Study Results: The Impact of European Internships on Students’ Transferable Skills

July 23 , 2019

It is a frequently asked question, and one that is typically difficult to provide a fact-based answer: “What is the impact of interning or studying abroad?”

When we searched for research based on the perceived impact of these experiences on students, we were met with limited to no results. That’s when we decided to conduct our own exploratory research study into the topic.

Through our qualitative data collection of students who interned in Europe, we illustrate the impact of working in an international setting through true stories of real students’ experiences. These stories display how an educational abroad experience affected their life and career trajectory.

We compared this data to responses of students who had studied abroad to gauge the differences in opinions between those who interned abroad and those who studied abroad.

For our research we conducted an online survey through a convenience sample of people who had traveled with 4.0 Tours and Bus2alps between 2002 and 2018. All of the data and findings are the proprietary intellectual property of 4.0 Tours, Bus2alps AG.

We were honored to present out findings at the 2019 NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo this past May in Washington, D.C.

European Internship Impact Survey 2019

Survey Sample

Below you’ll find the high level statistics on the survey sample. All survey responses were completely anonymous.

Number of Responses: 285

Percentage who interned in Europe: 42%

Percentage who studied abroad in Europe: 52%

Unqualified*: 6%

*Respondents who responded “No” to both studying abroad and interning abroad.

European Internships By The Numbers

The following statistics are an overview of the responses of the survey who completed an internship in survey.

Length of Internship

  1. 2 – 3 months – 63%
  2. 4-6 months – 28%
  3. Less than 1 month – 8%

Internship Location

  1. Italy – 59%
  2. The UK – 14%
  3. Spain – 13%

Findings and Insights

Participants were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 the impact their internship abroad had on their transferable skills. 1 being little impact to 5 being a large impact.

Participants were also asked to rate their agreement to a series of statements, 1 being strongly disagree, 3 being neutral and 5 being strongly agree. The statements varied from how they felt the experience benefited their development to their enjoyment of the experience.

Respondents who interned abroad responded that their experience had a larger impact related to their future career and employment than those who had only studied abroad.

For a full breakdown of responses and comparison to the study abroad responses, download the free research report below.

For more information about the study, please contact us.

The Impact of Internships in Europe on Students’ Transferable Skills

The European Internship Study 2019 compares the impact of studying abroad and interning abroad in Europe on the development of students’ transferable skills and their life and career trajectory.


Sammi DiBacco

Sammi DiBacco