Published on September 7, 2015

10 tips for balancing your wanderlust with internship responsibilities

Balancing internship work and sightseeing can be tricky while abroad. You want to see the world, you have a list of thousands of must see places - but you also know you need to take care of business. That's why a little preparation can go a long way in making your internship abroad both an adventure of a lifetime and a professionally enriching experience.


must see places


1) Do your homework

Before you even arrive at your internship destination, buy a travel guide and study up on the places you want to see. Then make a list of the places that most interest you. Make sure to group together sites that are in the same city.


2) Prioritize

The best thing to keep in mind when you're planning to see the sights, is that you won't be able to see everything. There just isn't enough time and you'll drive yourself crazy if you cram too many sights into too little time. So try to flag your favorite things you read about so you can focus on getting those done first.


3) Make a calendar

Now that you know your top places you want to visit, you can start planning out your weekends. Ask your colleagues about local national holidays so you can figure out if you have any three-day weekends. Use that extra time to visit places further away from where you're living. While setting up a calendar make sure to check opening and closing times.


must see places


4) See sights by location

Grouping together sights based on their location is a great way to use your time wisely. That way you aren't wasting time on transportation from one area to another. Pick a neighborhood for a day and then see everything you can in that time.


5) Don't try to fit in too much

The last thing you want is for travel and sightseeing to feel like work so don’t overbook yourself. It's more about having a quality experience than seeing a large quantity of sights. Moreover, you don't want to be so tired from seeing so many sights over the weekend that it's taking away from the quality of your work.


6) Start your weekends early

Don't waste your precious morning hours sleeping in. Take advantage of every second you have off work. Wake up early so you can see as much as possible in your limited stay in a foreign country. You can stay up late watching Netflix when you're back in your home country.


must see places


7) Save big trips for later

Your few first weeks in the office will likely be a challenge. Don't stress yourself out further by trying to plan out an elaborate trip at the beginning of your stay. It's important to pace yourself and perhaps plan trips out of the city later on in your internship period.


8) Be smart about your meals

Eating meals out at restaurants can be a big time (and money) waster. To fit in more during your weekend, bring a packed lunch so you can eat quickly on your way to another sight.


9) Be sneaky

See if there are any cool sights in a short walking distance from your work. Eat a quick sandwich and then head that direction during your lunch break. It's like a little mini-vacation.


10) Get your rest

Not getting enough sleep will make your work at your internship suffer, not to mention you won't enjoy traveling as much if you're tired. Get the recommended eight hours of sleep as much as possible. It will make your waking hours much more enjoyable and efficient.



Photo 1. based on Hiking, Tromso, by Gunnar Hildonen, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. based on Calendar*, by Dafne Cholet, CC-by-2.0

Photo 3. based on Quinta de los Molinos, by uchiuska, CC-by-ND2.0

The author
Elizabeth Trovall
After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her third year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.

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