Dear Dreams Abroad,
How do I know that the internship I selected for the summer is the right fit for me? I will be working abroad but the interview was through Skype and I am nervous that I will not know what i am walking into once I get there. What do I do?
The only way you will know if the internship is right for you is when you have completed it and reflected upon the experience. With that in mind, fortunately, and unfortunately, every experience is as unique as the person participating, so you should recognize word-on-the-street type advice might not be accurate, whether positive or negative. This can be particularly frustrating as programs can easily change year-to-year. However, there are some tips to consider before moving to a foreign country for an unpaid internship that might make your experience more rewarding.
As an American wanting to travel abroad to do an internship there are several things you should consider before accepting an offer. No matter how much you want the experience abroad, always remember that your safety comes first. You should work towards being placed where you feel comfortable, so listen to your gut, but be open to suggestions. With that in mind though, companies will try to tell you that you are being placed in your dream internship — BE AWARE. This is most often their needs being placed over your wants. So, do your research! Ask questions! Then, be a nudge, ask for more contacts so you can ask even more questions!
Never let them make you think that it is your only shot at getting an internship abroad in your field. Feel comfortable to shop around and to wait out the opportunity that feels right! But, remember, at some point if you don’t pull the trigger, you might never go. So, set a deadline for your decision making and be prepared to take a leap of faith. Taking risks and learning from decisions is a big part of the adventure!
Please feel free to email us for more information and if you have any more questions about this topic. Be safe!
– Dreams Abroad
A Quick Recap:
• Find your comfort zone
• Don’t be afraid to say no or to ask questions
• There are always more fish in the internship sea
• Do it on your time schedule, not theirs- but be prepared to take a risk