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Scholarship Series: Streisanne on the differences between internships in Canada and Colombia

internships in Canada

The work environment at internships in Canada and Colombia are very different.  From the languages, to office culture, you’ll surely learn new adaptive skills while interning abroad. 


As a Canadian doing an internship in Colombia, here’s Streisanne’s take on the major differences she’s noticed:
  1. In general, the work environment here at my internship in Colombia is very laid back. Although the workdays here are typically longer (8am-6pm), you’re given much more time to socialize. I spend a fair amount of time during my workday joking around with my colleagues, getting to know the people who work in the office next to ours, and sometimes even having dance breaks.
  2. My coworkers have also been extremely welcoming.They really tried to get to know me when I first arrived. On my first day I was introduced to every office in my building. On my second or third day of my placement I was asked to join them to go salsa dancing. In general, they always seem to be offering me snacks (the best way to gain my friendship). Although this makes the workday much more fun, it did actually take a bit of getting used to. When you’re used to having a nonstop workday at an internship in Canada, it can get repetitive working on the same small task over a couple of days. Eventually though, I learned to take my time, socialize, and ask for more work if I start to get bored at my internship in Colombia.
  3. You’re given more freedom at internships in Colombia than you would see at an internship in Canada.When I first arrived here, my supervisor asked me, “So, what would you like to do?” This really threw me off guard. When you’re used to being constantly assigned tasks during an internship, having the option to suggest tasks that I would like to complete was quite new to me. Although I felt a bit lost at first, I’m getting to work on a project that I find interesting. It’s also great that my projects match my future career goals.
  4. It’s rare to have your supervisor “checking on you” at your internship in Colombia.My supervisor has only approached me once or twice to take a look at what I’ve been working on. I’ve had to approach him in order to get suggestions. Overall, there’s definitely some cultural differences when it comes to the work environment at internships in Colombia and Canada. Thus far these differences have been quite positive.

I have only great things to say about the women who work at The Intern Group Colombia office.  I really appreciate that they truly make an effort to ensure that each of the interns is happy with not only their placement, but their time in Medellin during their internship in Colombia.

Overall, having the opportunity to truly immerse myself in the Colombian work environment has been extremely rewarding. Not only have I had the chance to gain valuable work experience, but I have gotten to know so many wonderful people that work in my office. It might be hard for me to adjust back to the nonstop, no-funny business work environment in Canada, though!

internships in Canada

Learn more about how to boost your career with an internship in Colombia, Canada or any of our destinations in the USA, Europe, Asia or Australia.


Photos and blog by The Intern Group

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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!