9-Ways to Make The Most Out of Your Internship Abroad
Being lucky enough to get an internship that you've applied for is something not everyone experiences. You'll get to go to a foreign country, learn new things, and experience a very different reality from yours. However, your mission shouldn't stop there. Once you get through this step, you should do your best to make the most out of your internship abroad. If you're not too sure just how to do this, we've got you. Here are some solid tips that we've gathered.
1. Ensure success before you even head off
Whether you'll make the most out of your internship abroad or not doesn't only depend on how well you'll cope once you're there. Doing prep work is necessary to set yourself up for success. Here's some advice on how to do just that.
Get in the right mindset
First thing's first, if you want to make this time count, you need to think in the right way. Going abroad and being surrounded by many great opportunities will mean nothing if you don't know how to use them. Activities such as binging your favorite tv show can wait until you're back home.
Plan to a degree
Make sure to create a schedule that you'll be able to follow through. Create a list of all the things you want to achieve and all the places you'll want to visit. However, make sure to leave room for spontaneity as well.
Do your research
Doing sufficient research before you head off to your internship program will make all the difference. Everything that's worth knowing about your internship program will most likely be stated on their site's front page, which means that this information won't be hard to find.
Be prepared for a culture shock
Preparing yourself for a bit of a culture shock is a must if you want to be prepared for what's coming. You'll surely face some things and customs you're not familiar with. No matter how adaptable you are, it'll take you a bit to get settled into this new reality.
2. Be courageous to make the most out of your internship abroad
No matter how well you've prepared, you won't get the most out of the internship, elective, or project abroad if you're not ready to take some risks. Don't just sit and wait for opportunities to present themselves. Know what you want and what you're looking to get out of the experience, and then go out there and get it. If there's a time to roll up your sleeves, work hard, and take chances, it's now.
3. Set some goals
Having plans and goals that you'll try to achieve during your stay will surely help you make the most out of your internship abroad. Of course, making these goals doesn't necessarily mean that you'll get to all of them. Depending on how realistic and ambitious you are, some of them might remain unfulfilled. However, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't make them. Also, consider having a journal from the onset of planning your internship, to its completion.
4. Seek to cultivate a relationship with your peers and mentors
You will most likely meet other participants in international programs. Some of whom you may share a residence with. This will be your chance to expand your professional network, learn from your peers in different healthcare systems, and become culturally competent by exposing yourself to diversity.
Importantly, mentors are very key abroad. For Elective Africa programs, you will be introduced to your mentor. Make sure to cultivate a good relationship as soon as you are introduced to each other. This will give you an easier time to learn from them, ask questions, seek clarification, and also an opportunity for them to trust you with tasks and responsibilities that will optimize your learning experience and program as a whole.
5. Learn as much as you can
Reading up on different topics and learning new skills both in your workplace and in your free time is something you should make your priority during your time overseas. Spending this time as productively as possible will be worth it in the end. Set yourself up for success by choosing a few key areas that you'll focus on.
6. Set out to meet people
Immersing yourself in the culture, people and places in your destination abroad will be one of the most special and valuable things you experience during this time. Make a point of meeting people there and interacting with them. This will not only make you culturally aware but also give you insights that might come in handy in your later career.
Regardless of whether you're networking and meeting people that'll make your professional life better or if you're forming potentially long-lasting friendships, make sure to get out there and create those bonds! Try and suppress your introverted personality while abroad.
7. Improve upon your language skills
Seeing as how you'll be surrounded by people speaking a different language, you'll need to find a way to adjust to it. That is why we have periodical Swahili lessons in our programs.
Of course, most of the people you're connected with professionally will speak English. However, making an effort to overcome the language barrier and learning some useful phrases will make all the difference. Especially if you're thinking of moving overseas, you have to try to improve your language skills. It's not an overnight process, but it'll be worth it in the end.
8. Live in the moment
Making time to enjoy yourself and relax is just as important as grabbing all the opportunities that'll present themselves to you. For example, you can use your weekends to travel, go for excursions, and explore. There are so many benefits of an abroad internship that you'll miss if you focus only on getting ahead professionally.
There's so much beauty and culture that you can experience and soak in; you just have to know where to look.
Making the most out of your internship abroad is impossible without experiencing the thrill of an adventure. For our destinations, make a point of going for a safari.
9. Implement what you've learned
Once you've managed to make the most out of your internship abroad, the fun doesn't stop there. You can find many different ways to make this experience count and have an impact on your future. Aside from simply using it to make your CV richer, you can also continue to work on the skills you've acquired there. Additionally, make it your mission to maintain the connections that you've made. This way, you'll build long-lasting relationships that'll come in handy in the future.
Are you are a medical or pre-med student? APPLY and reserve for our healthcare internship or medical electives programs abroad as far ahead as 2023 and change them when need be.