Things to Consider About Interning Abroad

By Kaylor Jones

Woman with luggage looking out the window at an airport

Honors students tend to go above and beyond, and interning is no exception. Whether it’s your dream to live abroad or you have your eye on a valuable internship in another country, here are some things to keep in mind.

Language Barriers

Some students can speak another language and look forward to the challenge of testing their skills in a work environment. Others aren’t fluent but would like to learn. In most cases, ease of communication is something that organizations consider when selecting an intern. And if you’re too busy trying to keep up with the demands of learning a foreign language, you may lose valuable work experience that you could have been fully devoted to gaining in the first place.

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Taking an internship abroad isn’t a vacation. There will still be responsibilities to take care of, even if you’re in a new and exciting location. Daydreams of spending all day at the beach on the Amalfi Coast or exploring a nearby city in Spain are still achievable, but they might have to wait for the weekend. Even if the “internship” component of interning abroad may not sound wholly glamorous, you’re still gaining valuable experience in a context that will set you apart from others when applying for future positions.

Do Your Research

Try and prepare for every aspect of your time abroad as best you can. What will the average temperatures be? Do you have all of the necessary paperwork in order, including an unexpired passport and relevant visa? Does your bank know you’ll be travelling abroad? Are your flights and housing plans finalized? While it may feel like surprises will be around every corner, there are some you can prepare for, and others you’ll just have to enjoy as a part of the experience.

Don’t overlook the news, either. Staying informed is an important aspect of being a global citizen, and even more so when living abroad. Prowl the news for information about the country’s economy, social unrest, political tension and anything else that could affect your time there or help you learn more about the culture.

Embrace Culture Shock

In your head, everything always goes smoothly – you perfectly adapt to the lifestyle and norms of your temporary home and become a veritable local soon after the plane lands. But many students will experience culture shock and even homesickness while living in another country. Don’t look at these elements as setbacks to you fully enjoying yourself, but small roadblocks to be embraced and overcome. Keep an open mind at all times and try to abandon any expectations you have for the experience. Immerse yourself in the culture, make as many friends as possible, keep a positive mindset and look at every day as a chance to grow as a person. Who knows, you just might even find your purpose!

To learn more about how you can join a community of passionate and driven honors students at Grand Canyon University’s Honors College, visit our website or click the Request Information button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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