New Zealand is a fantastic destination for students interested in pursuing international coursework, or valuable professional experience through an internship. But you might be asking yourself: Should I study abroad, or intern abroad?
The answer depends entirely upon the opportunities that present themselves. If you are accepted into a prestigious and demanding academic program, you might not want to risk dividing your attention. On the other hand, if you are rewarded with a once-in-a-lifetime internship, you wouldn’t want to risk scheduling conflicts, either. Both opportunities must be equally advantageous in order to merit the time and dedication. If you want to study abroad with internships in New Zealand, here are a few tips that might help you negotiate both your academic and your professional journeys.
1. Weigh the benefits of doing both
While most students choose to study abroad during their sophomore or junior year, the best time to take on an internship is fairly close to graduation. So you might also want to think about studying abroad your senior year or the summer after your junior year. If you excel in your post and you are offered permanent employment, you don’t necessarily want to have to turn it down. Furthermore, the professional contacts you make will be relatively fresh, and you’ll be in a better position to benefit from them.
However, doing both might help you learn the respective disciplines more efficiently; the internship responsibilities can inform your academic pursuits, and vice versa.
2. Perfect your time management skills
Many students who choose to study in New Zealand are environmental, marine or biological sciences majors (due to the excellence of the academic programs and the phenomenal biodiversity of the region). These are challenging specialties that often require field excursions and research, which can take up quite a bit of time and energy. If you are going to perform at your best both academically and in your internship position, you have to manage your schedule effectively.
3. Ask, and you may receive
Don’t be timid about asking for scheduling flexibility – your internship is likely unpaid, so it shouldn’t be considered unreasonable. Make sure both your instructors and employers are apprised of your obligations so that you don’t overextend yourself.
4. Make sure the internship is beneficial
Interning in New Zealand does look good on a resume, but what is truly important is that you gain practical experience that will help hone your professional skills. Make sure the internship fits your needs. If you’re going to spend time away from your academic obligations, make sure you get a return on your investment.
5. Become a part of the workplace culture
One of the best things about internships is the opportunity employers give you to hone your soft skills. Learning about company culture and forming valuable relationships with team members is just as important as the tasks you perform. You’ll come away from the experience with professional skills, a network of colleagues and insight into the organization’s brand identity.
6. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed
If you find that your academic and internship obligations aren’t allowing you any free time to absorb your surroundings, you might want to make a scheduling adjustment. One of the major benefits of studying abroad is the opportunity to negotiate different cultures; if you’re too busy to become acquainted with your host city, you might be doing too much. However, just because you aren’t being paid doesn’t mean you can rightfully take your internship lightly – if you’re struggling, tell your supervisor. Don’t just slack off.
ISEP offers many study abroad programs with part-time internship opportunities. If you’re interested in pursuing study abroad with internships in New Zealand, please visit our search page to start exploring your options.
For more information on internships, check out our blog, “Internships in New Zealand” - https://www.isepstudyabroad.org/articles/494.
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