Numerous studies show that completing an internship during undergraduate helps students find a job upon graduation. For those interested in the field of Internet Technology (IT), the likely thought is to apply to the many opportunities in Silicon Valley. But San Francisco is not the only city with a thriving technology hub. There are places all over the world where students can gain insight, experience, and mentorship while learning all about the field of IT.

For students not entirely sure about interning in Silicon Valley, consider these five cities instead.

1. Chicago, USA

From 2012-2016 alone, Chicago crated 37,370 tech jobs and still has even more job positions to fill with roughly 4,300 more tech jobs than graduates in the city. In 2016, Chicago startups received $1.7B in funding and saw 55 exits, making it a record-breaking year. Plus, Chicago has highest VC returns through fewer deals than any other tech hub in the country. There are also many high-profile companies in the city such as Salesforce, CareerBuilder, Orbitz, and Groupon.

Chicago has a strong culture, making it a unique city compared to Silicon Valley. Companies in Chicago that hire IT interns include Ascent, Signal, and 4C.

2. Toronto, Canada

Named the most diverse city in the world in 2016, Toronto has much to offer for interns. Toronto Life surveyed startups and technology companies in the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor, and 55% said the city rivals Silicon Valley’s tech scene. Over 30% said they work 50-60 hours and the majority (more than 50%) of respondents said they slept for 40-50 hours per week. Many companies in San Francisco encourage longer hours in the office, making Toronto a city with an arguably better work-life balance for IT professionals.

Toronto-based companies have a strong global connection and can build and scale diverse teams, given the city’s population. There are over 15,000 technology companies, so interns looking for a position in IT should have no trouble finding one. Companies in the city that often hire IT interns include OMERS Ventures, Kinetic, and SapientRazorfish.

3. Medellin, Colombia

This city of eternal spring has received a lot of attention lately as it becomes an up-and-coming technology hub in Latin America. The Economist even named Colombia its country of the year in 2016. The city has dedicated $389 million over ten years to improving innovation and technology in Medellin, and the results of this initiative are beginning to show. Smaller than the country’s capital Bogota, Medellin has a close-knit entrepreneurial community that is willing to help get businesses off the ground.

The cost-of-living in cheaper in Medellin than many US cities and interns can stretch their dollars far here. There are 1,800 software development and IT service companies registered in Colombia, many of them located in Medellin. IT interns should check out companies such as  Pygmalion, Ubidots, and Medea Interactiva. Fluent Spanish is not always a requirement, especially for internships, as many locals speak English.

4. Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is a massive technology hub and is close to beating out rival Sydney in tech scene popularity. The city was actually crowned Australia’s “tech capital” in 2017 when the city released its four-year Startup Action Plan, which lays out a vision and practical steps to help Melbourne become the number one destination for startups to grow.

The city has a very creative culture, making it an ideal place to work. 99designs famously started here, which is no surprise as the local government often helps with rebates and research and development grants. The state in which Melbourne resides, Victoria, has a robust information and communications technology industry and through it, employs 91,300 people directly. Interns looking for IT companies in the city should look at Beyond 19, Digital Investment Group, and Your Creative.

5. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is home to startup success stories such as eDreams and Wallapop and a wealth of VC firms, coworking spaces, accelerators, and incubators. EU Startups named Barcelona as the fifth biggest startup and innovation hub in Europe. The city is more affordable than its other European counterparts and has a strong international culture. Organizations such as Barcelona tech city help entrepreneurs and technology enthusiasts in the region find resources and get off the ground. The city hosts important events such as Mobile World Congress and IoT World Congress and is well located in terms of flight travel. IT intern seekers should check out Letgo, TravelPerk, and Ubeeqo.

Those looking for IT internships should take a proactive approach and reach out to companies or internship organizations to find a spot in one of these five hubs. It can be difficult to land an internship in Silicon Valley, but these five cities offer culture, learning opportunities, and possible future career placements.

David Lloyd

David Lloyd

David Lloyd is the CEO of The Intern Group, an award-winning international internship program.