Hi fellow international interns, I’m Fiona and I’ve just started my international internship in Latin America. I’m from England and so I’m very far from home, as I’m sure some of you will be. As Laetitia has finished her internship and is off to do other wonderful things at Oxford, I will be taking over her weekly posts and sharing my top tips for moving abroad, settling in and interning in an international setting.
“I’m about to start my international internship in Colombia, I’ve never moved to a new city and I’m nervous about what it will be like. Have you got any tips for moving abroad, settling in and exploring in my first few days?” – Ana
Hi Ana, it’s great to speak to you! Nerves are completely normal. After all, it is scary – I was really nervous before I left to start my internship too. The trick is to maintain a positive attitude, have an open mind and remember that once you arrive, it will be undoubtedly one of the best experiences of your life. To hopefully help a little, I’m going to share with you my top five tips for moving abroad, exploring and settling in to your new city.
My top 5 tips for moving abroad and settling in
There’s something extraordinarily therapeutic about unpacking and organizing everything to look the way you want. It makes you feel immediately more cosy and relaxed in your new surroundings. Having all of your own things unpacked and arranged makes your new room feel like a home away from home. The great thing about The Intern Group is that your accommodation is all arranged for you, so you can arrive and immediately start decorating with photos, lights, cushions – whatever you like!
2. Be a tourist
Don’t be afraid to be a tourist for a few days. It’s a new and exciting city with lots to offer and so many places to explore. I would suggest having a look online or in a guide book and writing a list of the best places to visit. Trying to visit everywhere on your list can be a fun challenge, and inviting other interns can be a great way to make new friends! Remember to bring a camera to take loads of great photos to show your family and friends (and make them very jealous)!
3. Understand local transport
Being able to use the local transport system – whether in the form of buses, trams or a metro – will immediately make you feel more comfortable in a new city. Taking the metro with confidence will make you feel like a true local. The easiest way to do this is to have a look online for bus timetables or metro maps, and then just jump right in. Yes, it is very possible that you will get on the wrong bus or end up going in the wrong direction on the metro, but it’s all a learning process, and it makes for a funny story to tell friends and family.
4. Be friendly
Making friends was something I was extremely nervous about before I started my international internship. However, I’ve learned that it’s something that you do not need to worry about. The most important thing is to be friendly and sociable. If someone asks you if you want to grab a coffee, lunch or go sightseeing, say yes! Another great thing about The Intern Group is that they organize social events for you and all of the other interns in the city. This is a great time to meet other people who are all in the same boat as you, so don’t be afraid to go up and introduce yourself!
5. Stay Positive
Positivity is one of the most important assets that you can have when moving to a new city. The first few days may be a bit tricky and it’s completely normal to feel a bit homesick! The best thing to do is be positive and remember why you decided to do the international internship in the first place (for the amazing new experience). If you feel a bit low in the first few days, don’t worry, it will soon go away! Leaving your room and exploring with another intern (who probably feels exactly like you do) is a great way to boost your mood and help you stay positive. Also remember that your family and friends from home are just a phone call away!
Interning abroad can seem scary, but the incredible experiences that you have and the all of the new people you meet will make it the adventure of a lifetime. Make sure that you take every opportunity to make new friends and explore amazing places and I can guarantee that you will love it!
Let me know how everything is going. If you have any questions, queries or updates then drop me an email at [email protected]