By Sojourner White
The thought of doing a fellowship or internship abroad can be so exciting! You start to dream of what you can learn, what you can do, and who you could meet along the way. Not to mention, you think about how you can explore the neighboring cities and countries before, during, or after your internship or fellowship is complete. The possibilities and opportunities for growth seem endless. But before any of that can happen, you have to apply first – and one of the biggest hurdles is knowing where to begin.
After one fellowship and two internships abroad, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. Also, as an alumna of spending hours researching where to find fellowships and internships abroad, I know the task can seem daunting. There are so many questions that come up in your search. Where do you start? How do you use a fellowship or internship database correctly? What search terms do you use? Should you be using multiple databases to find what you need? Well, to ease your own research process, I’ve gathered some resources to get started on the right path. Let’s find that internship or fellowship for you!
Although most people think LinkedIn is only for formal 9-to-5 jobs, you may be surprised that you can find other opportunities too. While many organizations do post full-time jobs, many of those same organizations are looking for interns and fellows as well. To start tracking these opportunities, create a profile for yourself. LinkedIn makes it easy to build out your online resume for you to highlight all of your experience, certifications, and other qualifications. Show off a little, if you will.
From there, check out the organization’s employment/career pages for more opportunities. Regular full-time jobs may be salient, so you have to dig through their “jobs” tab to find internships or fellowships. Use search terms that include “fellow” or “intern” as they may be in the title. Additionally, specify a location by using “Worldwide.” You can even apply using your LinkedIn page you created to auto-fill the information! This could be a gateway to the opportunity you’ve been looking for.
2. Social media
Whether it’s a Twitter thread, a call to action on an Instagram post, or a Facebook ad, social media can be an unexpected hub for internship and fellowship opportunities abroad. To use it more intentionally, follow your dream organizations to keep up with what they’re doing. Many companies are posting internship and fellowship openings on their respective social media pages. It’s a great recruitment tactic to garner talent from people who are already engaged and interested in their content.
However, be cautious about how you respond to a social media call. Sliding into an organization’s personal messages with your resume and cover letter may not be the best way to go. Refer to the call to action or ad to see who you should contact for the internship or fellowship. Though personal messaging works sometimes, the organization may not like that and you have just given a not-so-good first impression. Remember we are currently in a social media-driven era, so use it to your advantage – but use it wisely!
3. ProFellow’s database
Fellowships just happen to be ProFellow’s specialty! As one of the most comprehensive databases on the internet, ProFellow’s Fellowships Database is a hub to find the best opportunity for you abroad. You can break down your search based on various areas of interest, including location and citizenship requirements. Additionally, you can choose multiple locations, disciplines, and even work experience requirements, etc. to maximize your number of opportunities. This means they vary in experience – entry-level, mid-career, and more. From shorter internships to longer fellowships, ProFellow’s database has an opportunity for everyone. ProFellow also posts opportunities on their Facebook page and sends out bi-monthly newsletters that contain open calls!
For those interested in non-profit organizations, social enterprises, government, or the social impact space in general, Idealist should be on your list of resources. You can segment your options based on your educational background, job function, organization type, and if you want to be on-site or remote. Similar to LinkedIn’s database, be sure to specify a location if you know where you want to work or use “Everywhere” to broaden your horizons. Idealist’s database also works extremely well if you use entire phrases such as “fellowship” or “internship” in the title. Being even more specific by using search terms such as “policy fellowship” or “education fellowship” can help you hone in on your search as well.
List-servs are the hidden gems of finding internships and fellowships abroad! Though most people think list-servs are for mass email announcements and newsletters within entities, they can also be for jobs and other employment opportunities. You can get internship and fellowship opportunities abroad straight to your inbox. Start by connecting with full-time professionals in the fellowship or internship field(s) you are interested in. Chances are they would know if a list-serv is available. While this does require a bit of networking, the payoff could be worth it. A list-serv posting could be the gateway to that internship or fellowship abroad that you’ve been waiting for. Be proactive and take the time to network so you don’t miss out.
6. Fellowship or study abroad program offices
By design, study abroad or international program offices are meant to help students go abroad – so why not use that to your advantage? Schedule an appointment with someone in a study abroad office to pick their brain. Chances are they have been in this abroad space longer than you have been searching for an opportunity. Also, as an International Education professional, it’s literally their job to stay in the know. Some larger institutions even have “prestigious fellowship offices” or centers tailored for experiential learning adjacent to career services. Not only could they possibly help you find an internship or fellowship abroad with their campus resources, but they may not about a list-serv to add you too as well. Make that appointment to get started!
Due to my prior experience, I can tell you that finding an internship or fellowship abroad is half the battle. The application, resume, short answers questions, etc. are all a test to see if you will put in the work to get what you want. There is so much more to learn and experience on the other side of it all, but you won’t know if you don’t apply! Track the internships and fellowships you’ve applied for in an Excel sheet to keep your eyes on the prize. Push through writing those essays and collecting recommendations. Take these tips to find the right fellowship or internship abroad for you. It can quite literally change your life.
Sojourner White is a second-year Master’s of Social Work student at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Her concentration is International Social and Economic Development with a specialization in Social Entrepreneurship. Prior to graduate school, Sojourner taught English in Spain as a Fulbright Fellow and served in the AmeriCorps program Public Allies. Sojourner is an alumna of Bradley University where she completed her Bachelor’s Degree, double majoring in Psychology and Spanish and minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies. When she is not studying or working, you can find Sojourner writing on her travel blog Sojournies.
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