What do you want to do when you grow up? You've been asked that question since preschool. If you have an interest in the natural world, biology internships may be the way to go. Sure, you may have narrowed down the options of what you want to do. However, you can't say for sure until you've actually experienced work in your field first hand. And an internship can give you that experience.
Even after earning your bachelors degree in biology, you still may not know if it's the right career for you. Taking classes is a different world than actual experience in the field. You may be able to explain the ins and outs of a cell, but do you know if the day to day life of researching cells is right for you? Maybe you can't stand reading about how ecosystems work, but absolutely love the tasks of restoring an ecosystem. You'll never know unless you try.
Taking part in biology internships abroad can add a third dimension to your learning. You can learn the skills needed in your career while exploring a new country full of rich culture, sights, and life.
What Do Biology Internships Abroad Look Like?
Typical biology internships abroad last around six to twelve weeks. During this time, you'll often help a team conduct research or work on a project. Depending on your branch of biology you may find yourself taking part in conservation efforts, educating the public, or handling exotic animals.
Unlike volunteer jobs, biology internships are designed around training you. You'll learn the skills and knowledge that are essential to jobs in your field. Rather than just performing literal heavy lifting, you'll perform duties that will teach you leadership, specific techniques, and problem-solving. These duties could vary anywhere from caring for a family's elephant in India, to conducting research of your own design on wild tortoises in the Galapagos. No matter what, you'll come away with experience you couldn't get anywhere else in the world.
As an added perk, during your time off you can explore your host country. You'll get to sample local cuisine, go on hikes, and take part in activities with your hosts. An entire country will be calling you to adventure. Biology internships abroad provide the right balance of adventure and career development.
Interns typically stay in a dormitory or shared housing. Often your sponsoring organization will provide this. And many biology internships charge a fee -- sometimes as much as $180 to $6,000.
Career Benefits Of Biology Internships Abroad
Taking part in a biology internship abroad has unique advantages when compared to biology internships in the U.S. Having international experience on your resume will make you stand out to employers. Many factors such as an expanded worldview, appreciation for different cultures, and experience with unique habitats will make your resume glow. And those are just a few of the ways biology internships abroad will help you grow as a professional.
Learn How Other Countries Apply The Scientific Method
Scientists from different countries bring a new perspective to biology that you can take home with you. They've been brought up in a different academic environment. This will manifest in the way they formulate hypotheses and conduct research. Maybe the scientists are less rigid and conduct research more by ear. Or maybe they apply techniques in your field that you were never taught in the U.S. Conducting research with a team of scientists from another country will teach you new ways of thinking that you can bring home and share.
Along with academic differences, the country you go to may have different ethics and regulations for their scientific community. This could shape the way you conduct yourself as a scientist for years to come. You may gain an appreciation for the ethical standard a country holds themselves to when conducting research. Then when you gain seniority in the future, you can advocate for changes in your own workplace.
Be Part Of The International Scientific Community
Learning to work in different cultures strengthens your ability to navigate cultural boundaries in the workplace. Because the scientific community spans the globe, employers will appreciate your proven ability to work in an entirely different culture. You may become their go-to scientist when your team needs to collaborate with a team from a different country. Your experience abroad will prove you can work with individuals from different cultures, and that you won't have any anxiety or difficulty when communicating with them.
Strengthen Your Communication Skills
Science is all about communication. By taking part in biology internships abroad, you'll get to know people with an entirely different background from your own. Learning how to bridge the gap between cultures strengthens your ability to relate to people one on one. In your career, this will help you acquire grants, share your research, work within a team, and much more. No matter where you decide to work, communication skills are always sought after in the sciences.
Gain Experience With Unique Ecosystems
When taking part in biology internships abroad you'll also have the chance to work with animals and organisms that aren't native to the US. By learning how to work with species you have no background knowledge in, you learn how to adapt to working with new organisms in general.
Sometimes you'll also find unique gems of internships where you'll be working with complex ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef. Not only will you have the chance to witness some of the greatest natural marvels, but you'll also learn what precautions and procedures are used to protect and conserve it.
Demonstrate Your Reliability
Traveling abroad is a daunting task full of planning, organization, and sticking to a schedule. Taking an internship abroad shows employers you have the discipline necessary for travel. You show you can overcome the challenge of moving your life to a new country while also fulfilling the duties of your internship.
The confidence gained by your travel will show in your work life as well. If you're able to pack up and move to an entirely new country, hopping over to a nearby state for a job opportunity becomes easy peasy. And what's so scary about adapting to a new workplace when you've arrived at an entire country where nobody knew your name?
Build Hands-On Expertise In Your Field
The most important element of biology internships is building expertise in the work you'll be doing in your biology career. Nothing beats experience with the day to day tasks and skills you'll be using in the future. Whether it's learning how to properly work with the equipment of your trade, write down observations, or just figuring out what your biology career will actually look like, hands-on practice shows you and your future employers that you have what it takes for a job in biology.
How To Take Part In Biology Internships Abroad
Two helpful websites for finding biology internships abroad are gooverseas.com and goabroad.com. Both websites offer a list of available internship opportunities that are hosted by a variety of organizations. Both websites offer information and reviews on the programs listed. The best way to find out what the programs are like is through the reviews of each program. Reviews from those who have already taken part in the internships give you information such as what your day to day life will look like, and what makes each program so great.
After choosing a program you can either visit the parent organization's website to learn more, or just go straight to applying. When applying for an internship abroad you'll usually fill out a form with basic information about yourself, which program you want, and where you want to go. Once your application is approved your next step is normally an interview. The final step will be up to you -- getting ready to go.
If you're trying to find a unique way to set yourself up for success in a career in biology, biology internships abroad are a life-changing way to do so.