International Internship

 
The good thing is, it can be an amazing experience. The not so good thing is, it is not always that glamorous. There are two ways to get international internship either through an organisation which takes payments for placements. The theory behind such organisations is that they "looks after" their interns, provide them with a welcome-pack, on-going guidance, career advice, social events and often accommodation is included in the price as well. The other alternative is the DIY option. Securing an internship somewhere in the world and arranging everything from visa, bus pass, sim-card through accommodation to a blanket by yourself.  Of course, I went with the DIY option twice.
 
Here's what was great about my experience:
 
1. New, uncommon or confidential research projects. Learnt a lot and found potential masters topic/s! 
2. Meeting of the like-minded people from all over the world.
3. New environment, country, city, culture and climate.
 
 
 "A stairway thru the jungle"
 
Here's what wasn't so great:
 
- office politics / the never ending discussions as to who is a manager over who, how much for and how no one really is doing anything
- drastically un-like minded people (paper-pushing roles with no ambition or vision; money driven rather than purpose driven individuals)
- photocopier (vital in any internship)
- coffee carrier function
- lunch carrier function
- extraordinary level of bureaucracy about everything
- archaic unnecessary and ineffective procedures
- unpaid placements
- sheer lack of anything to do
- outrageous communication issues, communication blocks or simply ineffective listening/reading. 
 
But hey, it is not all that bad, by remaining positive and exploring the country I seen and learnt a lot! Here are some more "inspiring" and useful tips.
 
China
There are few practicalities I did  not know of previously e.g.: when sending your resume to a Chinese company you should include a photo of yourself and when finally there do not take photos of locals plus other small things here.
 
Switzerland
Some say it is more expensive than London. Quite possibly it is. Places like Geneva are rather dear. Places like the UN do not pay their Interns but please do not go if you were to sleep in a tent.
 
The Netherlands
The land of tulips, cheese and windmills: The Netherlands. It is all fun and games until you need to make a payment... Visa/MasterCard problems in the Netherlands are very common and sadly, most of the time these do not work in grocery stores and local restaurants. Carry some cash on you or set up Dutch bank account for the duration of the internship. 
 
London
Such a wild place... it is amazing how many people can fit into one carriage on London tube at 17.03hrs. Truly remarkable. Stand strategically on the platform and aim for the door. (P.s. door tend to be directly opposite to tube maps.)
 
North America
Being the European I am, I thought I can walk to the airport hotel from my terminal. No. This cannot be done. Find shuttle or a taxi. Also, brilliant gif-filled Washington Intern guide here.
 
Central and South America
Tropical storms, iguanas on the street and no/limited/uncertain public transport. But amazing views. Just stunning ''instagramable'' landscapes.
 
Middle East
Research, understand and respect their culture. Adapting appropriate dress code will be vital.  
 
In the process of looking for my next adventure I came across some more unconventional ideas for internship. If you do happen to be stuck in an internship which is far less then what you expected it to be, just remember it is all temporary and soon you will be back in your own bed with your favourite pillow (strangely that was what I missed the most). 
 
"If you want something in life, reach out and grab it"
 
 
 
 
Further read:
 
 

Comments

  1. Just pure brilliance from you here. I have never expected something less than this from you and you have not disappointed me at all. I suppose you will keep the quality work going on. Learnerships

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    1. That is very kind. Thank you. I am glad I did not disappoint. :)

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