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Here’s How To Make the Most Out Of Your Internship

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

One of the most fearful thoughts while being in college is feeling that you’ll graduate without really having any experience within your career field. The best way of getting rid of this nerve-wracking thought is being an intern! There are all sorts of international internships to choose from. Interning is also an excellent opportunity for traveling while you’re still in school. Nonetheless, with every new experience, there’s as much excitement as there’s uncertainty.


Learn to be culturally aware.

Whenever you travel to a foreign place, you must become familiar with the culture before your arrival. Knowing culture will save you from A LOT of misunderstandings—even the way you say “hi,” could come off as rude. This will be essential in your workplace. You don’t want to make a poor first impression on your boss and colleagues. If you’re working in a place that uses a language foreign to you, I recommend you learn phrases that are essential for the job: remember, your boss is not obligated to accustom themselves to your native language. On that note, learning about the country you’ll be interning in will not only make your time abroad easier; locals, and especially your co-workers, will appreciate the effort. It’s an excellent way for you to strengthen bonds and create connections with people who already work in your future field.

Learning to be more culturally aware will lead to more empathy and better interpersonal relationships. In turn, this will allow you to network. Networking is KEY in any internship. However, when you’re abroad, your chances to do so are maximized. Take advantage of your exposure to so many new people, since not every college student has this opportunity. Keep in mind that every person you meet is a potential contact. Sometimes, it is best to see each new connection as a potential employer or a recommendation letter.



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Entry level experience is still experience.

Regardless of the field, you’re interning in, you will likely be doing entry-level work. However, don’t let this discourage you. As an intern, keep in mind that you’re there to learn as much as possible. Appreciate the opportunity of being exposed to your field of interest, even if it does not necessarily meet your initial expectations. Overall, your boss will be most impressed if you do your best at each assigned task despite how simple it may seem.


Figure out a budget.



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It’s inevitable: the majority of your money will be invested in food and housing. You need to learn to budget. One of the best ways to save some cash will be living in a residence that includes boarding. Eating where you’re staying will save you a significant amount of money, rather than eating out every day. You should also take advantage of public transportation as much as possible: taking cabs or using Uber can be a huge expense in the long run. And do not rush yourself when buying souvenirs, check every place you can find what you want to take back home–as a tourist, you’ll be very vulnerable to buying overpriced items!



As an intern, you’ll probably be spending a short amount of time abroad. Although, yes, work is your priority, do not overwhelm yourself in the sense that work is the only thing you should do. Manage your time well so that you can enjoy your free time. This will sometimes mean cutting off a few hours of sleep, but keep in mind that you won’t be there forever! Visit tourist sights, go out with your fellow interns, and enjoy the city’s nightlife. These moments will also be a massive part of your growth and learning experiences.



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There’s certainly a lot more to learn before and during an internship, but hopefully, these tips will be helpful for you! Internships are a great learning experience on so many levels. You get to experience professional, personal, and when being abroad, cultural growth. There’s so much to learn outside of our classes, and we hope that our advice can help you leave your comfort zone and experience such a great opportunity, like interning abroad.

Currently studying Linguistics, Human Communication and Human Rights at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. Class of 2021. Aspiring lawyer.
Antoinette Luna is a Performance Studies and Comparative Literature major at the UPR. Her passions include writing, reading, and anything crafty. She loves to sew, write, and make things from scratch. DIY is the name of her game. Around campus, she is known as a bubbly young woman who goes by just Luna. Her future goals include traveling, traveling, and more traveling. Outspoken transfeminist, and wannabe activist, she's out to set fires.