This blog post was written by Intern Queen Campus Ambassador Lauren Hannigan of University of Illinois, Urbana - Champaign.
Everyone who has ever studied abroad can attest to the fact that it will be one of the best decisions you will ever make. You meet so many new people and get to see and try things that truly change your perspective on the world and help you to discover things you never even knew about yourself. While studying abroad is one way to get your fill of a certain culture, a completely different route is to actually intern in a foreign country. By immersing yourself in the foreign job market you get to develop an understanding of what it is like to do business in a different part of the world.
The time you spend abroad will feel like a whirlwind, but it is important to bring what you learned from your time interning back to America. You need to make what you learned relevant to the domestic job market. Not many college students have had the chance to actually work abroad, so it is extremely beneficial to make yourself stand out. There are many simple ways to truly make the most of your time working abroad.
Keep track of every single activity you do
There are so many different activities and tasks that you will be working on daily. Make sure that you write down all of the projects and duties that you did. Having these jotted down will make it way easier to remember all of the new experiences you had and the skills you improved. If you are applying for an internship or job, you can look back at your notes and see how what you did as an intern relates to the qualities and skills that the employer needs.
Make sure you take time to reflect on the overall experience
What did your co-workers teach you? What did you learn about business in one country that differed from business in America? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself after your time abroad. Within the answers to these questions will be the material you can use to your advantage in interviews and in your career. You will be able to take what you learned and apply it to your life and professional goals.
Think of a unique story/situation that happened at work
This is a time to show all that you have learned and having a good anecdote to help show what a strong candidate you are will always be a good thing. You have experienced a unique situation, so make sure the story really helps to make you stand out amongst the competition! It can also be an interesting talking point whenever you are talking to someone in a professional situation.
Remember the importance of your internship
People have so many different views and have a different way of living life and approaching work. Keep an open mind and spot the similarities and differences. You can truly learn from everyone you meet and will get a first hand chance to discover countries you have only seen in textbooks. The world is becoming more interdependent and globalized and now that you have worked abroad, you have a deeper understanding of how international business works. This is an extremely beneficial viewpoint to obtain because international business goes hand in hand with the changing business landscape that can be seen today.
Keep in contact
Remember to get the contact information of everyone you work with before you leave. These new contacts can be beneficial to you if you ever need a letter of recommendation, or if you need any guidance on your career path.
Interning abroad is one of the best decisions you can make in college that will directly benefit you when you search for a job or internship. All of the skills and knowledge you obtain will help you to market yourself to recruiters. While the experience itself is amazing, you can truly capitalize on it by effectively bringing everything you learned during your time abroad back to America.