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The ultimate checklist for the first day of your internship abroad

Master day one at your internship abroad like a total pro with this ultimate first day checklist. These helpful tips will teach you how to prepare for an internship abroad and help you start your experience off on the right foot.


1. Plan your outfit ahead of time

Since you’ve never been to the office before, you want to err on the side of being too formal rather than too casual. It’s a good time to play it safe with fashion. Formal pants, a button-up shirt and a blazer are generally a good way to go. At the same time, be sure you’re wearing items that are comfortable and that you’ve worn before. No one wants to have a wardrobe malfunction on the first day of their internship.


2. Bring a water bottle and snacks

Your first day will probably be busy and potentially overwhelming, so it’s a wise idea to stay nourished and hydrated. You’ll also save time not having to go to the water fountain or going out to buy snack food for your first day. Try to bring healthy, clean snacks like almonds or apple slices. Be sure to check with your boss if it’s OK to eat snacks in the office.


3. Take your notebook everywhere and write furiously

Whether it’s names of coworkers, how to log in or that trick to make the coffee machine work, make a note of as much as you can on your first day at your internship. You’ll be soaking in so much new information, there’s no possible way you could remember it all. Taking notes will not only help concrete this new information, but it will also be a resource to always come back to.


how to prepare for an internship


4. Go in with as many names memorized as possible

Try to have as much information down before you even arrive into your new office. You’re going to be meeting so many new people and learning new things, you want to come into your first day a prepared student.


5. Ponder your responsibilities beforehand

Think about your role and have some questions prepared for your first day. Most likely, these questions will be answered over the course of the day, but it’s still good to be thinking critically about how you’re going to contribute to your new office.


6. Get a good night’s sleep

You want to be as refreshed as possible for your first day at a new company in a new city. It may be tempting to celebrate this exciting new adventure, but it’s important not to stay out too late or make unhealthy decisions the night before your big day.


how to prepare for an internship


7. Leave your apartment early

Give yourself plenty of time to get to work on your first day. Since it’s your first time doing the commute, you have no idea how long it will take. You might even want to scope out how to get to the office the day before, just to make sure you don’t get lost.


8. Smile

A smile naturally communicates openness and warmth. As you’re making all kinds of introductions to different people in your office, you’re going to want to be inviting and prove that you’re the kind of person who is easy to work with and approach. No need to put on a big false grin, just having a slight smile and genuine openness to meeting new people will do just the trick.


9. Make introductions like a pro

Stay poised, sit or stand up straight and look people in the eyes when you are shaking their hand. Or if you’re in an office where there are other greeting customs, like a kiss on the cheek, establish those connections with confidence and go with whatever is the local protocol. This may demand a little research beforehand. Also, try to remember people’s names and positions as much as you can, maybe by writing a little note to yourself later like, “Accounting guy – Brad, thick-rimmed glasses”.



Now that you know how to prepare for an internship abroad, apply now to launch your career.




1. based on klm_Work_in_Progress_03, by klm Architekten – Hochbau und Interior, CC-by-ND 2.0

2. based on Taking notes, by Jacob Bøtter, CC-by-2.0

3. based on Hanging, by Alper Çuğun, 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!