CISabroad blogger Katherine Wolfe participated in CISabroad’s Intern in New Zealand program during Summer 2017. A Marketing major at Ohio State University, Katherine offers five great ways to prepare for an amazing internship abroad experience – both mentally and logistically!
1. First of all.. GET EXCITED!
This is going to be one of the most incredible experiences you’ve ever embarked on. You’ll meet amazing people who will change your thinking and your life in ways that you could never have imagined. No matter what type of internship you are going for, you will learn so much about the workforce and about how different places in the world treat the workplace. I was an Oklahoma girl doing a marketing internship in New Zealand, and the workplaces are quite different. In Oklahoma, I was used to a much more formal atmosphere, whereas New Zealand’s work style is laid back — most workplaces have an open layout and encourage camaraderie among employees.
2. Don’t forget to check the weather!
Depending on where you go, the weather may be the opposite of what you’re used to at home. I did my internship during New Zealand’s winter, which is my summer back home, so obviously it’s a little (a lot) chillier here than what I am normally used to in June and July. Make sure you research the weather where you are going and prepare accordingly. I underestimated the cold weather so I ended up having to buy a warmer coat once I got here!
3. Make sure you check with your workplace and ask about their everyday work attire.
There’s nothing worse than being extremely nervous on your first day and then showing up and being way under or overdressed. You’ill feel much more confident and prepared if you figure that out beforehand.
4. Even though most people don’t like to admit it or talk about it, homesickness is a real thing.
My advice for combating the inevitable homesickness is to prepare in advance. I knew that being gone for eight weeks was going to be difficult for me and I also knew that the first week or two was going to be the hardest. Instead of trying to avoid it, I mentally prepared myself beforehand that yes, I was probably going to struggle and maybe shed a few tears, but that it was going to be so worth it.
This ended up holding true. The first two weeks were hard and I did cry a few times, but because I had my awesome roommate and my family back home encouraging and supporting me, I was able to stay positive. I know that if I hadn’t committed to this experience, I would have been so upset with myself and would have truly regretted not taking this opportunity. When you are in the midst of a homesick spell, reach out to those around you because they’ll be so helpful and understanding. Also, don’t be afraid to call home — sometimes that’s what ends up being the most comforting. And lastly…don’t be embarrassed! Everyone gets homesick and sad even if they don’t admit it, so embrace the fact that you are so blessed to have a home that you miss so much.
5. Enjoy every moment!
For most, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so don’t let a second pass you by without stepping back and realizing where you are and what you’re doing. Your time abroad is going to fly by and you’ll be back home before you know it, so take every chance you have to dive into the culture and travel around whatever country you’re in. Get out of your comfort zone and eat at places you wouldn’t normally, take spontaneous weekend trips, and take advantage of the fact that you are living in a new country and the world is at your fingertips!
One last thing… you are SO brave for putting yourself out there and going on this adventure, so never doubt yourself or your abilities. Most people want to study or intern abroad, but just don’t have the courage to commit. So be proud of yourself!
Curious about what an internship with CISabroad (like the one Katherine experienced) is like? Check out our Intern in New Zealand program (and other great New Zealand programs). SAVE $250 on any New Zealand program when you use the promo code KIWI250 and apply before Feb. 1. Email or chat with an advisor to see how we can customize a program for you!