Home Articles Why companies of all sizes should give international student interns a shot

Why companies of all sizes should give international student interns a shot


There is an overwhelming number of international students in Australia and for most of them, they don’t just come here to study. They want to stay in Australia for longer periods of time and I don’t blame them, we aren’t called the lucky country for nothing.

Any international student will tell you that they don’t know their fate after they finish studying. They don’t know if they will be able to find work and therefore won’t know if they will step closer to gaining permanent residency.

Their concern is reasonable as there are a lot of misconceptions around companies hiring international staff. They feel that they could be giving the job to someone that is a local resident or feel daunted by the thought of cultural challenges in the workplace.

But with 22.3% of students at Australian universities being international students, it’s important that they aren’t disregarded for employment, especially if they are receiving the same education as local students.

The University of Melbourne is the number one ranked university in Australia according to The Times Higher Education Rankings and 28% of their total students hold an international status. International students are certainly intelligent and capable.

Interning and work experience is a growing component of tertiary education and even then, the misconceptions are still prevalent.

Internships are the best segue for international students and graduates to get into the workforce as even though they may have had experience in their original country, it’s experience in Australia that is mostly sought after.

Here’s why companies should give international students and graduates a shot at interning.

They have global knowledge

If Australia wants any chance at being anywhere near as innovative as Silicone Valley, we need to be open to internationals. They have a deep understanding of another country that Australians lack. They know what opportunities are available, the needs and wants of people and have cultural knowledge to make entering that market a breeze.

They are significant in helping achieve global growth, expansion and overcoming any boundaries that might impede success of operating or making a product available in a new country.

International students are more dedicated

With a lot more hanging on the line, international graduates can be more dedicated than their local counterparts. They have the urgency to secure employment as their status and right to be in the country is indefinite.

They also have to work significantly harder than local students to develop a network. They often come to Australia without ample friends or family, so don’t have people available to draw on for employment opportunities or support.

These people really want to work here and maximise life and opportunities in Australia. The Australian Government International Student Survey reports that 78% of international students in higher education say an important factor in selecting Australia as an education destination was the potential to work after study.

International students often want to bring their loved ones over to Australia with them and require jobs and income to be able to do this. Their motivation to do so is usually very high.

They’re perfect for start-ups

Interns can be available to businesses at no cost for a period of 12 weeks and are ideal for early stage businesses.

Although they are unpaid interns, it is not exploitation. Local students and local graduates often complete unpaid internships as a pathway to employment as well.

Start-ups generally lack financial means and resources to hire staff and there are only so many areas of expertise that the founders can have before they require intellect from someone else. The skills of international graduates we’ve previously placed can range from program developers and testers through to accounting and business analysts.

By welcoming an international intern into your workplace, you’re investing in their future.

Gerard Holland is Co-founder of Outcome.Life, a host company channel placing international students and graduates into internships and professional year programs.

gerard holland