hire an international intern?

Monday 9 November, 2009

I caught this presentation @ the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, former location of the World Trade Center Illinois How to Lead in a Global Economy: Why You Can’t Afford Not to Hire International Interns Here’s the presentation that Larry sent over J-1 International Intern and Trainee from Interexchange.  Like most presenters these days, Larry simply read his slides, so I can’t add much to that.  I can lend my personal experience.

When I ventured abroad for the 1st time many years ago, it was under the auspices of a professional internship program focused specifically on Germany, which was then known as the Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft, now called CDS International.  Their role is to arrange visas & work permits for foreign interns in Germany in exchange for visas & work permits for Germans in foreign countries. I still had to find a position on my own, but this was extremely helpful for me because I could apply to German firms in Germany & say, “I’m well educated from Thunderbird.  I have good experience with Xerox.  My work permit is taken care of.  What can I do for you?”  This enabled me to get a good position with Deutsche Bank & an even better position with Siemens, both in Muenchen.  I still had to deal with the bureaucrats at the Aufenthaltserlaubnisamt (residence permit office) & Arbeitserlaubnisamt (work permit office) from time-to-time, but otherwise my experience was pretty transparent.

If you know me at all, you know that I’m a deep believer in deep & meaningful international experiences.  International internships are a great way to acquire these experiences.  They’re great for employers because they accrue all of the benefits Larry’s presentation mentions.  They’re just as great for interns because they learn an incredible amount by living & working in a foreign culture as I did many years ago.  I wholeheartedly endorse these kinds of experiences because the learning that goes on for both sides provides immeasurable value to both.

I provide 1 caveat though.  The University of South Carolina International MBA program requires all candidates to complete an international internship, which is fine.  The only thing is, these internships are only 3 months & you can’t learn much about a country, culture, or business in just 3 months.  My suggestion is if you’re going to pursue/hire an intern, don’t do it for less than 12-18 months.  Everyone will get much more out of it in those timeframes.


One comment

  1. This posting covers many aspects of internships so thank you. You should also check out http://www.interncircle.com which seems to offer a lot of useful advice as well for new interns.

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