8 ways to stay motivated at your internship abroad

Feeling discouraged and unmotivated about work is not uncommon. Especially when you’re starting out in your career, it can feel like you’re trying your hardest but not managing to work as fast or at the level you would like to. Don’t let yourself slip into negative thinking or start doubting that the hard work isn’t worth it. Giving it your all and staying motivated will pay off in the long term. Stay focused and keep these 8 simple tips for staying motivated at your internship abroad in mind next time you’re feeling discouraged:

8 tips for staying motivated at your internship abroad

1. Think about why you’re there

Go back to when you decided to take this internship in the first place. Remember why you made that important decision. What’s the point of being abroad and working at this company? If you take some time to recall the reasons why you decided that this was an experience that you wanted to take, you’ll realize that you’ve made it happen (even if you have met some challenges along the way). You’re doing what you know is right for you and your career.

2. Learn how to make tasks more enjoyable or interesting

Focus on what you’re enjoying about your internship and try to take on projects that interest you the most, if you have that freedom. If you enjoy working with a team, see if there are any projects that you could collaborate on. Find the joy in what you do and maximize that pleasure however possible – within the limitations of the position.

3. Write and use mantras

Think about what holds you back and how you’re holding yourself back. Use that to create some mantras or sayings that can help inspire you at tough times of the day. If you’re not sure where to start, spend some time Googling inspirational quotes. Pick one that particularly speaks to you and your situation and read it at least once a day.

4. Set goals for yourself and visualize them

Here’s the question to think about: “What do you want to accomplish by the end of your internship and how are you going to accomplish those goals?” Think specifically about what you would like to have learned, who you would have liked to have met and what kind of work experience you would like to have behind you. Visualize yourself accomplishing those goals and remember why you want to accomplish them. It will help you to keep your eye on the prize instead of getting dragged down by the menial tasks that every professional has to deal with at times.

5. List the different ways that your internship will benefit you

Make an explicit list of the ways that this internship experience will advance you. Think about the career opportunities that come with the experience and also how you can grow personally through the internship as well. List as many benefits as possible, even if they seem trivial. Make it a running list and keep it in your desk at work. Remind yourself of these things on a daily basis.

6. Start your day with a to-do list that you can accomplish

When you’re feeling overwhelmed or lost at work, it can be discouraging and lead to a lack of motivation. Before each work day, spell out exactly what needs to get done. It will feel so good to check each item off the list as the day goes by. Reward yourself for each time you check something off the list – spend 5 minutes listening to your favorite band, take a short walk, eat a chocolate… whatever works for you.

tips for staying motivated
7. Look to your coworkers for support

Your colleagues are there to help and support you. You’re all part of the same team. If you’re lacking motivation or feeling discouraged, talk to someone you trust about it. In all likelihood, they’ve experienced something similar. They will be able to offer advice themselves on how they get through phases of being unmotivated.

8. Recognize accomplishments and milestones and reward yourself for them

Treat yourself when you’ve made an accomplishment at work. Even the small successes can be celebrated. Recognize the different ways you’ve contributed to the office and give yourself a pat on the back. Young professionals are often expecting that their boss will give them the positive affirmation that they received in school. Jobs and internships don’t work that way. Having a successful career is your prize, so you have to learn and be happy for yourself and recognize the value of your contributions. It’s all part of growing up and becoming a professional.

If you’re yet to secure your internship abroad, apply now to boost your career!

Sources: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/07/19/how-to-stay-motivated-and-accomplish-anything/2/#5f31f7372619, http://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/how-to-stay-motivated.html

Photo 1. based on Making of corporate history film by Frank en Vrij Media, by Frank en Vrij Media, CC-by-ND 2.0

Photo 2. based on Professional, by Andrew Pearson, CC-by-SA 2.0


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!

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Elizabeth Trovall

After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.
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