5 Reasons You Should Intern Off the Beaten Track

5 Reasons You Should Intern Off the Beaten Track

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volunteer in asia

If you’re considering doing an internship in Asia, Shanghai, Beijing or Tokyo have no doubt crossed your mind. These vibrant mega-cities are exciting destinations that offer much in the way of professional and social opportunity. While these places give culturally curious interns a comfortable taste of modern-day life in Asia, they aren’t for everyone. Today, internships in less frequented destinations like Kathmandu are emerging, giving the more adventurous intern an authentic, rewarding experience. Here’s why we think you should consider getting off the beaten track for your internship.


1. Break the mould

intern in BeijingAs more and more students flock to Asian mega-cities for their internships, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. Though still admirable, venturing to Shanghai or Beijing is no longer so unique. If you’re looking to differentiate yourself from a sea of equally as qualified individuals, perhaps it’s time to consider taking the road less travelled to alternative destinations.

Interning abroad is an effective way to demonstrate your ability to adapt to new surroundings, take on challenges and communicate with a variety of people whilst gaining professional experience. This is particularly true of less popular destinations that lack the comfort of large expat communities common in big cities. Choosing an off the beaten track location for your internship will undoubtedly appeal to employers looking for staff who aren’t afraid of a challenge. 


2. Broaden your horizons 

intern in Nepal

Living and working in Asia will give you an unrivalled insight into an entirely different culture and way of life. You’ll discover alternative ways of approaching problems, a new way of thinking and a completely different belief system that may even cause you to question your own!

Nowhere is this truer than in destinations less affected by westernisation where age-old traditions, beliefs and values remain prominent. Working within such communities, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of and appreciation for the local culture valuable to both your personal and professional life. Off the beaten track spots tend to be less developed and therefore less wealthy. Working in such places will help you to see a vastly different way of life and broaden your horizons. 


3. Immerse yourself

volunteer in asiaAs business hubs of their respective nations, Shanghai and Tokyo offer countless opportunities and vibrant social scenes that prove an attractive draw for young nationals and expats alike. In such cities, foreign communities are large, western amenities accessible, and English widely spoken. This makes it easy to limit your interaction with the local culture.

While there’s no doubt that life in these cities is exciting and rewarding, interns looking to engage with local people are better off opting for places with smaller expat communities. This way, you’ll avoid the temptation of a familiar lifestyle and get the most out of your time abroad. You’re also far more likely to pick up some of the local language, and we all know how important this is in the modern-day world!


4. Find a rewarding internship

teach in asiaWhile Asian business capitals offer opportunities across a range of industries, they tend to be limited to office-based work. Venturing off the beaten track opens up a realm of possibilities in rewarding areas like NGO’s, teaching and nursing. By choosing an internship in one of these fields, you’ll get to help people who really need your help and truly make a difference to a local community. This will give you a valuable insight into life in less-developed areas of Asia and stand you in good stead for a future career in similar industries.

If you’re set on cracking the corporate world, big cities are the place for you. That said, if you want to gain experience in finance or business consulting in a rewarding way, it can still be possible. Small start-ups in less developed destinations sometimes look for interns to help them take their business to the next level. The world really is your oyster!


5. Beat the Crowd

intern abroad A few decades ago, the top Asian internship cities of today were home to few foreigners and shrouded by mystery. Anyone brave enough to journey to Beijing, Shanghai or Tokyo was considered quite the adventurer. Now, these cities are home to sizable expat communities, global businesses and rapidly growing economies.

As Asian nations continue to astound the world with impressive rates of economic growth, it’s likely the lesser known destinations of today will become the mega-cities of tomorrow making an understanding of the culture, language and people of countries like Nepal and Cambodia ever important. The idea of jetting off to somewhere with fewer familiarities might be scary, but it’s a valuable investment in your future that you’ll soon be grateful for.


Keep an eye on our news page for part-two, where we reveal our top 6 destinations for an off the beaten track internship!


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