You just got accepted to your dream internship, in a completely different country you are dying to explore. The anticipation can be just as stressful as it is exciting, so what now? Here’s a few tips to guide you through your international experience!
Prior to your departure, remember to:
– find reasonable accommodation (you don’t need anything fancy, be wary of scams)
– learn the language and cultural norms (if applicable)
– set aside extra pocket-money (to go out to eat, buy souvenirs and possibly travelling on your days off)
During your time abroad…
1. Determine clear goals
At your orientation, make sure you determine clear professional goals with your supervisor, so you can look back on your time there and appreciate the growth you’ve experienced. You can also set some personal goals for yourself!
2. Keep an open mind
It’s normal to have expectations, but be open to any opportunities that come your way. Don’t stick to your home-work-home endless cycle. There’s lots to learn about. Get out of your comfort zone, discover some hidden gems of the country and blend in with the locals, you’re in for many surprises.
3. Connect with your coworkers
While your main focus should be on the work you’re responsible for, make sure to take the time to get to know the people you see everyday. Join company events or after-work get-togethers, you could make great friends who contribute to your experience immensely.
4. Network, network, network
New professional relationships can bring you more (international) opportunities for work later on. Actively participate in conversations and be proactive so you’re a memorable intern for the company!
5. Mingle outside of work
There’s more to this experience than your work bubble: neighbours or other people you casually meet who are also your age can make it that much more fun! Leisure time is an important part of your experience. Balance is key!
6. Always have a backup plan
Make safety a priority, have an exit strategy and a way to get home at all times. Memorize a taxi or a friend’s number or the directions to the nearest bus stop. You don’t want to find yourself completely lost, sometimes at weird hours, because all you know is your commute from home to work. Hopefully you’ll never really need this information, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
7. Don’t fear asking for help
No one expects you to just know how everything works from the get go. In order for you to make a significant impact you need to know what you’re doing, no one’s gonna judge you for trying hard to be a good worker!
8. Get letters of recommendation before you leave
This is a very valuable document for future employment opportunities. Not only that, but your superiors will be able to truly reflect on your contribution to their company. It’ll give you the perfect “mission accomplished” feeling.
Ultimately, this will be a unique experience which you have full control over. AIESEC will support you along the way and we wish you the best of luck and success on your international journey!