After several phone and webcam interviews and potentially weeks of waiting, it can be hard not to immediately accept the first internship offer you receive. Even if you want an internship in the U.S. so badly that you would be willing to accept almost anything – and anywhere, it is important to take the time to consider the offer carefully before accepting it. Here are 4 things to consider before saying yes:
Give it a few days: Companies understand that you need time to consider their offer before making a decision so it’s ok to respectfully request time to think about it. While you shouldn’t make them wait too long, 2-3 days to think it over is perfectly reasonable and often expected.
Ask more questions: While having an internship is important, it is equally important to know the specifics. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: Is the internship paid? How much is the stipend amount? Does the internship come with accommodation? Will the company provide assistance with the necessary visa fees? How many interns has the company had in the past? While these questions shouldn’t make or break your decision they can definitely influence it – especially if you are considering multiple offers.
Review the training plan: Ask the company to provide a description of the training plan or an overview of your tasks and activities in writing (if you will be applying for the J-1 visa they will need to provide this information eventually anyway). If the company has had international interns in the past, ask them if you can review a copy of a previous intern’s training plan as well. This should give you a better idea of what to expect.
Consider your goals: Think about where you want to be in 5, 10, or 15 years; will this internship help you to get there? Do the tasks and activities match your educational background, skills, and interests? Consider both the short term and long term benefits of accepting the internship, as well as the company and department. Sure, an internship for a music label or a top PR firm sounds hot, but not if you will be answering phones and getting coffee all day.