Are you a home-lover who enjoys being in a familiar environment around friends and family? Fear not. Carrying out an international work placement could be just what you need to break out of your bubble and gain exposure to new environments and cultures. Whilst moving and interning abroad is a daunting prospect for many of us, the experience is invaluable and will certainly stand you in good stead for future job applications.
Here are tips to eliminate 5 common concerns about interning abroad:
1) “I’m worried about the language barrier, I’ll feel lonely”
Immerse yourself in the culture. During your internship abroad, there will be ample opportunity to attend language exchange events, whilst beginning a course will help you improve your confidence when engaging with locals. Needless to say, you will meet many new people from various backgrounds. You will consequently be encouraged to break out of your comfort zone, especially if you work in a foreign language. This will lead to character-building.
2) “I’m afraid of unfamiliar environments away from my friends and family”
Don’t worry. Technology has become so advanced that you will easily be able to keep in touch with family and friends and maintain long-distance relationships. However, you must also seize every opportunity. Explore the city you’re in and make the most of everything it has to offer. Rather than hopping on the metro everywhere, why not go for a stroll and discover hidden areas untouched by tourists? Or, better yet, use your free weekends to travel and familiarize yourself with various landscapes and cultures across the country.
3) “Interning abroad is too expensive”
Apply for grants and funding. Money is always a concern during this process, but with financial help on top of your internship salary, you will be able to fund your travels and sustain yourself. You could even get a student job before starting your internship to set some money aside, ensuring you don’t miss out on an opportunity. This experience will teach you how to manage your finances and budget, which will certainly come in handy when you take on a permanent role.
4) “What if I don’t get on with my colleagues?”
This is highly unlikely. Your company will be excited to have you on board and will appreciate the commitment you have made to leave your country to work for them. To make the best impression, try to always be friendly – a smile and a positive attitude never go unnoticed. Don’t forget to also participate in networking events and expand your professional circle. You will meet many new people in different industries who will introduce you to others. In other words, you will constantly make new connections. You should maintain regular contact, keeping in mind that they could support you in the future or help you boost your CV.
5) “I don’t have what it takes to fit in abroad”
Of course you do. Push your boundaries. You may believe that you already know yourself and your limits, but this mindset can prevent you from achieving your potential. You will be shocked at what you are capable of when you put yourself out there and take risks. You will also gain new skills which will certainly raise your profile in a future job application, whether or not it is in the same sector.