An internship abroad experience is all about improving your professional qualifications, unlocking new job opportunities, and of course, having fun. It allows you to grow not only professionally, but also as an individual while assimilating into a new culture. However, you’ll probably need a little plan of action to properly allocate time for learning and having fun. It may appear challenging at first, but there’s plenty of time to do both! We’ve prepared a few tips on how to get your internship off to a good start:
Before you start your internship experience
When you begin to apply for an international internship, you need to go through your resume and write a strong motivation letter for the company you are applying for. Sometimes interns tend to neglect the second one, but we can assure you that with a good motivation letter, your chances of getting a job will rise significantly. Look on the internet for the demanded skill set of the internship in your chosen career field, and try to fix your resume according to it.
Consider including in your resume such things as your:
- transferable skills
- languages you speak
- recommendation letters.
This might be a clue about how to get the attention of an international company. We would also advise you to check whether your university provides you with the possibility of internship programs that could help you find financial support in situations when there are no paid internships available. After you have checked through those tips and sent your application, it is time to get ready for an interview. At this point, you will need to make a good first impression and emphasize your skills and hands-on experience. Give the interviewer examples of your accomplishments and demonstrate your enthusiasm for professional development.
Decide on your goals
It is necessary to determine your goals while you are already looking for an internship (potential employers). Consider what you want to improve in yourself and the advantages of an internship abroad. Do not forget that a study abroad program or paid internship in a foreign country is a form of investment that you can later implement in your professional career. It is important to think ahead to ensure that you are motivated and eager to continue learning and actively contributing during the internship. Objectives can be very different, whether they are to develop a desired hard skill, the opportunity to learn a new language and to discover the culture of another country, or just to get out of your comfort zone, to challenge yourself, test your skills, and gain confidence in an international environment.
Choose your country carefully
Moving to a foreign country alone is always a big step to take. There are many things to consider before your actual departure. Keep in mind the differences in local culture, and that is why we should mention research. Interns should get familiar with information about the company, jobs, and projects they will participate in as well as about the country itself. Trust us, the success of the whole work experience will depend on it. The work ethic in each country might have its specifics. That is why working abroad is considered to be a great life-changing experience in each country. Our advice is to look on the internet for more information about the country and its work culture as well.
As an example of the most well-known cultural stereotypes, German work culture is believed to follow strict punctuality rules. Therefore, you would not want to arrive late to your working place on your first day. In case of an emergency, it is always better to call ahead and explain why you will be running late to avoid misunderstandings.
Your behavior and the awareness of such small details could play a huge part in getting on well with your colleagues and will give you a greater chance to present yourself from your best side.
Without a doubt, an international internship is a great opportunity to enjoy the new environment and time abroad as a foreign intern, but there is much more to it! To get the most benefit out of your internship program, we would recommend not to forget to stay active throughout the internship. Try to spend more time talking to your colleagues and other interns, and you’ll see an overall improvement in your communication skills. The first step to a perfect internship is getting out of your comfort zone and making as many networks as you can. Our advice is to constantly keep in touch with your employers and to get acquainted with your supervisor better, as he or she is the number one person to help you out and teach you crucial professional skills.
Ask for feedback
One of the crucial parts of any work environment, without the emphasis on its character, is to get an honest and valuable opinion on your workflow and aspects deriving from it. Your first week at a job will appear like an overall familiarization and adaptation to new environments. For some of you, an internship abroad might be one of your first true experiences in a real work setting. There are a lot of really important things you might learn in the process. While education systems have been forming you towards cooperation and responsibility, internships are usually the best so-called bridges and game-changers in that respect. The stakes rising at work are higher than the ones during your school projects. Working under the conditions of the real world will preview your attitude towards mistakes and failures as well. Your aim is, of course, to excel at any challenge your job will put in front of you, but mistakes are a natural part of work-life, and it’s something that you might not be accustomed to yet. Asking for feedback does not have to include just evaluation of finished work, but also can be focused on your behavior towards the different stages of the project. Just keep in mind that even negative feedback should not demotivate you, but instead you can tackle those new perspectives as a learning opportunity.
Keep a diary
In the hurricane of everything that new opportunities will throw at you, it might be difficult to organize your thoughts and remember all the important things that happened while you were interning abroad. Writing a journal, a diary, or keeping a record in any digital form is a great way to keep up with your daily tasks and be more organized. At the same time, you can use it to write down little details, tricks, and tips about your work, advice from your mentors, and much more. Being an intern abroad will put a great load of responsibilities and duties on your shoulders. That is why it’s going to be much easier to stay organized and to remember important things when you are journaling.
The majority of the previous chapters have only focused on practical aspects of doing internships abroad. Up until this point, it might feel like we are trying to provide a guide on how to be your best working self. That ends right here! While we were talking mostly about the things related to work-life, an internship abroad brings much, much more than that. Taking part in an internship abroad is also a unique opportunity to travel around the world, make new friends, and enjoy those international experiences to the fullest. While you are interning abroad, definitely find time to get to know the locals better, get a taste of some traditional food, and do some sightseeing. Plan yourself a trip for a weekend and ask your colleagues or friends to join, this way you will create lasting memories. These foreign studies represent huge opportunities that should not be taken for granted, and if you are lucky enough to experience them, be sure to make the most of them!
When you complete an internship
Once your internship is coming to an end, there will be a networking opportunity of a lifetime. At that stage, you might be able to secure your future job position in the company or simply attempt to stay in touch with your colleagues and superiors. Nobody knows where life could bring you in the future, and such a great chance to create professional connections can result in a lot of prospects. If you have been successful in finding a common language with your employers, try to use that for your good. The recommendation letter from your internship would be a great asset for your future career search and will help you out dramatically as it shows your potential employers another perspective on your professional expertise, communication, and soft skills.
Another important thing that you will gain at the end of your international internship is the realization of whether you are interested in continuing with the same career goals you have set before, or if there is something new you would be happy to explore and learn.
We hope you will find this post helpful and be ready to make the most of your internship abroad! Now that you’ve taken a step outside your comfort zone, it’s time to seize this new chance with both hands.