Pick a place to go and research your sector
This might seem like an easy task for some, and a veritable chore for others - where to go if you speak, say, Spanish: Spain, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile...The list goes on. The same goes for most languages - if working abroad is what you’re after, you’re going to have to research both countries and job markets, to see if you can find a good match. There’s no point in a student wanting to work in the great outdoors in Spain, for example, when South America beckons. The same goes for job security - how long would you like your internship for? Are you looking to get paid? If pay is a worry, perhaps you should think about getting in touch with the Leonardo Da Vinci grant programme, open to those basing their internships within the confines of Europe. Would you be willing to work for a lesser wage/for free if the job on offer is too good to turn down? How would you fund it? Grants for Individuals should be at the top of your list, to find out if you’re eligible for a grant to work/intern abroad. Once you’ve decided on where you want to go and what you want to work in, you can start to send out covering letters and CVs.
Getting your CV in check and snagging that great covering letter
First things first, you are going to have to prepare your CV à la foreign. As such, it would be a good idea to look at model CVs from your chosen country, as well as their accompanying covering letters. Remember that professional documentation can change from country to country, despite being in the same language; a commonly used CV in England is different to a resumé in the States. As such, keep an eye out for job sites abroad, type into Google your country/language + CV (e.g: Portuguese + CV) and base yours around what you see. In terms of covering letters, and with great sites such as Europass, you can create your CV in a multitude of languages
You can either take the direct route and approach individual employers by email or fax, though this can be a double-edged sword; whereas in some countries, speculative emails regarding an offer of an internship are seen as the norm, other cultures tend to use job aggregator sites. Looking at internship websites, based in the UK, can sometimes prove very fruitful. Inspiring Interns has job opportunities across the world, recently boasting a fashion internship in Berlin and a Marketing position in Rio de Janeiro. Some sites even offer the option to receive alerts or an RSS feed, so as to keep you in the loop should your ideal job arise, in your preferred location.
What you gain from it
As with any kind of internship, be it at home or abroad, gaining work experience whilst at university (or fresh out of it) will boost your CV with skills and expertise, essential for any student looking for paid work once they’re out of university. You’ll not only boast knowledge and understanding of the job, but you’ll also have the added extra of having worked abroad. As such, you are not only able to work in an English-based company, but also abroad. If your primary concern is the language-learning aspect, then holding an internship abroad should tick all the right boxes, and some more. By speaking the language everyday, mostly on-the-spot, your confidence will grow, as will your vocabulary. You might work on the phone, hence helping your phone manner and your courteous vocabulary. You might greet clients, deal with translation work, write for the company’s blog, go travelling on business... Depending on where you want to work, and what sector, getting an internship for a few months or a year can really help your language, your confidence and your work skills, for uni and later on in life.