If you’re thinking about doing an international internship you probably have a taste for adventure already. That’s a great start. Now, pair that with an opportunity to build your career, contribute to a better world, and create some amazing experiences with new friends. By interning or volunteering abroad with a non-profit organisation you’ll join the growing number of students and professionals stepping outside their comfort zone and gaining valuable work experience. Here are some foolproof ways to make the most of your internship.
Experience the culture
Hanging out with expats can be tempting, and it’s not bad to spend time exploring with people who share your experience as a foreigner or your country of origin, but don’t miss out on the local people and culture. Embrace the sights, smells, and sounds of your new city and you will not regret it. Challenge yourself to be adventurous, whether it is hiking up Table Mountain in Cape Town or visiting temples in New Delhi. Learn a few words of a local language – the locals will love it. If you’re feeling homesick, getting out and falling in love with a piece of your city is a sure-fire cure. Most importantly, get to know the locals!
Try the local food
It may be a bit intimidating, but venturing out and experimenting with local cuisine is an exciting part of international travel. Ask new friends and co-workers for recommendations and try an exotic meal – you never know, it might just become your new favourite food!
Keep a journal
Living abroad is a great time for self-discovery. Writing your thoughts and experiences in a daily journal will help you record your favourite memories, and you’ll get to look back later and see how your experiences have shaped you. Living in a foreign country broadens your perspective and challenges your ideas, no matter your age. Use this time to explore your interests and re-evaluate your career goals.
Meet with anyone and everyone. An internship abroad provides the opportunity to meet different people from all ages and career stages. During your internship, learn as much about the organisation as possible and get to know your colleagues. Take some time out of your week and chat with a co-worker – ask them how they got started in the industry, and what they would do differently if they could. Sometimes the best advice comes from casual conversations, so make the most of your opportunity to network while abroad.
Whatever you do, embrace this as a time to be stretched and challenged. Enjoy learning and see opportunities for connection and growth . You never know what you may find out about yourself, and who you might meet along the way.
The if i could… programme brings together interns from around the world to participate in meaningful internships in Cape Town and New Delhi. We love helping interns find a home-away-from-home and matching you to your ideal host organisation so we can help you make the most of your time abroad. Find out more about our focus areas and how we can assist you by visiting our website, or get in touch with one of our Programme Coordinators, Leandri, Neha or Alison.