Ultimately an Internship abroad is what you make of it!
When you decide to go abroad for an internship there’s a long to-do list to prepare; you have to arrange accommodation, book your flights, get insurance – and the list goes on. However, there will be other challenges, mental challenges that are good to be aware of too. It takes time to get used to new living and working conditions, and you might find yourself feeling homesick. To offset these challenges and make the most of your experience, don’t forget to prepare yourself mentally for the adventure that awaits you. Here are some ways to start.
Why are you interning?
An important first step is to ask yourself why you are interning. You likely want a work experience that will broaden your knowledge, develop your skills, enhance your CV and leave an impact. Roots and your host organization will do everything possible to deliver a fantastic experience and to solve any problems, but the best interns are those who are willing to deal with the unexpected in order to achieve something tangible. If you are willing to help in any way you can you often gain the most valuable and unexpected collection of skills, experiences, and knowledge. Ultimately, interning or volunteering is what you make of it!
Keen to do good and explore one of the most amazing cities in the world? Check our NGO internship opportunities in Cape Town
Being a Valuable Intern
When you do an internship abroad you have access to fantastic opportunities. However, it’s important to remember that you should always aim to be at least as valuable to the organization as it is to you. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Be positive. Have a can-do attitude and a willingness to get involved. You can make more of a difference than you realize.
- Keep an open mind. Try not to have fixed ideas about what you will do. Circumstances and needs can and do change, especially at nonprofit organizations. Be ready for new people, a different culture and unexpected challenges. What you can do, learn and achieve will often surprise you. Just step out of your comfort zone.
- Embrace a culture of sharing. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge and don’t forget you are there to learn too. Embrace what staff and other volunteers can teach you. And at the same time contribute your own unique experiences and ideas. It will make you a more valuable volunteer.
- Be realistic about what you hope to achieve and tell your supervisor about your expectations. If you both know each other’s expectations from the internship it’s easier to adjust tasks and/or be more flexible and open-minded about unexpected opportunities that may arise.