Kick-starting your career can feel like a huge leap - doing an international internship is a great step up to ease the way. Not only will it give you the chance to explore a new city and culture, but also have a professional purpose. Students can gain real-world experience in their field and shape employable characteristics as they travel.
If you’ve scored an internship abroad then there are many things to be excited about, but also a few challenges you might face. Feeling overwhelmed is perfectly normal - this is a life-changing experience.
To ensure you get every possible opportunity while you intern, check out these five essential tips.
Do Your Research
Before you arrive at your destination, it’s crucial to research the business culture of the place you will be working in. What might be considered offensive in your home country may be perfectly acceptable for your internship. Standards of dress and common courtesy will differ culture to culture, business to business.
Public transport is also important, you want to know in advance where the best accommodation is, how you will commute to and from work and, of course, around the city! Will you live near a supermarket for packed lunches or will your workplace have a cafeteria to purchase from? These questions might seem small now but in the long run they’ll give you peace of mind.
Just Say Yes!
From the first day you step into your new office, be proactive. Maintaining a positive attitude in an unfamiliar environment will show great confidence to your new coworkers and ease the process. As an intern, your role can be filled with a mixture of high-priority and menial tasks. The key is to always be willing to say yes and give the opportunity a go - whether it’s an activity you haven’t tried before or something you’ve previously studied and are already familiar with.
A positive outlook is an invaluable characteristic in any profession and your superiors will praise you for it. This is not the time to be shy, so say yes to every challenge and responsibility you’re offered and see what happens!
Be A Little Curious
Interning abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in both your professional and personal life. Soaking up every aspect of your travels means not only accepting the tasks given to you but asking questions to learn more. Take a step away from your hesitance and seize the day! After all, this is what you came for.
Questions can be about anything from the business to local customs and the best places to eat. Sure, a map can show you where everything is, but it's people that will be able to tell you where you should go. Some of the best memories you’ll have will be Friday night drinks with your coworkers or an impromptu breakfast with your roommates.
Use Your Education
Securing an international internship is often the next step for a graduate or senior student. It is the ideal opportunity to put theory into practice with a global skill-set. Whether you have completed a university degree, TAFE course or short course, the lessons learnt in the classroom become more important outside it.
Time management, teamwork, research and analysis are fundamental abilities cultivated at the desk and used in working life around the world. If you are ever in doubt, think back to these core principles and use them to guide you in your work ethic.
Network With Everyone
Networking will take many different forms through the duration of your internship. Professional networking to build connections with your colleagues, personal networking when you make life-long friends outside of your role. As companies continue to expand globally and demand for a diverse skill set grows, the contacts you make abroad will become increasingly valuable. Even a mutual follow on LinkedIn can come in handy, so always make the effort to be friendly with the new people you meet.
Networking is also a key method to transition into a different culture. A friendly and personable approach will see you form true friendships with a diverse range of people. Never underestimate the power of a familiar face on your lunch break or a friend to walk you home. Life in a new city will always be a challenge, even if you speak the local language. Local residents will give you the best tips and experiences to truly immerse yourself.
Travel on your days off to see more of the city, the countryside and every landmark in your scrapbook! A day spent exploring will clear your mind ready for the week ahead.
While you are interning, consider enrolling in a short course related to your field. This is the perfect opportunity to learn within your time constraint and meet like-minded people.
Keep in contact with home. When you’re caught up in the excitement of a new life abroad it can be easy to forget those you left behind, who can always offer valuable advice on any problems.
Caroline Schmidt writes the blogs for Kangan Institute. She is passionate about education, careers, and giving advice to students of all ages.
Published on by AI.