I’m assuming most of you have caught onto the fact that this is the last semester of my Master’s degree. Just last week I sat my final lecture and all that remains is a group project, two finals, and my Master Thesis. As I do not have the luxury of a full bank account to take a break after my degree to do some traveling or sit on a beach, I’ve been spending a hug chunk of my time looking to start my career.
I have been applying to positions all over the world, and while I knew visa’s in some countries could be an issue, I didn’t anticipate the particular issue I’ve been having. Despite having been working since I was 18, many of the firms and the types of positions I’m applying to don’t consider any of my prior work as applicable experience which means that to them, I’m applying without any experience. Unfortunately for me, this seems to indicate that I should be looking to internships to get a foot in the door of these firms as opposed to the full time positions that my peers with relevant work experience are confidently applying to.
The problem is that many places are unable to sponsor a visa for interns. In most countries, the way working visa’s are granted is that the firm has to prove that there is no local labor able to complete the work and therefore they have to look outside of their country to fill the position. That automatically make obtaining a foreign working visa difficult because, in reality, most countries would be able to fill all of their positions with local labor if they wanted to.
But also, it makes it especially difficult for internship positions because even if they require a specific body of knowledge or education, they are still, on some level, consider unskilled/entry level work. This means that, to the government, anyone could fill the position and therefore they would basically never grant a working visa for an internship.
I am greatly generalizing and some countries are worse than others but the whole “unable to find the skills” argument is only one of the hurdles faced when attempting to intern abroad. Time limits are also a big factor with some countries not granting visas long enough to complete some of the longer internships available or some countries unwilling to grant visa’s for internships because they are too short.
Basically, what I am trying to say is that while job hunting internationally is hard, internship hunting internationally seems to be harder. Like I said before, I’m in this weird limbo between being qualified for full time positions based on my education but only being qualified for internships based on what each firm considers applicable work experience.
I know that the industries that I am most interested in working in are exasperating this problem but I’m also not quite ready to be looking at other career paths yet. Give me a few more months without positive signs and I’ll be ready to expand my application range. But for now, I have not given up hope that someone, somewhere in the world will see what I have to offer and give me a chance. Hopefully for my bank account and student loan’s sake, that chance is a full time position and not an internship. But hey, a foot in the door is a foot in the door and I’m confident I can make the most out of whatever situation I’m presented.