Handshakes. Personal Space. Please and Thank You. Understanding U.S. business culture is extremely important for a successful internship program and to prevent potential miscommunications and misunderstandings.
Americans are taught from childhood that their personal actions and decisions are what affects their position and outcome in life. Your supervisor, and others at your company, will most likely include you in this mentality so it is important for you to understand not only U.S. business etiquette, but the reasons behind them.
Individualism – Americans place importance on individual initiative and personal achievement. Working on tasks and projects independently with minimal supervision and guidance is therefore highly valued. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ask questions or for help when you need it, rather it means that your supervisor or colleagues shouldn’t need to “hold your hand” and supervise you constantly.
Direct Communication – Americans value honesty and open feedback, especially in business. Things you say will generally be taken at face value, so be sure that you are clear and honest with questions, comments, and other feedback. Depending on the customs of your home country this may take some getting used to, however please understand that honest and direct communication shouldn’t be taken personally and is not meant to be rude.
Etiquette – Knowing what ‘to do’ and what ‘not to do’ is important if you want to start your internship off right. What could be worse than leaving a bad first impression when you didn’t even realize you did anything wrong?
1) Be Punctual: Americans view lateness as a sign of disrespect. To be safe, you should try to arrive at your internship 5 to 10 minutes early if possible. If you’re going to be late, it’s a good idea to call your supervisor and let him or her know that you’re on your way.
2) Respect Deadlines: Americans tend to value getting things done quickly. If your supervisor gives you a project on a deadline be sure to have it done at the appropriate time. If you feel overwhelmed or don’t feel the time frame is realistic, tell your supervisor. Again, direct communication is respected and appreciated.
3) Follow the Chain of Command: If you have a question, request, or problem you should discuss it with your supervisor rather than discussing it with the person first you see, or worse, your supervisor’s boss. Respect for the structure and hierarchy within a company is extremely important. You should only discuss things related to your internship directly with your supervisor, except for extreme circumstances.
4) Be Polite: Americans, especially in business settings, appreciate small talk. Be prepared to talk about the weather, news events, and sports with your colleagues. If you are uncomfortable with small talk it may be a good idea to practice by yourself or with a friend. Also, remember to address people by name, say “please” and “thank you”, and respect the personal space of your supervisor and colleagues. Americans generally maintain a greater physical distance than many other countries when speaking with one another.
By understanding the culture of U.S. business, and proper etiquette, you’ll be sure to make a great first impression at your internship. Remember, not all companies are the same. If you have questions about certain policies and practices, just ask.
It is without question that the United States is a country recognized for its innovative spirit and entrepreneurial mindset. An internship in the U.S. provides you with the opportunity to learn about the most innovative skills in your professional field.
Many of the latest trends, techniques, and business practices are created in the United States. Interning in the United States allows you to learn firsthand the latest techniques from experienced professionals in your field.
The opportunity of receiving mentorship from experienced professionals is a huge benefit of interning in the United States. You will have the chance to develop lasting relationships with your bosses who can provide career advice and help advance your professional career development even far in the future.
Your mentors in your host company may also give you valuable insights and perspectives into your desired industry. Developing good relationships with your bosses may also lead to a job opportunity or a new career path.
Internship programs in the United States can expose you to a variety of tasks and responsibilities. Some companies may assign you to a specific role while others may provide you with exposure to different departments. Interning in the United States of America will show you how business in your selected field actually works.
You will be able to attend meetings, work on projects with a team, and complete individual tasks. The skills and experience you gain will also strengthen your resume massively.
When applying for an entry-level job, the first thing that a hiring manager is going to review is your resume. The quality of your resume can be the deciding factor when it comes to receiving a job offer. At the end of the day, employers are interested in people with real-world experience.
Going abroad looks much more attractive in a CV than sitting at home.
An internship in the United States will give you the job experience that you need to fulfill future job requirements. Living abroad in the U.S. will showcase you as an adaptable person who is unafraid of new challenges. For sure, these qualities will make you more desirable for employment in your future career.
American work culture is unique. In fact, it’s that culture that is one of the most important reasons that the United States is the leading pioneer in many industries. The work environment in the U.S. encourages collaboration among coworkers, sharing of ideas, and a friendly atmosphere. Most interns would say that their work environment allows for professional and personal growth. You will have the opportunity to work personally with experienced directors, managers, and CEOs.
While you live and work in the United States, you will have the opportunity to improve your English skills. English is universally accepted as one of the most important languages to know. No matter where you are, companies value people who can communicate clearly and effectively. Interning in the United States will help you improve your vocabulary, accent and pronunciation.
Aside from English itself, interning in the USA will teach you how to interact with other people in a professional manner. American business standards and cultural norms are understood among many companies around the world. Learning these standards can help you make stronger connections with your bosses and coworkers.
While living in the United States, interning with your company will be only half of your experience. The other half is all about the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. Some of your friends will be from your host company while others are from outside your work-life. The friends you make while living in another country provide you with fresh perspectives and ideas that expand your mindset.
Moving to another country is no doubt a challenge, but one that comes with immense knowledge, experiences, and personal growth. Living and interning in the United States will give you the opportunity to gain confidence in yourself. Traveling globally will become easier. Understanding different cultures and interacting with people will be less intimidating. Ultimately, you will learn to trust yourself and apply your confidence in every situation that you find yourself in.
Over a span of more than 10 years, we at InternshipUSA.com have witnessed all of the benefits mentioned above with our thousands of internship program participants. The idea of doing an internship in the US is a great first step and may be the starting point to experience soon all the mentioned benefits by yourself. But we are well aware that costs may hold you back, at least for now. But you can start working on saving money and raising these funds. You may be surprised to find out that you are able to raise the funds much faster than expected.
And when the time for your internship finally comes, we can assure you that almost all interns experience a solid ‘return on investment’ quickly. An internship in the U.S. simply pays off. We estimate that the financial benefit over the next 10 years will be more than 10 times higher than what you spend on your internship in the USA. Most of our participants experience an impressive accelerated career as well as a salary increase, and that’s precisely because of their internship in the USA.