Ask the intern: What do I pack for my international internship?

Hi Sugar, my name is Craig and I’m from Pennsylvania State University in the US. I’m getting ready to start a 6 month internship at an NGO in Dublin and I’m really struggling with what to pack for an internship abroad. I haven’t been to Ireland before and I’ve also never had to pack for such a long trip before. I’ve found myself looking at an empty suitcase with no idea what to pack. I don’t want to overpack but I’m also scared I’m going to forget something really important! Could you possibly give me some guidelines on what to pack for an internship abroad so I’m prepared for my time in Dublin? -Craig.

 

Hi Craig! Thanks so much for getting in touch. You must be so excited to start your internship in Dublin! But I completely understand your struggle. When I was preparing to start my internship here in Latin America with The Intern Group, packing was daunting. It’s a long way to go and a long time to go for. Forgetting something could be problematic. Below I have compiled a general outline of what you need to pack for an international internship. Although specific needs will vary from internship to internship and destination to destination, the list below should get you well on your way to the perfectly-packed suitcase. It’s also important to point out that whatever destination you’re heading to for your internship, you will be able to buy most things that you can in your own country. So if you forget something or you don’t have space for it, it’s not the end of the world!

Professional clothes

Although you’re unlikely to forget these, I thought it would be a good place to start. Before you buy anything new, ask your supervisor for details on the dress code as it can vary between host organizations. As a general rule, it is better to be overdressed than too casual.

From personal experience, I would advise stocking up on some basic items that you can re-wear throughout the week. These will be helpful when you’re rushing around before your internship. I bought a few pairs of black trousers before my internship and they’re now staple items of my work wardrobe. For boys, if it’s formal wear it is worth investing in some plain shirts. If it’s more casual, ensuring you have a good collection of plain t-shirts would be ideal.

what to pack for an internship abroad

Activewear and swimwear

Although it’s unlikely that you’ll be hitting the beach in Ireland, swimwear is always useful. If you decide to do any traveling through Europe while you’re in that part of the world, you could find yourself at some amazing beaches. If you enjoy swimming as a hobby, this is also an essential.

Ireland has some of the best countryside and greenery in the world. There’s a reason it’s called the Emerald Isle! If you ever feel like escaping the bustle of the capital and the stress of the office, hiking is the perfect activity, so pack accordingly. The gym can also be a great way of relieving stress after a day’s work!

Seasonal clothing

For anyone who is going away for 6 months, you need to be prepared for changing seasons. Ireland is known for its unpredictable weather, so come prepared for rain and shine! Layers are good as they can be worn year round. A rain mac is unfortunately an essential. However, as you will be there for the summer months hopefully you’ll experience lovely summertime weather.

Practical items

It may be boring but a practical packing list is important. If you’re leaving your country, it’s very likely that you’ll need a plug adaptor. In Ireland it’s a 3 pronged plug (the same as the UK). Having a photocopy of important documents such as your passport, insurance paperwork, visas and other forms of ID is always helpful. Having a 6 months supply of any medication you need is also advisable.

Money

Like with any trip, it’s advisable to bring enough cash to get you started for a week or so. Going to Dublin, having enough Euros while you find your feet will make settling in a bit easier. Past the initial few days, I would recommend a prepaid cash card that you can top up as you go. They make life a lot simpler and cheaper. I have a Caxton card and I’d be lost without it!

Using your normal bank account when you travel overseas can cause problems as you can be hit with hidden charges. Cash cards can prevent such issues. However, I would definitely say to bring your normal debit card as a backup in case you lose your cash card.

what to pack for an internship abroad

Things to document your trip

Hopefully your internship abroad will be the experience of a lifetime that you’ll want to remember. To help you record your experience, disposables cameras can be great. You don’t have to worry about losing or breaking them like with a normal camera or phone. You also have the excitement of getting them developed.

I also know a few people who use scrapbooks and photo albums, which is a nice way of keeping your photos all in one place.

Now you know what to pack for an internship abroad, apply today to begin your adventure.

Photos

1. based on Suitcase, by Christine und Hagen Graf, CC-by-SA 2.0

2. based on Wearing a suit, siting down, by Jose Camões Silva, CC-by-SA 2.0

3. based on 100 Euro, by Last Hero, CC-by-SA 2.0

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Sugar Thomas

Sugar studies at the University of Leeds in the UK and is currently on her year abroad in Latin America. She studied in Malaga, Spain before joining the business development team at The Intern Group in January. She hopes to make the most of her time in Latin America, traveling the continent and experiencing the culture before completing her final year of university.
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