Adjusting to Interning Abroad

Upon first hearing that I would be given the option to have an internship while studying abroad, the decision to do so was a no brainer. I figured that London was the perfect city to further my professional career and become a more qualified member of the work force post-graduation. Although the experience has been extremely rewarding, there were definitely some challenges that I have faced along the way. First of all, it took a few weeks to develop relationships with my supervisor and coworkers and truly be comfortable conversing and working with them on a daily basis. Although this was difficult at first, everyone in the office was very welcoming of me and clearly wanted me to succeed in my new position. Keeping this in mind, I slowly adapted to each and every one of my coworkers and have now formed bonds and relationships with them that I will not soon forget. Adjusting to the workplace was also a challenge at first. In my case in particular, my internship is located on Oxford Street (also known as one of the busiest streets in the entire city of London). This made for somewhat of a shocking experience in my first few weeks as I saw how busy the tube and the streets truly are at rush hour in a city as large as London. To adjust to this aspect of the workplace, I needed to work on allocating the correct amount of time to get to and from work and becoming comfortable being amidst large crowds. These crowds and the pace of my commute to work every day often create for stressful situations, however I have developed the time management skills to stay calm and collected when these situations arise. As I have now spent three months working in London, there are a few pieces of advice I would like to share for anyone interning abroad. First of all, do not be nervous about impressing your coworkers or your supervisor immediately. They all understand that this is a huge transition and may take some time to get adjusted to. Secondly, research the work culture that you will be in before showing up for your first day. Each country has different cultural expectations and work and it helps to be well versed on these before even starting. Finally, do not be afraid to make friends in the office. While this is a job and should be taken seriously, it is helpful to like the people that you are working with. If your coworkers invite you to do something outside of work, do not hesitate to be involved and create friendships that will last much longer than just one semester.