7 reasons to do an internship in South America
Wondering what it’s like to do an internship in South America? Ginna, a student at UNC Chapel Hill and an alumna of The Intern Group’s Colombia program recommends the following 7 reasons to do an internship in Colombia.
1. The country is wonderful
This is a city that is innovative, growing, rich in culture, and friendly, which is what the world should begin to recognize Colombia for. Many of the people I talked to about my internship would look worried when I told them where I was going. They all told me to be extra careful because the Colombia they have heard of is extremely dangerous. The taxi driver who picked me up from the airport told me that his favorite part about being with foreigners was when he would drop them off the airport at the end of their visit to Colombia and they would all be in tears. They did not want to leave such a beautiful country and they would promise him that they would be back to discover more and to engage in a deeper way with the loving people of Medellin. Colombia is the perfect place for an internship in South America.
2. You’ll learn and improve Spanish
There is no better way to learn a language than to completely immerse yourself in it with an internship in South America. Yes, it is scary and you do not want to be made fun of, but from personal experience I can tell you that I was able to greatly improve my Spanish. Colombians like to joke (in a friendly way) so they will help you and correct you. My coworkers from my internship with Bancolombia corrected me daily, which really helped me improve. If you are open to corrections and a few jokes about your mistakes, I can guarantee that your Spanish will definitely improve at your internship in Colombia.
3. You’ll become independent
You will break out of your comfort zone and become more independent the moment you step off the plane for your internship in South America. After The Intern Group’s orientation it is up to you to decide how to manage your time, how to get to your internship, what to eat, etc. I would wake up at 6am to go to work, arrive at 7:30am and work until 5:30. When I got back I either had to cook food or decide what to eat with friends.
4. The food is amazing
Colombia does a great job of truly upholding the saying “farm to table” and when you taste the food you will understand why. The best part of everything that I ate in Colombia was how fresh and flavorful the food was. Every street corner in Medellin has a variety of fruit that you probably have never seen in the United States. For savory needs, an arepa with cheese, which is a common dish there, will satisfy your tastebuds. I asked my coworkers at Bancolombia for places to eat and dishes to try. I got very close to one of my coworkers and she took me on a food tour where we spent the whole day driving, sightseeing, and eating. You will not be disappointed with the food at all during your internship in Colombia! If you’re vegetarian there are also plenty of options for you too.
5. It’s easy to travel
Colombia is tied (along with Argentina) for the country with the most holidays, which tells you that Colombians enjoy their long weekends, which is a great opportunity to travel. When I arrived in June the following three Mondays were holidays so I was able to get a group together and make plans for each weekend. Some plans were just to explore Medellin more and go to some of its historic sites. One of the weekends, we planned a trip to the coffee region. We had a small private van for the nine of us, spent time at a cute homey cabin in the mountains, picked and tasted amazing coffee, and learned more about another region of Colombia. There is so much beauty here that there will not be enough time to see all of it during your internship in South America. So get ready to pack your bags for the weekend and go see what this beautiful country has to offer!
6. It will boost your resume
I was beyond excited when I found out that I was going to intern at Bancolombia, but at the same time terrified because I did not have a single clue about the banking and finance world. I was studying political science and learning about the effects of globalization in lectures. From the first day, I met my team I began to learn and was exposed to the various departments, divisions, and assignments. The finance sector is much more complicated than I thought and I learned it revolves around our everyday lives. I was given tasks to do research on future banking, millennials, translated PowerPoints for executives of MasterCard, and even took part in the innovation of paying with Bancolombia bracelets. Along with all of this, The Intern Group gave me the opportunity to intern as a translator at Colombiamoda the largest fashion show in Latin America. There was so much experience and new skills that I added to my resume through my experience interning in Colombia. Appreciate every opportunity at your internship as a something valuable for your future.
7. You’ll make lifelong friends
The most amazing part of my experience with The Intern Group was the incredible people that I met. When I was preparing to leave I was not expecting to make lifelong friends. Honestly, all I wanted was to have good flat mates. Luckily, I was able to get both. I got along really well with the two girls I lived with and we would cook together, explore the city, and travel together too. On the first day I arrived, I shared a taxi with another new intern and after our small talk we exchanged numbers to meet the next day. She turned into one of my best friends and even now with different time zones and thousands of miles apart, we keep in contact through WhatsApp. My coworkers at Bancolombia were some of the greatest people to hang out with both at work and out. They made me laugh every day and made it worth getting to work at 7:30 in the morning. They took me out to eat, dance, helped me get my hair done, shop, and even went to a national soccer match. I would stay late at the office just to spend time with them. It was hard coming back but I am still in contact with them and we are planning to meet up in the States within the next year. These people will forever remain in my heart, and I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone so you can meet some truly amazing interns and Colombians. You will not regret it!
Now that you know Ginna’s 7 reasons to do an internship in South America, apply now.
Content and photos by Ginna Suarez.