4 Sentences And A Resume: A Guide to Landing An Internship Abroad

Friday morning views from Hibox HQ in Barcelona

It was December 16th and I had just arrived home from Boston for a few days at home. I hadn’t seen my family in months and the last thing I wanted to think about was the internship hunt. I had hustled for two summers working at a pretty large company in the Atlanta area, where I already had an offer to return for a third summer. I was pretty complacent about the entire situation. I figured if some other internship didn’t miraculously land in my lap, I was just going to go back to Atlanta. After all, it was a great job, I was paid well, and I had saved quite a bit of money. On paper, I had the perfect scenario.

My mother is a keen observer; deeply aware and always in crystal clear communication with my inner-voice. She could sense something was up. I have this morning ritual with my mother of going to grab coffee at our favorite shop on the corner of our street. On our walk, she asked me how I was doing. I was used to this kind of questioning — so it goes as the child of a former lawyer. Our conversation bounced from school to swimming to summer plans. This was just the conversation I didn’t want to have and I resisted it like a cat taking a bath. I will never forget what she told me in that conversation.

“You could go to Barcelona for the summer for all I care, just cast your net wide and see what sticks.” I took that very literally.

The next day, I began the task of reaching out to companies abroad, one at a time to see if any of them would take a chance on me. Whether you’re a passionate business student looking for a change of pace, a talented software engineer with an itch to escape the American start-up hype, or an enthusiastic liberal arts student looking for that first internship experience, I want to show you step-by-step how I landed my summer internship at Hibox in Barcelona.

1. Searching F6S, AngelList, and Crunchbase

There are so many databases out there that track startups around the world. My personal favorite is F6S because it has the largest visible database of international startups — not to mention, it’s FREE. After you create an account, which you can quickly do by logging in with Facebook or Twitter, you’re up and going. The easiest way to search is to go to the “Finding a Startup Job” tab.

On the F6S, searching for international startups is very easy because you can filter your search results by location. In my case, I filtered by startups in Barcelona.

2. Selecting a Startup

Finding a credible startup is key if you’re going to take the risk and move for a few months to a different country. For me, Hibox caught my eye because they had a thorough description of their product, it had a founder listed on their profile, and most importantly, they had links to their other social channels.

I explored their various social media accounts and found recent posts on Facebook and Instagram. I also visited their website to see if their product had been launched. To me, Hibox was the real deal.

3. Getting in contact

There are many ways to get in contact with people thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I chose to try to find one of the founders emails in order to appear more professional and personable. I began email hunting by looking at LinkedIn to confirm that the founder listed on F6S was still with the company.

After confirming his name, I used Rapportive to guess and check to see if his email was associated with a LinkedIn account. For startups, this proves to be a pretty easy task. The founders often use the FIRSTNAME@DOMAIN email format. As soon as I confirmed his email, I was set.

4. Reaching out is as easy as four sentences and a resume

Many people get stuck at this step. This is where people second guess their decision. Do I want this? Is this even going to happen? Are they even going to respond? I was stuck for a moment as well. I was unsure of what to say, but I included the email I sent as a reference for all of you reading.

Four sentences and a resume got me a response the next morning and an interview two weeks later. The rest of process was pretty standard. I had a Skype interview and a few weeks later I received my offer letter.

(EDIT: Visa requirements in Spain are pretty lax coming from the United States. Since I’m here for under 90 days, I qualify for an automatic visa in coordination with the Schengen Agreement.)

I’m wrote this article from my desk at the end of my second week on the job. I couldn’t be happier with having the opportunity to speak my Spanish (I’m of Cuban descent, so my mother often communicates with me in Spanish), doing a job where I know I’m having an immediate impact, and connecting with co-workers from around the world (Brazil, Germany, France, and Argentina to name a few).

I’m now exactly 6 months removed from that conversation with my mother and Barcelona has proven to live up to its name as the best city in the world.

For those of you reading this, I want to hear from you: Have you ever considered an internship abroad? If so where? OR Have you done an internship abroad before? How did you land it? Where did you work?

Some context: Hibox is a powerful collaboration platform that fully integrates team messaging, task management & videoconferencing in the same app. Hibox is growing fast with more than 10,000 companies signed up, 35,000 active users and +300 paying companies just 8 months after initial launch.

If you enjoyed this article, like, comment, share it, republish it! Follow me on LinkedIn or drop me an email if you have any additional comments or questions: agrant4@babson.edu.