How to Manage an Internship Abroad?
Studying abroad in Spain is an amazing opportunity to learn about the Spanish culture and gain a broad view of the world! Signing up for an internship abroad tops off this experience as you get to see this new culture from a working perspective too. Although that’s not to say that this experience won’t present its challenges! It is perfectly normal to stumble upon these difficulties, and here are our best tips to help you deal with them …
Many students experience times of difficult adjustment, mostly due to missing friends and family back home. In fact, it’s something that almost everyone deals with at some point in their lives. Don’t let homesickness ruin your experience.
Remember that you are only abroad for a summer, a semester or year. It will be one of the quickest times of your life, and it will bring a whole host of new and different experiences. Not to mention that most people you meet are also on a limited stay and so make the most of your time getting to know them! It is surely a time of intensive learning and fun, especially if you go for it with a flexible and open-minded attitude, personally and professionally.
«Can you repeat that please?»
It’s true that coming to Spain can present some communication difficulties, especially when the Spaniards speak their native language very quickly and with a strong accent. The only way to work through this one is to make an effort to learn Spanish and communicate as best as you can! Make sure you know some daily phrases that you can use in conversations. Or if you have not tried Spanish yet, sign up to a Spanish language school while you are in Spain, the best way to learn Spanish! Expect communication issues and do your best to work through them to get the most out of your placement and overall overseas experience!
Spaniards, along with the rest of Southern Europe, have a much more relaxed concept of time. This comes with late mealtimes and longer hours in the office. Just adapt to it. Don’t expect people to be exactly on time, except for trains and doctor’s appointments.
However, take your internship seriously. As this will add a real difference to your CV, your supervisor’s recommendation after the placement and your future career opportunities. And remember also to take enough time for yourself , explore (almost) every corner of the new city, travel around Spain, as each city has unique traditions, foods, and activities to enjoy and discover.
Down to business
If for some reason you find yourself in an internship abroad that isn’t exactly what you expected or were looking for, maybe you are given too many tasks or given too little to do, or what you do does not fit with your career goals, please don’t worry! There are a number of actions you can take to solve the situation.
Some of which would be; addressing the issue with your local program provider, talking with your supervisor about your goals and interests, changing your project focus at the company and maybe even working in a different department that is better suited to you. Whatever it may be, we’re here to help you with the actions to take when things aren’t quite right. Always be proactive and speak up, sharing feedback and asking for alternatives. In the end, if this field is not for you, this is also a way to decide more of what you do want in the future!
If you’re interning abroad and you’re the only international person in the office, it may feel lonely. Studying abroad does require independence and tests you to do things alone. The great thing is that through your local program provider, you always have someone to talk to and contact when needed!
It is important to have some support in difficult and novel situations. Of course we understand this! Other things you can try are being proactive, speaking to colleagues at work and getting involved in activities during your stay. Cultural activities are always on offer and there are also other ways to meet people and sign up for local activities too. Use your local program provider as much as you need to! And we promise, this feeling gets less and less as you adjust to life abroad.
For more information on Internship Placements abroad, why not check out our various internship sectors.