Choosing to do an internship abroad can be an incredibly fulfilling experience. But how do you make sure that your time spent abroad is meaningful? Here are our top 10 tips to make sure that you have a meaningful internship while travelling the world.
1. Creative intuition
We often get asked by our host organisations for interns who show maturity and a strong desire and ability to self-manage, show initiative and work independently. These skills are crucial to nonprofits given the environment in which they work and have to navigate each day. So offer to help, be creative and innovative and use your initiative to make it meaningful.
2. Appreciate circumstances
Nonprofit organisations face many daily challenges. These include lack of resources, completing challenges and priorities and needing to work miracles often with very limited resources. It’s important for interns visiting from highly developed countries like the USA, UK, and Canada to appreciate that the circumstances are such in some of our partner organisations. They are not always as efficient as what you may be used to back home. So please be patient with your host organisation.
3. Realistic expectations
Be realistic with your expectations and trust that you are adding value, even if it turns out that you are not working as efficiently as you had perhaps expected, based on your experience back home.
4. Ask for a mentor
Juggling many priorities also means that nonprofits may not have a dedicated person to assist you immediately. In this instance, you may be required to use your initiative and self-manage. Ask for a mentor if you have not been allocated one. Speak to the if i could team if you need support with mentor support too.
5. Understand value
Each task that is given matters. You may not think that a project, or task, is super exciting but do know that each task has value and relevance for your host organisation. You are making a difference in a major way.
6. Help wherever possible
There is always admin and try help here where you can, especially if you are a very organised person. This will help your host organisation tremendously if you can sort out backlogs, put in place systems or improve efficiencies.
7. Set a Goal
Set a goal for your internship or identify a project you want to tackle. Plan to master a new skill.
8. Communication is key
Always strive for open communication and appreciate feedback given. If you have any challenges, speak to your mentor or your supervisor and always keep those channels of communication open.
9. Take advantage of support
We are your family away from home and if you have any difficulties, or need advice and support, our if i could… team is here to assist you. We are only a call away.
10. Make the most
Finally, and importantly, have fun! Make new friends and enjoy and cherish each and every day!