Widely recognized as one of the most competitive industries, you will need all you can muster to successfully break into a career in the performing arts. One way of ensuring that you stand out is by participating in an internship abroad!

What are the benefits of a performing arts internship abroad?

There are numerous articles out there that talk about the value and multitude of benefits that come from internships and study abroad programs in general. However I would like to refer to a great article by Penny Loretto. Penny is a great resource as she has:

  • 20 years of experience in human resources, career counseling, and internship advisement
  • Is Associate Director in the Career Development Center at a Skidmore College
  • Has her own career counseling practice, Career Choice
  • Is a licensed career counselor

Penny Loretto says that “Not only is the academic component of doing an internship abroad important, interning abroad will also lead to personal life enrichment and fulfillment that will ultimately stay with you for the rest of your life.”

She advises that an internship abroad will offer the following opportunities:

  • The ability to gain international experience along with the knowledge and skills you will learn on the job.
  • A chance to network with professionals working in another part of the world.
  • Learn more about what it takes to be successful working in another country.
  • Increase your marketability as an internship abroad adds great value on a resume.
  • A chance to get a job offer working in another country.

If you would like to read the full article you can find it here:

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/internships-abroad-provide-enormous-value-to-students-1986542

I would like to take the wise words of this experienced career counselor, and link it to another great article written by Lisa Phillips, who has over 2 decades experience as an arts and leadership educator! Check out the infographic below which shows her 6 reasons on how the arts teach important life skills.

If you listen to the great wisdom shared by both of these highly experienced professionals, you cannot doubt the invaluable opportunity a performing arts internship abroad will provide for vital professional skills development, for any student hoping to gain employment in the competitive global market place today. It would be crazy for any young professional, or student thinking about pursuing a career in the performing arts not to jump at the opportunity, of participating in an international performing arts internship. This is clearly a fool proof recipe for you to set yourself apart from the crowd in the 21st Century.

If you are an educator and looking for great resources take a look at Lisa’s website:

https://theartisticedge.ca/arts-integration-lesson-plans/

What will I need in order to qualify for performing arts internship?

Most performing arts internships and study abroad opportunities for individuals require that you are at least 18 years of age.  There may be some programs or operators, that require you to have, or would give preference to participants with a certain GPA status or require you to have theatre experience. For example Introduction to the London Stage Summer study program offered by performing arts abroad

https://www.performingartsabroad.com/program/introduction-london-stage-summer-study/

However, should you not have these specific requirements or grades, there are operators out there who will offer you an opportunity as long as you have the following attributes as per a great article by wayup experts:

https://www.wayup.com/guide/top-10-skills-employers-want-intern/

Communication

Communication occurs in a variety of ways, but future employers are primarily interested in your ability to write and speak professionally. You have the opportunity to demonstrate your written skills in your resume and cover letter, and your verbal skills as you supply thoughtful answers to the common interview questions you’ll likely be asked. During your interview, you might mention your experience giving oral presentations (which perhaps was required in some of your classes). The ability to communicate effectively — to translate ideas and convey information — is key in any field, whether it’s with your supervisor, coworkers, or clients, and employers are well aware that it is a valuable skill.

Interpersonal

The ability to communicate effectively is often related to one’s ability to relate well to others, or “people skills.” Depending on the industry, you may be interacting with clients and vendors as well as your co-workers and managers. It’s important to be able to build and maintain relationships and be the kind of person team members want in the office with them every day. Interpersonal skills are also important because employers seek individuals who can identify the wants and needs of others and who can recognize and acknowledge the value of differing perspectives.

Collaboration

As an intern, you’ll likely collaborate with other interns and company employees. Your ability to communicate and relate well to others is certainly important for collaboration, as is the capacity to work with others toward a common goal. As part of a team, you have to understand your own strengths and weaknesses so you know how you can best contribute, as well as be aware of how you can bring out the best in others.

Time Management

If you’ve managed to successfully take a full course load every semester and meet assignment deadlines, to some extent, you’ve already demonstrated time management skills. But as an intern, you’re not going to have a syllabus to tell you when your deadlines are. It’s up to you to organize your time and produce results. Employers want to know that you can prioritize responsibilities and recognize when it’s appropriate to multitask or focus on one particular project at a time.

Adaptability

Today’s work culture — whether you’re hoping to intern for a startup or well-established organization — often requires even the most senior level executives to wear multiple hats. As an intern, one day you might find yourself supporting the sales team and the next day performing customer service. While you may have an interest in a particular aspect of an industry, a willingness to become familiar with the different parts of an organization is definitely viewed as an asset (and also increases your exposure within the company).

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking refers to your ability to analyze and evaluate a situation or issue and form a judgment. The tendency to think critically can be demonstrated by a willingness to ask questions in order to understand an issue from all possible angles, and to pose creative solutions to challenges. It’s something many of your professors have likely emphasized and is highly valued by employers.

Research and Analysis

If you’ve completed any research papers or projects for your coursework (and you likely have), you already have experience with research and analysis. Don’t be shy during your interview for an internship; make it a point to bring up the empirical research you performed for your psychology class and the conclusions you came to about how your fellow students make purchasing decisions in the campus bookstore. As a new member of the organization, you’ll be hit with a lot of new information, and your ability to process that information is a testament to your ability to fulfill whatever role you’re assigned.

Initiative

You’ve applied for an internship to gain knowledge of an industry and professional experience, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to offer. During your interview, highlight instances where you’ve taken it upon yourself to contribute or positively affect change. Your potential employer will appreciate the chance to bring someone on board who doesn’t have to wait to receive direction for every task, and who’s willing to assist others with their work.

Receptiveness

While taking initiative is important, so is the ability to receive feedback. For example, if you’re asked about a time you made a mistake, you can mention the feedback you received regarding the error and how you responded to it. Your interviewer will want to know that you’re willing and able to address any weaknesses.

Technical Proficiency

You certainly won’t be expected to be an expert in whatever platform the company you’re applying to uses, particularly if you’re hoping to intern for a company within a highly specialized industry. But you should know your way around a computer, and your ability to navigate basic productivity software will likely be presumed.

The above are commonly identified skills that employers seek in interns, as well as applicants for entry-level jobs. Be sure to research your particular industry and familiarize yourself with other skills or character traits that may be desirable in your field.

What can I expect from a performing arts internship abroad?

The performing arts is all about telling stories and hearing stories and each society has a unique story to tell! You can expect to hear unique stories and experience a glimpse of unique cultures and their particular idiosyncrasies. Be prepared to embrace cross – cultural collaboration and open yourself up to a labyrinth of wonder and opportunity!

Many courses offer accreditation so you can utilize this experience not only to develop your practical skills and give you hands on experience but also to earn course credit. The hands on experience and networking opportunities you will gain on this kind of internship will enhance your resume and working potential, which is crucial in what is known as one of the most cut throat industry out there.

The performing arts is an interesting and unique tool for enhancing early childhood development and addressing critical social issues. In a performing arts internship abroad you can expect to delve into the endless possibilities of using this unique medium to educate youth on important topics and create awareness accross diverse societies. See an example of how an internship abroad utilizes the arts to enhance early childhood development

Where are the best places to go?

There are performing arts internships offered in many countries including South America, Europe and Africa. Whether you are looking for a London West End experience or want to practice your Spanish or gain a deeper understanding for African culture and the positive impact the performing arts can have on marginalized communities there is something out there for you! If you are looking for a competitively priced, high quality performing arts internship which includes mentorship, course work and incorporates the arts  for facilitating social change this program ticks all the boxes

https://www.gooverseas.com/study-abroad/south-africa/program/241105

How much will it cost?

Cost will vary from anywhere between USD3000 to USD6500 depending on the duration of the program where it is located and what is included. Generally, programs in Africa fall on the more affordable scale of the spectrum and programs in London on the higher end.

The majority of programs will include food, accommodation, transport and instructors or mentors. However be sure to check the terms and conditions and what has been included and excluded from prices so that you do not land up with unexpected costs that you did not budget for.

Meryl Streep one of the greatest performing artistists of all time says “Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similiarity in what is apparantly different, then finding myself in there.”

What are you waiting for come and find yourself in something and some place different….

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