Finding a work placement abroad
By Tamara Boh
Why is an internship important?
One of the more important reasons to undertake a work placement is to gain insight into whether a particular career suits you or not. You’ll have a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, regardless of whether you have the skills and abilities required for your chosen career path.
Work placements enable you to build a network of professional contacts that will come in handy when you start looking for your dream job after graduation.
Why do an internship abroad?
The pace of life is getting faster and faster, and we are witnessing significant changes made possible by new technologies and advances in science. Regardless of the current pandemic, these rapid and intensive changes are dissolving borders of all kinds and the world is becoming a global village. That is why it is important to seize the opportunity and learn new languages, discover new places and new approaches to solving challenges, and work in an international team.
You’ll further expand your circle of acquaintances and professional contacts, and improve your foreign language skills, especially in your field of expertise.
Last but not least, doing a work placement, especially abroad, makes a great addition to your CV. Every employer wants to hire people with experience. In today’s globalised world, the experience of working in an international environment is even more valuable.
Where to start?
The desire to go abroad is not enough. You must be willing to temporarily change some of your habits and your environment, and do without the comfort of your home and the people close to you. It may not be easy at first, but if you know how to overcome the initial difficulties, you’ll eventually get everything in order. You’ll begin to appreciate the benefits of your new position: independence and new friendships. In this sense, a work placement is a test of adulthood.
However, there are some questions you should ask yourself before going abroad:
- Do I want to live in a country with a different language, customs, lifestyle, culture, and climate?
- Am I willing to adapt to an unfamiliar work environment?
- Will I be able to step out of my comfort zone – live on my own, without the support of my family, relatives and friends?
Above all, take your time! Start your search early enough. It is not unusual to spend half a year or more looking for the right opportunity.
Think about your strengths, your skills, and write a letter of motivation and your CV.
Looking for a potential employer is looking for opportunities
Looking for a potential employer abroad is not much different from looking for a work placement in Slovenia.
You can look for a work placement on employment websites or by contacting employers directly. You can also get advice from the Central Office of International Relations, teachers at your faculty, fellow students who have been on an exchange programme, and the University of Ljubljana Career Centres.
You can find work placement opportunities at the Erasmus Student Network internship portal – Digital Opportunities.
The European Employment Services (EURES) portal also provides information on employment opportunities in European countries. EURES is a network of national public employment services and their partners in EU countries, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. Learn more about the opportunities offered by EURES here.
GoinGlobal is a global search engine for job vacancies, traineeships, and work placements. It provides guides for more than 40 countries, with detailed information on ways to search for employment, visas and work permits, best employers and the labour market, and the cost of living. Examples of motivation letters and CVs in English and other languages, as well as tips on how to prepare for an interview, are also available. University of Ljubljana students have free access.
Don’t forget about LinkedIn, where you can start building your professional profile while still studying. Write your CV, list any course you have completed and projects you have participated in, describe your knowledge and skills. The portal offers a wide range of work placement opportunities.
Idealist is a popular platform for job seekers in the social sector, enabling you to connect with more than 100,000 organisations.
Get in touch with companies and organisations
Use search engines and LinkedIn to find companies working in your field of study. They may already have traineeship vacancies you can apply to, or you can send them an email explaining who you are and why you’re interested in working with them. It’s very likely that your future employer will appreciate your motivation and proactive attitude.
Before going abroad
- Have a (written) employment contract.
- Learn as much of your destination country’s language as possible.
- Check out financial support options.
- Arrange your health insurance.
- Check the current situation in your destination country.
- Arrange for a residence permit or visa (if required).
- Find accommodation at your destination (at least temporary) https: //housinganywhere.com.
- Check your financial resources (cash, cards) and make any necessary arrangements with your bank.
- Compile any documentation that you might need abroad (copies of documents, certificate of no criminal record, copies of ID photos).
- Deregister your address (if required).
- Make any necessary arrangements concerning your tax affairs (tax residence).
- Cancel your subscriptions and redirect your post.
Doing an internship abroad is an experience that will help you grow personally and professionally. Allow enough time for planning and searching, since you’ll be dealing with new companies, new cultures, and new people.