate it (I promise there is new insight). The personal growth I received from the challenge of moving to a new country, speaking in my non-native language, and learning new skills in a new job has been immense. For example, the challenge of asking questions in a new language has highlighted the importance of asking for help.

At the start of my internship I was very scared to ask for help because it meant that I would have to speak in my broken Spanish and endure the possible embarrassment of not understanding or not being understood. The secret was that asking a question was not only helpful to me but was also a way to show the person I was asking that I was involved and ready to learn.

Further, the lack-luster, speedy, or mumbled answers that I have received have made me a better question answerer. I now know how it feels to leave a conversation with only an inkling of an idea of what was talked about and I have developed the skill of seeking clarification and follow-up about unclear answers. As a person, being put under the pressure of an internship abroad has helped me further the development of who I am as a person and the style of which I enjoy to live my life.

Further, another advantage of interning abroad is my strengthened adaptability and resilience, making me reliable and able to be expected upon to embrace change with open arms. If you have ever done a behavioral interview, you will know that these experiences are gold. Interning abroad gave me some serious meat to backup any answer I gave in a behavioral interview.

Improving My Spanish

Idioma. This is a no brainer but doing an internship in Spanish drastically improved my Spanish skills. One thing that I noticed immediately is that the academic Spanish, which I had done sixish years of before I began my internship, is nothing like real interpersonal Spanish. Learning how to express who you are and have genuine and fun interaction with people in another language is an extremely fulfilling experience.

There is an old saying that goes “learning a new language is like getting a new soul”, and after the experience of immersing myself in the world of Spanish, I can attest to the truth of this.When I am speaking Spanish I feel like I step into the shoes of a different person, slightly quieter but also more likely to greet a stranger on the street. Having this new lens with which to examine myself has been extremely fun, and again, growth inducing

In a professional context, learning a new language opens up doors not only all across the world, but also in your home country. With Spanish as an example, there are 21 different countries that speak Spanish as their first language and in the US about 13% of the population is a native Spanish speaker according to Instituto Cevantes.

Image of a Church in Ecuador with a Taxi in the front

The Internship Experience

Experiencia. Speaking from my experience, the skills and opportunity to test out a career path in a low-stakes environment is an incredible opportunity. Further, the barrier to entry may be lower as a foreign intern. In my case, I had no experience beyond two years of university in the department that I was working in. With a foundation of design thinking and Java programming, I learned front and backend design on the fly and ended up creating an app, which has been a crucial edition to my portfolio.

My experience learning new skills was smooth, as companies hiring international interns are generally expecting a language barrier and the need for professional development. In return what I gave to them was a broader cultural influence on their office culture and business practices, and the chance for their employees to practice English. Understanding this symbiotic relationship is crucial for me to best help the company I was interning with, while sponging up all the knowledge they can give you.

Further, it helped to combat the imposter syndrome something that I experienced in moments of doubt or blips in my Spanish language ability. The final piece of experience that my internship lent me was extracurricular. Having a community of locals to be a part of while I was traveling was extremely fun and resulted in a massive amount of cultural immersion. Whether it was during a lunch break, grabbing a drink after work, or being invited on a weekend trip by a co-worker the experiences shared with my co-workers outside of work were crucial to the enjoyment and cultural learning that I gleaned while abroad.


The advantages that I gained from an internship abroad have undoubtedly aided my career and landed me a job back at home directly related to what I was doing abroad in a company I am very excited to work for. However, tapping into the advantages of interning abroad is the final step of an abroad experience.

Learning how to reflect on my experience and pull out the pieces that were helpful to my career took time and effort, and exercises like this blog. I am very grateful to Adelante Abroad, the program that helped me achieve my goals, for providing me are really awesome for synthesizing a dense and rich experience. Interning abroad has been an incredible period of my life and I hope my story can empower others to find the right experience for them.

More To Explore

Healthcare internships abroad

Medical Internships Available in Spain

Learn More

$250 Off Fall Discount for November & December Start Dates

Spain internships candidates with barcelona view


Ready to Intern Abroad?

For programs two months or longer starting in November or December.

Apply Now