International internships are vital
By Brett Ley
Published: Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
When college graduates apply for jobs, John Houston, the senior vice president of MTG Consulting, says he looks for “generalists” with a broad background in many fields. And an excellent way for students to show their versatility is to have international experience, he says.
As American companies invest in Asia and Europe, universities have taken note. It is not uncommon to find study-abroad programs. But American universities also often require their students to take part in an internship because it provides valuable work experience.
Like football, international internships are filled with many head fakes — skills learned indirectly — that not only demonstrate a graduate's familiarity with cultural mores and folkways but also impress employers. International interns obviously learn concrete skills from their internship. The hidden skills, however — innovative problem-solving, resilience and adaptability — are far more important.
An international internship is a 24-hour job with constant barriers. In a country where the language and currency might be foreign to a U.S. student, even going to the grocery store can be a daunting task. Making a new form of sign language or relying on Google Translate to complete a thought might seem goofy at first but there is something to be said for overcoming such difficulties.
Students on international internships need to adapt to a brand-new culture, which requires good listening. And that means not just hearing the sounds but comprehending their content in context. It's exactly the kind of skill American companies need when entering foreign markets.
Thousands of students graduate from American universities each year with many of the same degrees. Of course grade-point average, a numerical measure of performance, says something about a person's work ethic. But it has nothing to do with creative potential.
John Houston, the MTG vice president, says universities should offer more international internships.
Operating in the global market requires students who are familiar with international businesses. An international internship is a win-win because not only do students flourish from actively working in a different country, American businesses can capitalize on what those students have learned.
Brett Ley, a Lehigh University student, is an intern with Worldwide News Ukraine in Kyiv, Ukraine. He is a native of Bridgeville.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Analysis: Kesler remains on Penguins’ radar as Shero looks bring back ‘Big 3’ formula
- ‘Un-American’? That’s Harry Reid, the Senate’s lowly smear artist
- Starkey: Steelers know when to say goodbye
- Pirates’ big risk with pitch-heavy draft focus might soon pay off
- Penguins GM Shero’s deadline deals: Addition by subtraction
- Ex-Colts executive Polian: Approach free agency with caution
- With so many needs, Steelers can ill afford to miss in draft
- Vietnam says it may have found missing jet’s door
- Ukrainians steel to resist Russian aggression
- Steelers defense doesn’t make the grade in 2013 review
- SUV flips onto its side on Parkway East