An internship abroad allows for experiences that few and far between have the opportunity to complete. Leaving your familiar school, family, and friends behind to study abroad is one thing, but to work in another country adds another level of cultural submersion that you may be nervous over. As with any job you may be entering into, preparation is a key strategy to making sure the transition into the workplace is a smooth one.
In the weeks leading up to your job search, begin writing your CV, or Curriculum Vitae. A CV is commonly used in countries abroad and has a slightly different format than what you may be accustomed to when writing a resume. In my experience, the Richmond University staff coordinated job interviews relative to skills and interests listed on my CV. Make sure that your CV is in the proper format, and that it reflects you! This will ensure that you have the best matches of prospective employers abroad.
This next tip may seem a bit obvious, but practice your responses to interview questions. There are numerous lists out there with example questions, but making sure that your responses are well thought out will make the interview process easier when you are in your city abroad. Additionally, once you are going on interviews with companies for your internship placement, do research on the company. Culture and goals of the organization may be different than what you are accustomed to, but online research will ensure that you know the company well. Doing your due diligence on companies before your interview will show when you arrive and are knowledgeable about the company and its market.
Lastly, navigating a new area is tricky and can take time. Before you arrive for your interview, familiarize yourself with the office’s location and if time allows, go on a “dry run” to make sure you will be able to find the building. When I arrived for my interview at the office I eventually was placed in for my internship in London, I found the building, but it was a huge plaza with many different entrances. I eventually had to call the office number and explain where I was before being directed to the proper entrance. Learn from my mistake and arrive on time for your interviews.
If you are hesitant at all about an internship while studying abroad, don’t worry; it’s normal. The experience is completely worthwhile, allowing you to grow as a professional and also as a student. My internship experience allowed me to see London as locals know it. I spent my days traveling on the tube, people watching while on my lunch break, and networking at conferences with my workplace cohorts.