A day in the life of an intern abroad – Latin America
Ever wonder what a day at an internship in Colombia is really like? The Intern Group’s 2015 Scholarship Winner Luis Sosa takes us through a normal day at the office at his international business internship in Medellín, Colombia.
7:30 a.m. – I have to be at work at 8 a.m. every day, which means I have to be on my way there no later than 7:40 a.m. I take the bus every day, which is a great opportunity for me to interact with local culture. The ride to work is seven minutes at the most, but as a commuter I know how important it is to give yourself enough time to get to places since there can be a number of factors that could make you late: detours, accidents, traffic jams. Every bus in Medellín is completely different and personalized according to the tastes of the driver. At times it feels like there is a bus beauty pageant and every single bus in the city is a runner up. Each one has different colors, designs and images inside and outside. Most of them have a depiction of some Catholic saint or virgin, which in some cases reflects the religious convictions of the driver. I always get on the buses with aesthetic expectations.
10:30 a.m. – At this point I have had about two and a half cups of coffee. Colombia is known for its coffee, so I feel compelled to drink it. As an avid coffee drinker, every cup is bliss. But then again, getting a cup is an experience in itself. Going to the coffee room is a great opportunity to socialize. That is where I network with the other employees and get to know other people at the company. Plus, as a foreigner, it is during coffee breaks that I get to talk to locals who advise me on what places to visit. If you are interning in another country and you do not have a travel guide, you definitely want to go check out the coffee room. Believe me, it will work.
12:00 p.m. – Lunch is always a good time! I am fortunate enough to have lunch at work every day. We have an awesome cafeteria that serves different meals every day. And these are heavy meals. I always enjoy lunches with my work mates. This gives me another opportunity to interact with locals and get to know how they think. Part of this exchange helps me broaden my cultural understanding of Colombian society. After lunch, me and my work mates sit outside for the remainder of our break and enjoy the wind and the sun.
3:00 p.m. – Time for yet another refill! Coffee is just amazing. It is the perfect excuse to get away from the desk, stretch my legs and refresh my mind before going back to my project. The cubicle life can be challenging, make sure you have a nice big mug next to your mouse at all times.
6:00 p.m. – Time to go home. After a nine hour day, the thought of going home is a relief. One of the most challenging things at my internship is the hours. Though my days before were usually between 12 and 15 hours long, they were also very dynamic. To sit in a cubicle for nine hours during one day is a different story. But I got better and better as days went by. Luckily, nothing lasts forever and after a long day at work I was able to head home. Nothing is more comforting than that.
Sosa is studying both Diplomacy and International Relations and Latin American studies at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. He hopes to someday work in Corporate Social Responsibility in Latin America.
Photo 1. by Luis Sosa