Interning abroad is an opportunity for you to participate in the world at large. In this week's post, Daniel describes his thoughts about his internship and juggling it with his studies and adapting to a new country. Take a look at his five takeaways and how you can accomplish work and build the marketable skills you need for the future.
The amazing entrance to ShippyPro’s office space.
I must admit, my feelings about doing an internship abroad have fluctuated wildly over the course of my time here in Florence. However, I am incredibly happy that I took on this challenge. I have now been working with ShippyPro, an eCommerce shipping solutions firm, for two months now. I wanted to share with you some things I have learned so far to hopefully help you when trying to figure out if interning abroad is for you.
1. It CAN Be Done
I know, living and studying abroad is already a lot to pile onto yourself, let alone also working for a foreign company. Initially, I must admit, I questioned the decision I made. I learned quickly that projects need to be completed in a timely manner week after week. It became clear to me that time management was going to be something I REALLY had to work on. It took a bit of adjustments to how I tackled assignments but soon enough I was able to properly allocate the time I needed to my internship work while leaving enough open to enjoy my time abroad. However, everyone at CAPA and at ShippyPro were very supportive and have helped me overcome this (which really is one of my major weaknesses). So if I can do it, I guarantee that you will be able to make it work.
Walking to work.
2. You Don’t Have to Miss Out On the Fun
As my internship started to pick up, I worried that I might miss out on some of the fun things that my friends were doing. This feeling went away pretty fast though. I learned that by making realistic timeframes and maintaining communication with my supervisors, I was still able to enjoy the city and make various travels abroad.
3. You Strengthen Your Soft Skills
Being plunged into a different workplace environment forces you to think more about how you act and what is culturally correct. This has really helped me develop my soft skills at a rate that is hard to match domestically. Even after working for just two months here, I already feel my communication getting stronger, both verbally and electronically. I think a big factor in this is having to be so much more aware of how my actions are interpreted. The opportunity to strengthen these skills is something that I’m very grateful I took advantage of and I see it following me in my professional future.
The incredible view from our conference room.
4. Resume Protein
Building off of my previous point, this opportunity is something that is extremely marketable too. Working in a different country is something that will help you stand out from the large majority of applicants. We live in a time when most students somehow or another gain internship experience, so any uniqueness you can offer will help. Employers will be extremely impressed when you articulate your experiences working in a foreign job market.
Some graphics I created for ShippyPro.
5. Builds Confidence
Facing the challenges and difficulties that come with interning in another country is no easy feat. Once you accomplish it though, you will come out feeling so much more self-assured in your abilities and competence. This will show through the way you carry yourself and the work you produce in the future.
A Florentine commute.
To wrap up, if you’re on the fence about doing an internship abroad, I strongly suggest you do. It really is an incredible opportunity to work and engage with individuals from completely different backgrounds than you. You will gain a totally new perspective on not only the industry you’ll work in but also the world at large.
Daniel Arnabar is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2019, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Marketing major at University of Pittsburgh, he is studying abroad in Florence this semester.
Daniel's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.