Hey everybody! My name is Casey Horner. I am a student-athlete and a MBA graduate student at East Tennessee State University. Throughout my college career, I have been nonstop busy with classes, services, friends, work, and competition. I thought I would never have the opportunity or time for either a study abroad experience or an internship. Yet through careful planning, I was able to find an opening in one summer of my undergraduate college years. I chose to go study abroad in London, but making the decision was extensive. Making the decision for between a study abroad experience or an internship can be difficult and stressful. Here are some key points and questions to keep in mind during the decision making process.
Which experience is more beneficial to your future?
Do you need global experience or work experience added to your résumé?
Which is more affordable?
Will there be compensation or available funds from a scholarship or your university to help with the study abroad trip?
Does the internship address what you want to do?
Are there any future benefits for your field of study through either experience?
Will there be compensation if you must relocate for an internship?
Will accreditation be given for the study abroad course or the internship?
Do you have available time for the study abroad trip or the work for the internship?
Which experience would you appreciate more?
The best advice I can extend is to do what makes you happy. Your happiness should be all-inclusive to the present experience and future benefits.
My study abroad experience was highly educational, but not only in the classroom. I learned how to travel internationally on my own and how to best deal with a group of people in a foreign country. I learned just as much, if not more, about myself than I did in the classroom. I highly recommend a study abroad experience. You will learn more than you could in the classroom. In turn, it will be an experience that you will carry with you for the rest of your life rather than classroom notes that are tossed in the trash at the end of the semester.
I went through my entire undergraduate years without an internship. I simply didn’t have the time. I also felt under-accomplished or ill prepared to apply to most internships. Simply, I felt that I needed to wait to apply for an internship.
Therefore, my goal at the beginning of my graduate studies was to earn an internship. I applied for numerous internships. I was rejected by most. I nearly lost complete hope that I would be accepted for an internship. Finally, I was accepted for a virtual marketing internship with a magazine out of Atlanta. With extreme patience, I had scored an internship that I enjoyed very much and learned a good deal from.
Also, I liked the fact that the entire internship was virtual. I feel that it prepared me better in approaching the modern business world. Honestly, it was also more convenient especially since I was also taking three summer courses at the same time. Looking back on my overall experience that summer, I completely lucked out. With better preparation than I had and steady determination, you can land the internship that you desire or be completely surprised by an internship that isn’t even on your radar and it may be even more beneficial for your future.
In the end, the decision is yours and yours alone. Do what makes you happy. If traveling and gaining that experience will make you happy, then do it. If having an internship and gaining that work experience will make you happy, then do it. If you want to do both, then do both. If you feel you should wait, then wait. Plan extensively in advance for each so each experience can be as stress free as possible. Then just go all in. Enjoy your decision. Learn from your experiences. Its college and the world is at your fingertips. Reach for it and hold on for the ride.