Internship abroad: 6 mistakes to avoid

A key asset of the CV, the internship abroad has become a near-miss for students in business and engineering schools. But for the experience to be really profitable, pay attention to some very common pitfalls

Internship abroad: 6 mistakes to avoid

Mistake # 1: Target only leading companies

Perfecting your apprenticeship in a state-of-the-art company ... an obviousness? Not so sure: the future trainee can also have any interest in choosing an institution where the standards are not the most advanced . This allows him to add value through his know-how on expertise still to be developed in the host country. "In Spain, for example, the professions of QHSE (quality hygiene and environmental safety) do not exist or little so our students are in the vanguard," observe Teresa Cordovilla, head of international relations and Laurent Navarrete, director of corporate partnerships ESAIP engineering school.

Mistake # 2: Being too optimistic

According to François-Xavier Théry, director of corporate relations at Skema Business School, "some business students make the mistake of not inquiring about the professional label at destination, local legislation concerning internships and even the country's economic situation. . This exposes them to many disappointments . " The solution ? Plan your internship well in advance and "  clearly define the mission with the host company before departure" in order to avoid disillusionment.

Mistake # 3: Go to the heart stroke

Students can easily attach themselves to the name of a company without digging enough , says Laurent Trébulle, director of school-business relations of EPITA. "A student had chosen a company whose name included the word telecom and thought so to make the network. The company was billing for operators ... "Another risk according to him: be seduced by the enthusiasm of a person who has just started his business . "The economic model or the technological choices can change between initial interviews and trainee integration. The student must then quickly adapt and eventually learn new technos, while a student engineer expects to use tools that he knows at least a little. "

Mistake # 4: Misreading Contracts

Future trainees must be vigilant because the term internship does not cover the same realities everywhere . In engineering or commerce, the need to protect corporate secrets can lead to unpleasant surprises. "We sometimes find ourselves mounting emergency solutions, reports Laurent Trébulle. This was the case two years ago with a student working in the USA in aeronautics. He had signed without paying attention a document forbidding him to leave any information of the country and was thus unable to render a report of internship and to make a defense in France . "

Mistake # 5: Neglecting the material aspect

Trade and engineering are areas of high mobility and demand. Trainees should not neglect the possibility of being contacted earlier or staying longer than expected in the host country. However, these approaches have a cost, as explained by Christophe Baujault, director of the ECE and Anne-Valérie Pero, director of corporate relations and partnerships. "  Some students do not realize that they can be solicited very quickly by the company for an on-site interview , which can represent a difficulty in time and resources. In addition, it is best to avoid minimizing the costs of an internship abroad and remain clear on the financial commitment to plan. Example: accommodation for an internship in London is often very expensive. "

Mistake # 6: Staying on the beaten track

 Many students are turning to the usual destinations popular with their elders, rather than being bold. In business as in engineering, the spirit of innovation is a quality that can pay off . "Do not hesitate to go out of the usual: Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, Belgium, Germany ..., says the ESAIP team. China, Brazil or the United States are accessible and more "exotic". It is necessary to think in the medium term on the interest of the stage in its construction of career. "