Expectations of the Intern: Things to Remember

International internships are a great way to develop your professional skill set, add valuable experience to your resume, and see how the skills you’ve learned in the classroom translate to the real world. However, there can be challenges along the way. Instead of being afraid or of these challenges, we hope that you embrace them. They will help you grow, succeed, and develop the skills you are looking for. 

Challenge to success

The most common challenge you could experience is Culture Shock. This happens to almost everyone that spends time abroad and is definitely not intern specific. However, as you are in a new country and culture, there is a high likelihood you will experience it as well. We talk a lot about culture shock in some of our other Online Pre-Departure Orientations, so make sure to read through those as well. Remember, it can happen to anyone and does happen to most people, so be open to the possibility that it is happening and talk about it.

Starting a new job and working in a new organization provides a lot of challenges, even in the US. Add to that a new culture, work style, and possibly a new language and this internship experience might not always be easy and fun. There will be ups and downs. Some challenges should be expected and not every day will be perfect. These challenges will only help you grow.

A tip from a CISabroad Alumni:

Expect things to go wrong, prepare for imperfection and mistakes and when things do go wrong don’t freak out. Each mistake I’ve encountered has made me a better, wiser world traveler and I wouldn’t change anything.”        – Sophia W (Australia, 2015)

If you find yourself in a difficult or challenging situation at the internship, think about possible solutions. It is recommended to talk with your supervisor about any issues that come up, provided they are not major problems. Usually the issue is a result of miscommunication so a quick talk with a supervisor will help clear it up.

If the problem persists or is a major issue in the beginning, you should contact the Onsite CISabroad staff. We can help you navigate any issues at the internship and make sure your experience is a positive one. While we do regular checkins with both you (the intern) and the host organization, we expect you to let us know of issues at your internship, otherwise we won’t be able to help.

Talking with our onsite staff about potential issues is also important for housing and other parts of the program. We can fix or help out with just about any situation, but if you don’t let us know there is an issue, then we are unable to do anything about it.

A handful of interns return every year to the realization that the major they have chosen and the field they have been studying is not what they want to do in the future. While this can be very troubling for the intern, it is expected as well. Until you really see your studies in practice, it is hard to know if you will want to pursue an entire career in this field. We think it is better to learn that your current career field is not for you in an internship rather than at a later date, such as after college when you’ve already started a full-time job.