Why international students make great interns

It’s not exactly a secret that students from around the world see Australia as an enviable place to attend university. In fact, 22.3 per cent of our nation’s students are of the international variety, while at some of Australia’s most prestigious institutions (such as University of Melbourne), the proportion is even greater.

Yet there is little doubt that a stigma exists regarding international students, particularly when it comes to internships, work experience and eventually, post-graduate employment. Whether it is due to language barriers, cultural differences or perhaps just coincidence, it can be tough to find work in Australia if you are from another country.

This is somewhat surprising considering the various advantages that come with an international hire.

Motivation

What drives an international student can be largely different to a domestic student. Locals have the advantage of ready access to an established network of friends, family and acquaintances, a luxury not afforded to those who come from overseas. Therefore, international students will tend to take what they can get and work extremely hard to make the most of their opportunities, while the desire to impress is further amplified by a motivation to remain in Australia as a permanent resident.

Broad cultural knowledge

International students can bring a significant amount of differentiation to an organisation. Their exposure to different cultures can be an advantage, especially if they can offer advice or insight on how to target a foreign market. There might be workplace practices from overseas that can be implemented, or perhaps an alternative way to look at how to measure success.

Inclusive workforce

A diverse staff is good for corporate culture. Seeing that a company has a mixture of genders and ages from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds is encouraging not only for prospective interns and employees but for clients, customers and the general public. 


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