Internship Advice

At the beginning of the semester, my internship was slow to start.  First I met with an interviewer, Thomas. The “interview” was informal and nothing to be worried about, it was more about Thomas getting to know each other.  After chatting for a little while, Thomas walked me to my internship site, Engel and Voelkes, where he introduced me to my supervisor Suela. At the meeting with both of them, we discussed my class schedule, the times I would be able to work, and what was expected of me.  Suela also said she knew that school is always the first priority, which was comforting. After that meeting, I sent emails and text messages to my superiors to confirm my schedule, but I did not hear back for a while. What I eventually learned is that face-to-face communication is valued more here. Engel and Voelkers is a luxury real estate company. Because of this, my supervisor Suela spends a lot of time outside of the office showing customers properties.  After not getting a response to my messages, I decided to just go into the office and wait for more directions about what to do. This worked for me because other coworkers would ask me for help on random tasks. Once I started spending more time in the office, I was able to catch Suela at times and she would give me more information about my duties. When I first started going to the office I had no idea what I was doing, but each time I went my responsibilities became clearer. Some of my duties include calling Engel and Voelkers offices in the US to share properties, reading property descriptions that have been translated from Italian to English and making sure that the translation makes sense, helping with the disbursement of the company magazine, and helping my coworkers with anything that comes up throughout the day.  My advice to anyone starting an internship abroad is to be patient. Everything might be confusing at first, but it will work out. Keep asking questions, try different methods of communication, and stay positive. And if it is a slow start like mine, take advantage of any free time that you have. When I wasn’t really working during the first few weeks I went to museums and did a bunch of sightseeing. The last piece of advice that I have is to ask your coworkers what their favorite restaurants are in the city. This is a great way to bond with them and a great way to eat local food that you won’t find on TripAdvisor!