In search of new horizons and brighter career prospects, Robin and Aafke took the plunge to work abroad. The budding radiographers set sail from the Netherlands to Denmark, with their sights firmly set on an internship.
Overseas placements are a growing trend among many young people hoping to weather the economic storm by travelling to pastures new and picking up invaluable life skills along the way.
“Companies are looking for people with life experience. When you do an internship abroad, you develop more than in your own country,” explains Robin.
Aafke continues: “I think because I have an internship in another country, they can see I can adapt to another culture and country. It’s good for your resume.”
Rouzbeh, a 31-year-old engineer from Iran is in the same boat as thousands of others. He has just completed a Masters degree in Sweden, now he has finished, he is heading off to Denmark for an internship.
So do the Danes offer a more promising forecast for skilled jobhunters? Rouzbeh certainly thinks so: “In Denmark there is an open door for me to get in and prosper and develop my self.”
Our three intrepid students enrolled on Erasmus Student Mobility for Placements, a programme which gives them the chance to sample life abroad whilst totting up practical experience on their CVs.
A good bedside manner is crucial when working in a hospital and speaking the same language as the natives is a must.
As part of his internship, Robin has learned to speak Danish, a skill that will bolster his employability and help put his patients at ease: “Very old patients don’t speak English. It is good to talk their mother tongue. They feel more secure and safe when they are spoken to in their mother language.”
While private corporations can be hesitant over taking on foreign interns, this hospital is all for welcoming student exports but would they employ them?
Kim Johansen, Diagnostic Department Manager, gives his view: “If I had nobody else to hire I would be very open to hire a student from another country, after he finishes his education because I think it’s very valuable to have different aspects and different points of view to see how they solve a problem and how they are trained.”
It is fair to say, the culture shock from going to live in Denmark, is minimal. However, while both countries have a lot in common, the experience of living in a foreign country with lots of little differences, gives interns the chance to develop in all sorts of ways.
Aafke is one student who does not want to travel too far from home: “If there is a possibility to go outside Holland and there are job opportunities of course I will look into it but not too far, in Germany or Denmark because I am already here.”
For Roozbeh, getting any kind of European experience under his belt is worthwhile.
At the moment, he is interning at the Danish Building research Institute, working on ventilation and energy saving projects.
The institute has close ties with the building industry and regularly takes on students from foreign countries.
Rouzbeh talked to euronews about the benefits of internships in Europe: “I don’t have any job experience in Europe but with this institute which has correlation with industries and companies, I can get to know the work environment in Europe so I can increase my chances of getting a job.”
From 2010-2011, more than 40,000 higher education students did traineeships abroad within the Eramus for Enterprise Programme.
In 2014 the European Commission plans to launch ‘Erasmus for All’, a new programme which should give five million people the opportunity to study or work abroad. So if you don’t want to miss the boat, sign up to embark on new adventures abroad.