An internship abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity to give yourself a jump-start for your future career. The following 4 strategies will ensure that you return home at the end of it with more than just your luggage.
This may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many interns don’t actually realize what this means. You want your supervisor to know that you’re serious about the internship and the industry. Your supervisor or mentor is more likely to share industry information, contacts, and personal insights with you if they believe that you really want to be there. But how do you do this?
Be on time for work and check in with your supervisors. Ask them what tasks need to be done and use your time wisely to complete your work. In order to build trust, you need to show your supervisors that you are capable of finishing tasks. Also, here is a secret about what supervisors love: Just before the end of your work day, see your supervisor personally, and say “I just want to check and see if there is anything else I can do before I leave. I’d be happy to help.” You’ll be surprised how often there is just a small thing to do such as dropping off a letter or making a print-out. But most importantly, it shows your company that you are not dying to get out of the office at the end of the day.
With each task that you complete, you will gain the trust of your supervisor and you may be assigned more difficult projects, more responsibilities, and more opportunities to demonstrate your leadership skills.
While it may be fine to do the minimum that is asked of you, taking on additional tasks and projects (if you have time) is a great way to get more out of your internship.
You will be more likely to receive additional hands-on training and have the ability to collaborate with your supervisors and coworkers. It may seem inconvenient, but doing a little extra or staying a little late to work on a project really does go a long way.
Have a positive attitude. Your supervisor and colleagues can easily tell if you come across as negative or less than genuine. The most successful interns in companies are the ones who take a true interest in the company and in their role. Having a positive attitude and enthusiasm often spreads to those around you as well.
A major part of any internship, other than gaining valuable insight and experience, is meeting people and making connections. Take the time to get to know other people in your company than your supervisor or immediate colleagues.
If your company has meetings or functions, introduce yourself to others and ask them about their role in the company. If you’re interested in learning more, ask your supervisor if they could assist you in setting up an informational interview with that person.
You will get the most out your internship by:
- Being ready, available, and building trust with your supervisors
- Finishing tasks and projects (on time), and taking the initiative
- Having a positive attitude
- Networking and building relationships
Do what is necessary to get the most out of your internship. The more information and skills you can take back with you to your home country, the better your chances of success in your future career.