China

Expect the Unexpected

Nikki Springer is a student at Iowa State University and is an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently interning abroad with ISA Internships in Shanghai, China.

When it comes to your first day of your international internship, my advice would be to expect the unexpected.  You may think that you’ll be working at a large corporation with a substantial amount of people and then it turns out that it’s a small company and you only have three co-workers.

The key to being successful at your internship is to be flexible.  As soon as you walk into your building you will be amazed by the size of the building, the amount of people, or just by the fact that you will be going to work there Monday through Friday like a “real adult.” No matter what happens or how much this blows your mind, keep your cool and look professional because you were hired as an intern for a reason and now it’s time to prove to them why.  

First impressions are important, especially at the beginning of your international internship. The three most important attributes to remember are; Be polite, Be prepared, and Be professional. Remember your manners at all times, because your co-workers’ attitudes will reflect your attitude.

Another trait that is important to bring to your international internship is preparedness, which (for me) means you need to bring your laptop, chargers, notebooks, pens, pencils, and highlighters, you will use all of these items on the first day. You also need to be mentally prepared. It is important to keep a positive mental attitude and have a willingness to help and ask questions in order to add value.

Professionalism is a key factor in any internship. Although you might feel intimidated or stressed out because you’re unsure of what you should be doing, always act like you belong there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or make mistakes. No one expects you to know everything on your first day. Keep an open mind and be open to feedback. Lastly, always remember to be yourself.

The world awaits…discover it.

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