You may have read our post last week on evaluating an internship abroad vs. a study abroad experience. If you decided the internship abroad might be right for you, or if you have an internship abroad lined up, keep reading.
Did you know that many employers will consider you more valuable if you’ve had a successful internship abroad? Living and working abroad through an internship program has no substitute in terms of the rich cultural experience and professional knowledge you gain while still a student. But while the benefits of interning abroad can be priceless for your future prospects, the struggle is real for many interns who want to make the most out of the opportunity. Power through your internship abroad with these 10 ways to scale up your overall internship experience.
- Don’t Get Stuck With Preconceptions
While it’s good to research about your internship destination, never let your preconceptions get in the way of what an actual experience can teach you. From climate to local diet, there are certainly a lot of things you should try to know before you arrive. However, it’s important to distinguish between researching and experiencing. You want to come fully prepared for your internship, but be open enough for new encounters to enrich your knowledge and understanding of the whole experience.
- Be Flexible with Your Comfort Zone
Be flexible and always try to take advantage of everything about your internship experience. Before you know it, you’ll be back home with your old setup and feel a bit regretful for not making the most out of your overseas internship. We all have a comfort zone, but guarding yourself within that zone will not teach you anything new. Instead, say yes as often as you can to opportunities. When you find yourself bored while sitting alone in your room at night, you know that you’re not being open enough. Go out, adapt to the environment, and sleep each night feeling tired yet fulfilled for making the most out of your experience.
- Treat Your Internship Like Your Dream Job
Treat your paid internship abroad as you would your full-time and permanent dream job. Your internship is one of the most important experiences that can dictate whether or not you’ll be successful in your career. Learn the details of your internship and be responsible at all times. The experience might make you feel intimidated at first, but you’ll soon feel like everything is part of your system if you commit to the program.
- Exceed Your Personal Best
Interning abroad is a great opportunity to go beyond your capacities. Try to exceed even your own expectations by showing initiative and working hard. Appropriately make suggestions and be insightful in your participation. Remember that this is your chance to not only prove yourself to others but also to tell yourself that you can be more than what you think.
- Keep a Tight Grip On Your Budget
Your summer internship abroad is about gaining experience more than about earning and spending money. Stick to the basics and keep a tight grip on your budget. Treat your allowance or pocket money as the means to enrich your work experience and not to satisfy your “need” for shopping and eating in all the local restaurants. Your expenses can likely be quite high since you’re not yet used to the ins and outs of living in an unfamiliar place. Be mindful of your budget so you won’t end up impaired with dwindled funds.
- Say it Like the Locals Do
Depending on the terms of overseas internships and scholarships, you may be required to speak the native language to a certain degree of fluency. Other programs may simply require you to use English in communicating. Whatever the case may be, it’s wise to try your best in improving your proficiency in the native language. Language is a wonderful tool that allows you to experience a new perspective of looking at things and expressing your thoughts. The fact that you will be immersed in the routine of local life should alleviate your fear that learning the native language would be difficult. The situation is ideal to “force” yourself to learn the native language and reap all the benefits.
7. Concentrate on the Now
True, there will be moments when you will miss home terribly. But try to live in the moment of your internship experience. Homesickness is something unavoidable, but it’s a natural feeling that you can transform into something productive. Call home, Skype with your friends, and remain active on social media. However, don’t forget to focus on the now. This is called mindfulness. Sharpen your mindfulness by doing practical things like focusing on the sight, sound, smell, and feel of your surroundings and actions. The point is not to dismiss homesickness but to recognize it and shift your focus to your present internship experience.
- Stay on Your Toes with Safety and Health
Be safe and healthy at all times. Know how to get home to your dormitory or apartment the first thing when you arrive. Always have with you the contact details of your emergency person. In regards to health, it’s important that you try to stay healthy so you can meet the demands of your internship. Try to eat more fruits and vegetables to boost your immune system so you’re less likely to call in sick or miss a weekend gathering with your colleagues.
- Respect the Colors of Cultural Diversity
You’re internship or study abroad program is one of the wonderful outcomes of globalization. Living in a global community increases interaction among peoples and inspires the flow of cultural exchange. There are differences between studying and interning abroad, but both fundamentally rely on meeting and understanding new experiences. Being open to cultural diversity is a vital requirement to succeed in your internship abroad. Respect the country’s business etiquette and core values to open your mind to the best learning experiences.
- Keep Track of Your Journey
Time flies, and you may soon forget all of your wonderful experiences if you don’t document your journey. Take as many photos as possible. Focus not just on sites or objects, but also on the people you meet along the way. Feel free to document your internship experience on social media. You can also write a journal and take note of your accomplishments. This way, it’s easier to recollect your memories and keep track of your exciting journey.
With these ways on how to scale up your internship abroad, you sure can reach greater heights and gain a rich, first-hand work experience. There will be challenges in your journey, no doubt about it, but the knowledge and network you take with you, as well as your dedication to learning from the program, are priceless benefits that will certainly increase the value of future professional success.
When it comes time to booking a cheap student flight to get to your internship abroad location, be sure to start your search on StudentUniverse.