A little bit of preparation can go a long way. Getting in the right mindset before embarking on an overseas internship is crucial in terms of maximizing the benefits of what will surely be an experience of a lifetime. Here are some tips on how to do this, based on our experience:
1. Curb Your Internship Expectations
Of course, you want to make a huge impact in the organization you intern with… but the truth is, not all companies (domestic or international) will entrust you to carry out essential tasks right out of the gate. Don’t let that discourage you.
What to do instead: Take it in stride. Show up on time, observe, ask, learn from everything and all those around you as much as you can to take away something meaningful.
2. Get Ready to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
It’s not easy, but be prepared to try things your normal self typically wouldn’t. You’re already undertaking something most people wouldn’t be doing an international internship. Why not go all out and make the best of it all? A common theme from travelers is being really glad they experienced things that they wouldn’t necessarily try under normal circumstances; don’t be afraid to take a page out of their book and be adventurous!
3. Living Arrangements: Be Respectful of Others!
This one may sound funny or even common sense, but take it from us… you don’t want to turn your living arrangements into a nightmare. The people you live with can either be your best friends or your worst enemies; the same goes for your temporary landlord. An easy way to make sure the latter doesn’t happen is to be respectful and considerate of others’ space, privacy, and property. This may be the simplest of our suggestions but trust us… it can go a long way.
4. If There Are Things You Want To Do/See, Make A Few Plans!
It’s unbelievable how fast time flies by in general, let alone when you’re overseas. Set aside some time and maybe a few plans to do all the things you know you definitely want to do. There’s nothing worse than thinking you have all the time in the world. Next thing you know, you’re getting ready to come back home without having the chance to experience all that you wanted.
5. Say No To English (If You’re In A Spanish Speaking Country)!
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to speak English when you return (or whatever your native tongue is if you don’t reside in an English-speaking country). One of the key components of our programs is language acquisition. Resist the urge to speak English, even if your housemates or locals decide to converse in English with you. Practice your Spanish as much as possible! Only by doing this will you maximize your acquisition of Spanish-speaking skills.
If you’re willing to do all of these things, you’re sure to have nothing but a positive experience!
Last updated on 3/19/2020. Original post from 6/2/2015.
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