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Why should I do an overseas unpaid internship

There are many organizations out there that provide volunteer abroad programs all over the world. These organizations are very easy to use but unfortunately, they lack that one important thing that many people are looking for. They lack in depth information that would help a person who wants to volunteer abroad. This information available is a general scenario to all volunteers and not specific to one’s needs, it is a “one size fits” all scenario.

There are many different volunteers out there, and each has specific needs and wants. For example, one person may want to know about the meals provided (if they are vegetarians or vegans) and another person would like to find out about the specific tasks and duties that may be done. As an international volunteer before signing up to a program, one should find out all necessary information relevant to him or her.

Information about the country and the volunteer program is one of the most important things to find out. There are general things that one can find through the internet like currency, weather conditions, visa requirements, and vaccinations required. Also, the person going to the host country should try and find out about the culture of the local people, safe areas to visit, general view of foreigners, and a little of the local language.

On the part of the volunteer program one should endeavor to find out if there is a real need for the work they will be doing. For example, are the person’s skills and attributes suited to the work and ensure that there is no wastage of time by being idle. Another thing to find out is if the volunteer work is sustainable in the sense that if the volunteer leaves, will someone come and pick up the work that has been left.

Accommodation and meals information is also needed to be known. This is necessary as this will be where the volunteer will be staying and eating. Many volunteer organizations house volunteers in homestays, volunteer houses, dormitories, and group homes. One should find out the type of accommodation and if they are comfortable with it.

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Other information that will be needed is the availability of air conditioning in the home especially during the hot summer days and heating during the cold days. Other amenities that one should find out is how to control bugs like mosquitoes, flies, bedbugs, etc. When one is at home, it is easy to overlook these issues, and the volunteer is rudely shocked when they are abroad.

Other than following specific dietary requirements, one should know what meals are served, and if they will be able to adjust to the food being served. There are many cases where volunteers go to a place and are not able to enjoy the food that is there.

Lastly, volunteers should look into the fees being charged. They should find out clearly what the fees cover and what they don’t. There is a lot of information that is lost in the fine print, and when they are in the host country, they find out they have to pay for stuff they assumed was covered. An example of fees that people assume is taken care of is transportation costs. Many organizations fail to mention who will pay for the transportation to and from the volunteer site.

There is a lot of information that is required, but little is available to a person who wants to volunteer abroad. To find out everything about a volunteer program, one should get in touch with a previous volunteer who went through the same program. The alumni volunteer would provide information that the potential volunteer would not think of.

There can be some different reasons that a person might volunteer in China. Options for working as a volunteer are widely available for those who are interested in the humanitarian efforts taking place. Chores you may find yourself doing in any of these programs can include education in different areas as well as personal hygiene instructions.

The jobs that you are assigned will vary greatly depending on the area in which you are stationed. There are many types of problems with the health of the citizens living in China, such as general sanitation as well as issues with unclean water sources. Because these people are not truly aware of the danger, they continue with these impure practices, resulting in a high number of deaths as a result.

Things that are everyday in your lifestyle may not be common in these underdeveloped regions. Things that you may take for granted in your culture such as birth control are unheard of in some areas so you need to think ahead about subscriptions that may be difficult to obtain. Making sure the children and others are receiving health care as well as getting the education that they need very important to help these areas become more independent overall.

As you look at the different choices that you might have for volunteering in this way, you are going to need to learn also about the cost of the trip. Although you are going to help and volunteer your services, there are going to be requirements that you have to meet before you can travel in specific areas. Also, the cost of your transportation.

Finding a group that can provide you with the essential information for this kind of work is going to be very helpful. There are several things that you need to consider including the costs as well as the needed medical records you are going to have to provide. A volunteer in China will have to receive specific vaccinations before they can travel to other areas to the area in addition to other requirements if they are doing any wildlife volunteering.

When you want to volunteer in China, you will learn about some possible choices that will be found today. Making this kind of decision is something people might do when there are significant problems in a certain area of the country. Furthermore, many groups often go to an area to provide assistance for a specific period such as after a storm or things of that nature.

The value of unpaid internship

After an initial interview, you have reached the second interview stage and you find out the position is going to come down between you and two other applicants. Each of you possesses similar credentials from credible academic institutions, held office in a couple of academic clubs, and impressive GPAs. The Department Manager reviews the resumes one more time and decides on one of your competitors.

Why did they pick him/her? Because last summer, while you were soaking up the sun and surf in San Diego, your competition was gaining valuable on-the-job experience, volunteering their time through an unpaid internship. Even though all of the paid internships through the placement office were taken, there was another little-used option …the unpaid internship. If you are still looking for a strategy that can help your career, in the long run, consider these factors about an unpaid internship:

Real-world experience

Training costs are a major factor considered by business entities when making hiring decisions. Department Managers want to be sure that (1) you can be brought up to speed on job duties quickly, (2) you can successfully function in a work environment, and (3) that you gave something of yourself to help others. An internship targeting your career path can provide you valuable real-world experience that can give your resume an edge over the competition.

Additionally, your future employer only has to check your references to learn that you take direction well and respond to supervisor input, factors many employers wish they had known about recent college graduates before the hiring decision was made.

Networking opportunities

We’ve all heard the phrase “It’s not what you know … it’s WHO you know.” Being ejected from a bachelor degree program without any connections puts you behind the proverbial eight ball right away. Working an internship gives you the opportunity to build your network within the industry even before you are available for permanent hire.

While your internship employer may not be in a hiring mode at the time, they may be able to point you in the right direction … and even put in a good word for you. Imagine the weight this can carry in a close competition with another graduate.

Show your dedication

Want to “WOW “an interviewer? Tell him how you volunteered your time in the summer to learn the industry and position specifics, and that you did it for nothing! Congratulations! You have immediately communicated your dedication and seriousness to your career in the eyes of your interviewer. Now, when you convey to them that you are looking to be a serious player in the company and the profession, it is backed by your willingness to sacrifice your free time to do so.

Career compatibility

Let’s not forget “you” in this equation. How do you know if this career path is for you? Does the profession have inherent characteristics you wouldn’t find out about in a classroom setting? Your internship just might show you that this path isn’t for you … before it is too late.

There are many employers who would love the luxury to bring someone in to perform ground-level duties for a couple of months and not have to pay the associated employee costs. A little leg work will surely find you a position that can give you the experience and professional insight you can use to get you over the top. Just remember, next summer’s beach trip will be much more enjoyable with a paycheck to fund it.

There is much discussion in the media, particularly in the US and the UK about the use of interns as a form of free labor. In tough economic times, many companies are taking on unpaid interns instead of hiring junior staff. While some interns take issue with a lack of remuneration, others insist that the value of the experience – learning about an industry and developing networks – is worthwhile.

So when should you consider an unpaid internship?

There are particular benefits in unpaid internships if you want to get work experience overseas in a developing country, especially in the NGO and Social Enterprise sector. In a developing country such as South Africa, there are hundreds of organizations that are making enormous contributions to transforming the society and changing people’s lives. The unique environment of South Africa, being a developing country in transition, may provide you with a learning experience that you cannot obtain in your country.

Why shouldn’t I get paid?

It is unusual for an overseas intern to be paid in a developing country, especially in the social development sector. The reason is that there is often a high unemployment rate, and there is a policy emphasis on reducing local unemployment and developing local skills. In South Africa for example, there is an unemployment rate of 25%, a statistic much higher than in Europe and America. The government puts pressure on companies to employ local people and only offer jobs to foreigners who have “exceptional skills.”

This is not to say that you will not be valued as an unpaid intern and receive countless non-monetary benefits. You will be exposed to a completely new environment and get original insights that you will be able to take back to your home country. You will meet people and learn about a new culture, enriching your life through new, unexpected connections.

To gain the maximum from your experience overseas, you should make sure that you secure a good job description before you start and that you will be learning what you need to know for your career (or at least learn trasferabe skills). Try to ensure that you have at least some achievable that you can put on your resume to impress future employers in your field.

Take advantage of all the learning opportunities that come your way. See the internship as an extension of your study an opportunity to gain local insights into a country that ordinary travelers just don’t get.

 

Why should I do an overseas unpaid internship
5 (100%) 1 vote

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7 Comments
  • Stephanie
    Reply

    This article presents a good representation of both sides of the subject of unpaid internships in China. The experience of the whole process, as long as one is in a financial position to do it, would make the struggle worth it. There are many who would jump at the opportunity.

  • Raymond Hall
    Reply

    This article raises a lot of interesting points and I can definitely see the benefit of doing unpaid work.. IF you can afford to. Unfortunately this probably eliminates everyone but the richest of society. The sad truth is, western or Chinese, people need to earn money to live and while having the luxury of being able to afford to work for nothing would open up a whole world of opportunities, the people who can afford to do such things probably have a lot of opportunities anyway.

  • AIZAM
    Reply

    Definitely not for everyone. Overseas internship without getting paid clearly says i want some one that comes from a rich family and hunger for experience. It would unwise for people with shallow pockets, no connections go to foreign land to work for free.

  • Sandeep Saroha
    Reply

    A very informative article about internship scenario. Internship is the need of modern day but very little information is available for volunteers and interns as they are not permanent part of company.

  • Hassan S
    Reply

    Unpaid internships in a foreign land are a manifest of one’s commitment and dedication his/her career. Just as in this article, unpaid internships can at times be really tough especially with settling in and getting acquainted the with culture all at your expense!

    • Reply

      Thanks or the feedback Hassan. Yes, this can be true if you don’t have financial support, however the road to success is often not easy. College is also expensive for many students, however it is an investment for the future. An unpaid internship could be the key to landing a job that pays well.

  • Biswajit
    Reply

    Overseas Unpaid Internship is most asked quarry now a days .Thanks for covering all the good side and bad side of this subject .Just want to know in which sector and country have huge demand for Internship.