Ask The Intern: What is it like to intern at The Intern Group?

Hi I’m Danielle and I am going to be replacing Sugar as an intern at The Intern Group. I’m originally from New Jersey and am excited to be here in South America, for my 6 month internship abroad. As we are both in the office for a training period, we thought it would be a good idea to use this week’s Ask The Intern to talk to Sugar about her international internship. This way, she can share her final reflections with us as her time in Latin America comes to a close.

What did you like best about interning here at the Latin America office?

That’s such a tough question! There are so many things I’ve loved about my experience. I’d say the best thing has been the unique opportunity to travel and get useful work experience at the same time. Before I came, I had such a strong desire to travel but didn’t want a huge gap on my resume. I feel lucky to have had the best of both worlds. I feel like it has given me so much freedom yet also the chance to hone my professional skills. The people at The Intern Group are what have made the experience so amazing. I couldn’t have asked for better coworkers!

 

What are three travel recommendations you have here?

I’d definitely say that my top tip would be to stay open-minded. Some of the best places I’ve been to and the coolest experiences I’ve had have been very unexpected. It sounds a bit cheesy, but try to say yes to most things that come your way!

I also think it’s really important to try and strike the balance between planning and going with the flow when traveling. The first big trip I did, I planned down to the last details – all the events, hostels and buses I booked before I went. However, this can be quite limiting! Going with the flow a bit is much more enjoyable.

My last tip would be to not be afraid to travel solo. Before I moved away, I didn’t think I’d ever be brave enough to do a trip alone. I used to think it would be really boring. However, after my solo weekend trip to Argentina I’m a huge advocate of independent travel. It’s a completely different experience but equally rewarding.

6 month internship abroad
 

What’s the strangest food you’ve tried while abroad?

As you can imagine, the cuisine in South America is quite different to what I’m used to! While some of it has been great (Colombian arepas, for example), some has been questionable. The Chilean traditional summer drink ‘mote con huesillos’ is an interesting concoction – made from wheat and peach syrup with a whole peach in the drink. It was oddly refreshing but I’m not sure I’ll be bringing it back to the UK.

A Chilean cultural quirk that I will bring home, however, is sushi. A lot of South America countries boast a sushi place on every corner. I never expected to move to South America and adopt a penchant for Japanese cuisine, but I have. Although what makes it weirder is that the sushi is often full of cream cheese or avocado and deep-fried!

 

What real-life work skills did you gain during your internship?

There are way too many to list! I learned a lot about my specific career field (Marketing and Business Development). The Intern Group gave me a lot of responsibility which has helped me so much. I also learned a lot of transferable skills such as time management, office etiquette and how to work collaboratively. Living in South America also gave me the bonus of improving my Spanish!

6 month internship abroad

 

What things do you wish you had left at home?

I surprisingly packed quite lightly for my internship (there’s a first time for everything). However, there were quite a few items of clothing that I packed that I’ve never worn. I wish I’d thought about how often I actually wear items of clothing before I packed them. I would’ve left a lot of things at home and had more room in my suitcase for clothes I accumulated over my internship.

 

What things from home do you wish you had packed?

I really struggled packing for such a long time away! I needed clothes to take me from summer to winter, weekends to work and everything in between. I had this illusion in my head (like a lot of people do) that South America is warm all year round. Even after hearing that it gets cold, I thought it can’t be THAT cold. I was wrong and my packing reflected this. One jacket and one jumper didn’t really prepare me for winter! I wish I’d packed considering the different seasons!

 

What piece of advice do you have to offer to future international interns?

Firstly, if you have any apprehensions about taking the plunge, just do it! I haven’t met anyone who has regretted their time interning abroad. I can’t imagine not having had this experience. I also think there is a lot to be said for throwing yourself into the deep end. Going somewhere that is really different from your own country really changes your outlook.

 

Considering doing a 6 month internship abroad? Learn more about The Intern Group program.

 

All photos by Sugar Thomas.

 

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!

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Danielle Ortiz-Geis

Danielle's love for travel and intercultural exchange stemmed from her study abroad experiences in Prague, where she studied in 2012. After graduating from American University in Washington, D.C. she began her career in marketing and international education and has held previous roles at CET Academic Programs as their Marketing Coordinator, AFS Intercultural Programs as a High School Study Abroad Advisor, and Go Overseas as a Content Writer. After receiving her American-Chilean dual citizenship, she moved to Santiago, Chile and is very excited to join The Intern Group's Marketing team. On the weekends you can catch her in the mountains, at a coffeeshop, or exploring a new city by foot with her camera in hand.

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