Preparing the Next Generation
of Global Leaders

Study Abroad vs. Intern Abroad: What are the similarities and differences?

Posted on May 19, 2015

Although there are many types of international opportunities that exist, the two most popular program types students pursue are study abroad programs and international internships. If you are interested in pursuing one of these two opportunities abroad but don’t know how they differ, we’ve outlined the similarities and differences between them below.

Who is Study Abroad ideally for?

Students enrolled in a college or university, regardless of academic field of study. Every school varies regarding how early students can go abroad, but students typically go abroad between their Sophomore or Junior year.

Academic Credit

Study abroad means taking courses overseas for academic credit. Whether the courses are directly aligned with your major, or satisfy one of your general education requirements, these credits can be applied to your overall degree. Meet with your academic advisor to ensure program credits are transferable.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Determine how much of your financial aid package can be applied to a study abroad program, and what scholarships you may be eligible for. Make sure you understand what you’ll be responsible for paying out of pocket (if any at all!).

Daily Schedule/Lifestyle

You’ll have a weekly class schedule, study outside of class, go to office hours, and submit homework regularly. Make sure you manage your time traveling accordingly!

Housing and Meals

You’ll likely be living in a dorm, a homestay, or hotel, and most meals may be provided.

Who are International Internships for?

Undergraduate students seeking international professional experiences and/or academic credit. This is also a great option for recent graduates or those seeking more direct field experiences.

Academic Credit

It IS possible to earn academic credit for an internship. However, if you independently research an internship opportunity outside of school, academic credit may not be available.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Internships abroad may be unpaid. For this reason, getting academic credit is ideal, since you can try and transfer some financial aid to help with costs abroad. Research what scholarships you would be eligible for when choosing an international internship.

Daily Schedule/Lifestyle

Your schedule will reflect an internship or work schedule at home, which means you may spend the full day working. However, you won’t be spending your free time studying or preparing for exams, giving you more flexibility to explore or network.

Housing and Meals

You may need to be more independent as an intern, which might mean finding your own housing, or making your own meals. Every international internship varies, so know what options are available to you.

Ultimately, it’s important to reflect on the type of international experience you want in order to make the best choice for you. Whether you want tostudy or intern, volunteer or teach, Diversity Abroad has the resources to help you decide!

Authored by: Diversity Abroad Community

Share this article: