Ask the intern: What should my aims be for my international internship?
Hi everyone, I’m Sugar and I will be replacing Fiona as the intern in the Latin American office. We wish Fiona the very best of luck as she continues her international internship adventure in Italy! As it is my first proper week here, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you some of my internship goals and objectives.
Fiona warned me that my time in Latin America will fly by and so I thought it would be wise to outline some aims for my international internship. Hopefully, this means that I will make the most of my internship from the start and maybe you will begin to think about what you want from your experience, too.
1. I want to learn to live like a local
Although unfortunately I doubt I’ll ever be mistaken for a local, I want to immerse myself in the culture of Latin America as much as I possibly can. As international interns, we are so lucky. We have the chance to experience first-hand how other people live and to see life from a different perspective. Like many people, I want to make sure that I go beyond the path explored by tourists. Although I definitely want to visit the landmarks, I hope that I also see a different side of Latin America.
In particular, I want to try traditional food and drink as well as adapt to the local lifestyle. To do this I need to establish a friendship group that includes locals. They’re the ones who can give me a true idea of what life is like in my new home country.
2. I want to improve my Spanish skills
Living in a non-English speaking country, a certain level of understanding of the native language is essential to get by day-to-day. I would recommend anyone who wants to intern abroad get a head start on learning key phrases.
However, having studied some Spanish before starting my internship, I would like to hone my skills so that I can communicate more effortlessly. To do this, I’m sure having native friends would once again be key. Language practice is yet another reason why I’m aiming to make as many local friends as possible. Picking up colloquial slang to integrate into the formal Spanish I’ve learned would be a great use of my time.
3. I want to grow my network
Meeting new people is a key aspect to starting a new life abroad. From colleagues, to expats, to housemates, everyone you meet will shape your time abroad tremendously. Some of them will even continue having an impact on your life after you’ve left. In such a multi-cultural environment, I want to build a network of international friends so I can learn about other cultures (and have places to stay when I travel).
I also hope that I get on well with my colleagues so that my job is even more enjoyable. An internship is also the perfect networking opportunity to make connections for your future career.
4. I want to get accustomed to office life
For many people, their international internship is their first real experience of a working office. Although this can be daunting, becoming accustomed to office life is an imperative life skill. This is because most careers will see you spending at least part of your time in this environment.
I know that the etiquette and routine of a workplace may be different from what I’m used to at university. Being observant to how things work in my first few weeks could be key to my success. In my internship, I want to make sure I practice good habits. These include being punctual, sticking to the dress code and establishing good working relationships. Things like this can make a huge difference to how positive your internship experience is.
5. I want to make the most of my free time
As new interns will know, taking on a full-time role really teaches you to value your free time. You find yourself with a less flexible schedule than you have as a student. I want to make sure that I take advantage of time away from the office. I want to learn to surf, go to traditional dance classes and take up hiking.
Being the furthest away from England I’ve been, now is the perfect opportunity to see as many places as possible. Although Latin America is a huge continent, there are some places I just can’t miss out on seeing. I definitely want to visit the Atacama Desert as it is so different from anywhere I’ve been before. At the other end of the spectrum, it would be amazing to visit the snowy Andes mountains.