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Adulting abroad: 9 important lessons millennials learn overseas

As much fun as it would be to live a life of perpetual adolescence, our loving parents have other plans for us. Learning how to “adult” properly takes years of practice. Most adults still struggle with it. That said, living an international experience can truly boost your independence and teach you how to become an adult in a safe and supportive context. The following are 9 important lessons that you’ll learn while interning abroad:


1. The art of navigation

Knowing how to navigate a new city and its public transportation system is an important grown-up skill. Moving to a new city abroad, where you’re expected to go to your office, explore, buy groceries, etc., will force you to learn the tricks of getting around completely foreign turf.


2. Networking with international colleagues

Learning the art of networking takes time and practice. An international internship offers countless networking opportunities where young professionals can boost their skills and meet professionals from all over the world. Learning how to interact and network with people from all over the world gives you that exposure to other cultures that can make you a more dynamic and open-minded individual.


3. Getting comfortable asking questions

When you’re living abroad, you’re inevitably going to have ask complete strangers questions. Where’s the closest bus stop? What does this word mean? It’s important to ask questions to locals, even if it can be a little awkward. Being assertive, inquisitive and able to approach strangers is a great adult skill to hone abroad. Learning how to easily talk to strangers will come in handy for the rest of your life.


how to become an adult


4. Picking up another language

Is there anything more impressively “adult” than speaking a foreign language at the office? Learning a foreign language in a professional setting will open many different doors as you grow older – both personally and professionally.


5. Saving for your international adventure

Going abroad isn’t cheap. Financing the experience takes some planning ahead. Learning how to budget correctly and save for a big international trip is great way to prepare for adulthood.


6. Exploring outside your comfort zone

Sticking within your comfort zone will hold you back in life. To be successful it’s important to leave what we know and explore the unknown in order to grow and become a more dynamic and well-rounded person. Going abroad is a great way to step outside of your comfort zone, take a leap of faith and learn about a completely new part of the world.


7. Adjusting to a foreign culture

Learning how to acclimate to a new culture is an important life skill to have. It will make you a better traveler and more flexible in general.


how to become an adult


8. Dealing with culture shock

Discovering methods to minimize your anxiety when you’re exposed to a different cultural context is an important way to adult abroad. Culture shock affects even the most traveled of globetrotters. If you know how to deal with the discomfort, it doesn’t have to be a negative experience.


9. Organizing a travel itinerary

When you go abroad, you want to take advantage of every second you have to travel. That’s why it’s important to make a travel itinerary, to coordinate your trips and make sure you see as much as you can. Learning how to assemble a good travel itinerary while you’re young will make international travel more accessible and easy to manage for the rest of your life. What a grown-up skill to have!


Apply now to master “adulting” and to boost your career with an international internship!




1. based on Travel 5/52, by Gauthier DELECROIX – 郭天, CC-by-2.0

2. by The Intern Group

3. based on Millennials Jam Workshop: Youth and ICTs beyond 2015, by ITU Pictures, CC-by-2.0

Photos and blog by Elizabeth Trovall

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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!