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What do you hope to learn from a summer internship abroad?

Most people who hear about summer internships might think “Great, here’s a way for me to fluff up my resume and maybe learn a thing or two about X, Y, and Z”. Though it’s true that you will have substantial work experience to show off in your next interview, this merely scratches the surface of your learning experience from summer internships abroad, and the great key internship takeaways that you’ll discover.

From summer internships abroad to working remotely, there are countless opportunities at your fingertips. Placements are made to fit your interests, background, and goals, ensuring that you walk away having done work you truly enjoyed and learned from. These educational internships are structured to benefit both the organizations and their interns — a partnership that works, in all honestly, really well. At the end of the day, in a world with a competitive job market and people spending a lifetime figuring out what it is they want to do, an internship is your best friend. It is a gateway to a guaranteed expansion of skill and character growth, allowing you to grow your roots and walk away with.


Key learnings from summer internships

1. Become professionally confident in your knowledge and skills

When doing a summer internship, you’re bound to walk away with an unceasing amount of skills. Internships in general prepare you for a world of communication, from interacting with your colleagues to confidently being able to speak up where and when you need to. You’ll learn relevant collaboration skills, teamwork, and how to hold a conversation with people with different perspectives and ideas. These are skills that are non-negotiable for almost all fields of work and will make you stand out and succeed when starting your career.

A summer internship allows you to zone in on your current skills while developing new ones by working in positions that are often not available to interns in larger organizations. This being said, you will be given personal guidance and direction on how to improve from your, if I say so myself – cool supervisors. Being directly involved in your field of choice at such a personalized level is hard to come by and will teach you skills such as time management, critical thinking, and adaptability. Though it may not sound too important right now, you’ll feel different when you look back at what you’ve accomplished. Inevitably, lessons learned in an internship include: messing up, acknowledging the downfall, and finding solutions as best you can while not having to worry about mistakes being detrimental to your career. Internships are about learning and mastering skills over time while having experiences along the way.

2. Follow a career path that is driven by your passions

Immersing yourself in work that you 1) Have an interest in and 2) Are good at, will allow you to walk away from your summer internship having developed new practical skills and enhanced your current ones. Skills that may have started as a challenge, soon turn to second nature and exude confidence. A summer internship with a nonprofit raises a major green flag for employers when browsing your CV since it and are, plus you get the benefit of having worked in the NGO sector. Key takeaways from an internship include working alongside industry professionals who can offer unique and distinctive guidance from their years of expertise. It is a great networking opportunity to gain tips and tricks while building lasting connections that will prove to be of use for years to come. You are bound to meet inspiring people who are bold, big-hearted, and passionate to the core in what they do, exposing you to life lessons and imparting wisdom for professional success.

Summer internship education3. Keep track of your personal growth

Being placed in an unfamiliar and new environment is an exciting prospect but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one. Whether that be working remotely and forming professional relationships through a screen (still weird to think about) or traveling halfway across the world to a new country filled with strangers and unknown territory.

While this may seem daunting, it will pull the best traits out of you that are often hidden underneath the fear of the unknown. A summer internship pushes you to not just go out of your comfort zone but rather build a new one. Meeting new people, owning your skills, immersing in new cultures, and putting yourself forward in situations. Braving the things that you may have never experienced before.

More so, working alongside people whose passion radiates in their daily work and lives will allow you to grow as a person; encouraging you to figure out what it is that you wish to do with your career. The connections formed with inspiring communities and individuals are a major stepping stone in finding what it is you value in others and life.

Why do an internship this summer?

Whether you’re a homebody with commitments and a busy schedule or an adventurous nomad looking to explore what the world has to offer, you have the opportunity to do some special work, with great people, in whatever setting suits you.

Choosing to do a remote summer internship or an international internship has many contributing factors. Financials, health, travel independence, and the stage of life you are at, are all influences that can influence your experience. You can choose to work from the convenience of your home or take on the challenge of spending a few months abroad, which will it be?

Remote internshipRemote summer internships

In a world that is moving towards an ever more online sphere and normalization of a work-from-home mentality, it only makes sense to try it out once in your life! Notably, it is brilliant how well remote working can be for both organizations and their employees.

With definite freedom to work from your home, office space, coffee shop, or local park for that matter, a remote summer internship enables heaps of flexibility. Lessons learned in an internship extend to skills such as learning how to thrive in an online working environment as well as your chosen internship field. Something which can be a huge advantage in a virtual working world and to your CV!

Working remotely means, in your own space and on your own time, all while continuing to engage in a level of grassroots work. Besides controlling your working hours and environment, it’s a savvy way to keep your summer plans while securing an internship – just pack your laptop.


  • More flexibility in your work schedule is ideal for people with full schedules
  • Learn skills that will prepare you for an online working environment
  • Greater autonomy can build independence and individualistic work skills
  • Can work from wherever, whenever and still gain practical work experience
  • Learn from industry experts at your own convenience

International internships

Let’s talk free time. Something that often isn’t used as best as it could be. We say we will do a million things during our summers off to tick off that lengthy bucket list (that just gets longer), when in reality the summer is an explicit repeat of the year before.

Although it can be peaceful and restoring to stay home and slow down, doing a summer internship abroad is a highly rewarding and pretty cool way to travel and experience new cultures, all while building your career. To me, that sounds a whole lot better.

With so many beautiful, rich, and charismatic locations to choose from and a diverse range of summer internships available globally, who wouldn’t be tempted by the possibilities? Internships this summer that you can choose from range from Yoga, to Creative Writing, to Medical Writing Internship, and even to Wildlife Veterinary. Each intern program is structured to be an educational experience and provide hands-on fieldwork as well as assist organizations that need help most. Meeting wonderful individuals who can teach you about your interests and passions is a special way to spend your summer, and who knows, maybe you’ll find a new home across the world.


  • Gain all-round experience in your personal life, career, and skills
  • Meet and work alongside knowledgeable industry professionals
  • Open your eyes to new and exciting ways of work
  • Travel to beautiful destinations and learn about different cultures
  • Come home having built your character and career abilities


Alumni lessons learned from summer internships abroad

An internship abroad or remote, is an experience that differs from person to person. Our interns come from various parts of the globe and bring with them differing backgrounds, cultures, and expectations. Many of our interns began their journey with Roots Interns when searching for summer internships for college students. There are copious amounts of young students who have left their internships with knowledge, skills, and experiences that formed “a core memory” of theirs and enabled them to pave the way for their career aspirations. Read what other interns have to say about their experiences abroad.

Interns in Cape TownTruth be told, a summer internship keeps you busy; very busy. However, the continuous effort you will put into your work is incredibly rewarding. Someone like Isabella, who did her summer internship as a data analyst, found herself developing skills in areas she had never previously worked on and found it benefited her in the future. She liked that she was made to feel “like an integral part of the team” and that her “contribution mattered and made a difference”. A feeling that keeps you hooked and wanting to come back for more, hence why she loved it so much and is returning for her third internship with Roots!

Lessons from summer internships not only prepare your skills for a work environment but gives you first-hand experience in how to function in one. You will learn “to work with many different people, to be more flexible, and to fit into a work environment” – Eva-Maria. An intern who did her Wildlife Research Internship found this to be one of the most crucial lessons during her internship. An essential skill to have is the ability to work with people who don’t think or act like you. Not to mention having the rare opportunity to engage, listen, and connect with people who come from all over and have so much to offer.

The practical skills you will learn during your internships are invaluable, but the personal ones are often the experiences that make the biggest impact on individuals. During her NGO Management Internship, Caroline learned the “importance of not giving up even if an accumulation of bad or challenging news comes all at once”. This mindset was carried out through Caroline’s performance as an intern and got her noticed; she was offered the chance to join her organization’s board and felt the “relationship will stretch far into the future”. Building long-lasting professional friendships and foundations is something that will benefit your career for time to come, and allow you to connect with inspiring individuals on a personal level.

Interested in doing an internship this Summer?

A summer internship is, without a doubt, a unique and memorable experience that will positively influence your career and personal take on life in various ways. For those looking to get their career off the ground, test the waters, or simply increase their knowledge and expertise in the field, a summer internship is it. It is an adventure, an experience, and a powerful opportunity for a gateway to growth. In summary, internship takeaways will help you plant your roots, and watch them venture deep.

Browse all of our summer internships to see what sparks your interest, and if you already want to sign up for a program, then apply here!


This blog post was written by Lizzy Erwee, images by Anna Lusty