1. Pick the right internship
This taking the first place goes without saying, but even though this is a no-brainer, compatible internships really aren’t the case all that often. And there are many different reasons for this. Internships aren’t that easy to find if you don’t know where to look, and most people don’t, so they settle for the first option they can find. It’s not their fault though, it’s hard to have experience and insight in a situation you’ve never been in before, we get it. Sure, you could get lucky and the first option you find turns out to be the internship of your dreams, but the odds are against you. One way to make sure that you end up in the perfect internship is to enlist the help of companies that specialize in finding them for you, us for example!
2. Work on your skills
Choose the skills you want to focus on developing and figure out the kind of tasks that would help you do that. You should figure that out in advance and talk to your employer about it at the start of the internship, so he has a general idea of the field you want to focus on. Of course, you will have a set of responsibilities defined in advance, and those responsibilities dont always match completely with the skills you want to develop.
What your work will consist of does not only depend on your wishes and capabilities, but also the tasks that your comapny just needs done, so be prepared to do quite a few mundaine ones. But even though your work is varied, just paying special attention to the tasks that involve the skills important to you can have a great impact on your knowledge.
3. Step out of your comfort zone
This is an emportant one, after all, you can’t evolve in your life by only sticking to the comforts of habit and routine. Stepping out of your comfort zone builds up your confidence, gives you experience that better equip you for unknown situations and helps you grow as a person. Starting is always the hardest part, but as you have already embarked on this journey into the unknown, that part is done!
Now its time to keep going.
Try something new until you feel comfortable with it, then try something else, switch up your rutine and move towards your fears.
4. Build relationships
The easiest and most important place to start is at work. We all know it’s super awkward being the “new guy” at the office, but you should really put some effort into getting to know your coworkers. It will not only make your stay there more enjoyable, but people will also be much more inclined to offer you a hand when you need help and you just might find some lifelong friends. Those Friday after work drinks are a welcome bonus too!
You shouldn’t stop there though, try to also find connections out of work. It can either be going to a bar or club and meeting the locals or attending different Erasmus events, the world is at your feet!
5. Learn the language
Learning the language of your host country will not only make it easier for you to communicate with the locals, but will greatly benefit you later in life. Every language holds a value, and will be a great addition to your CV. Also, learning a language can be really fun!
One of the ways to do that, other than just going out and meeting the locals, is to attend language exchanges. You will meet interresting people and possibly accompanied by a couple of drinks and games talk in different languages, learn about their cultures and have a blast overall! You can find events like this on different sites and groups on social media, dedicated to Erasmus activities.
Exporing the city you’re in is a given, from the city centre to the downtown, from the best restaurants to the the merriest pubs, the mysterious alleyways to the breathtaking mountains, the shopping centres to the art galleries, you’ll experience it all.
But dont stop there – visit the neighouring cities and countries. There is a good chance that you can get really good deals on train, bus or even flight tickets, better than if you tried to visit those places from your home town. So do your research, gather some advice from the locals and give into your adventurous spirit, after all, it’s what got you this far!
7. Ask for a reference
At the end of your internship it is important for you to get a feedback from your employer on the quality of work you did during your time at their company. So when they have some spare time (and good mood) ask them for a reference where they will look back on the work you did during your time there. This will give your future employers a credible source of insight into where your strengths lie and your potential work as their employee. Another tip is to ask your internship provider for permission for employers to contact them, verify the reference and get some more information straight from the source.
8. Update your CV
After your internship is all finished and done, its time for the final step: identify and conquer. Identifying all you’ve acomplished, implementing it into your CV and conquering those future job interviews. Entering the new data into your CV doesnt only mean adding a new »Internship at… start date… end date… « section, but also all the new projects you’ve worked on and skills you’ve developed. From profession specific skills like business development, social media management or website creation, to more general ones like being a team player, good communication and organization skills, experience working with clients, adaptivity, creativeness, excelling under pressure and many more.
And a tip for the road – dont be afraid to search the internet for different skills to put on your resume, its not cheating, it’s just finding the words to better describe your qualities. Dont go putting the whole dictionary in there though!