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Ask the intern: Should I do an international internship as a first time traveler?

Hi Danielle, I am interested in doing an international internship but I have never traveled outside of North America before. I’m not sure if it is for me. Although I love the idea of living and interning in a new place, I am not sure that I am ready for an intense experience in a country that is different from what I’m used to. Do you have any advice for someone that is a first time traveler who wants to do an international internship? -Sophie from Mexico.


Hi Sophie! Thanks for getting in touch with your question. I completely understand your concerns about living and interning abroad in a new country with little previous travel history.  Living in a new place is the perfect opportunity to grow both professionally and personally. While improving your CV, you’ll also get the chance to experience a new culture. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to travel far from home to do so! In fact, a great way to do an international internship as a first time traveler is by doing an internship in a country in North America.  Here are the reasons why doing an internship in a country close to home is perfect for a first time traveler:


1. You’ll experience something new without being overwhelmed with culture shock

One of the biggest concerns for first time travelers is learning how to deal with culture shock. While I think experiencing a new culture is crucial to personal growth, there are ways you can ease into this process without diving into something completely unfamiliar. As someone from Mexico, you can actually intern abroad in cool cities like New York, Chicago, or Toronto.

You can live abroad without being struck by vast differences that you otherwise might experience overseas.


2. It’s usually less expensive overall

Interning in a bordering country as a first time traveler is a great way to experience new things without breaking the bank.  For most travelers and international interns, the biggest out of pocket expense is usually the airfare. Flights from Mexico to the US or Canada are more affordable than flights to other parts of the world. In addition to saving money on airfare, New York, Chicago, and Toronto are all established tourism cities. There are tons of free things to do, such as checking out museums and festivals!


3. The travel time is shorter

Speaking of plane tickets, another bonus for doing an internship in the US or Canada is that you’ll save yourself travel time. Flights from Mexico City to New York, Chicago, or Toronto are all under five hours. As a first time traveler, this may ease your flight anxiety by cutting your travel time in half. On top of that, you’ll also avoid overnight flights!


first time traveler


4. It’s likely that you’ll befriend someone who speaks your native language

While all of our internships require English, both the US and Canada are known for being multicultural hubs. You’ll see an influence of many different ethnic restaurants, cultural festivals, and yes, multilingual conversations all around you on the subway.  Obviously the goal of living abroad is giving yourself the chance to really immerse yourself in a new culture, which comes with the challenge of speaking a new language. For first time travelers, this can definitely be intimidating. It’s very likely though that you’ll befriend someone who you can communicate with in your native tongue if you really needed to.


5. You will become exposed to different cultures by hanging out with other interns

The Intern Group accepts interns from over 100 countries, with over 40 languages spoken! You can learn more about the world by also networking with other international interns. Most of our alumni comment on how much they value their new international friendships, which in the future could turn into travel opportunities for you down the road.


first time traveler

Now that you know your options for interning abroad as a first time traveler, apply today to launch your career abroad.



1. by Danielle Ortiz-Geis, New York City


Photos and blog by Danielle Ortiz-Geis

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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!