Interning Abroad

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At this point in the semester, I am starting to look back on my first few weeks abroad and how those initial impressions have changed since then. Now that I’ve been at my internship for a couple months, it is easy to reflect on the transition process that I experienced as I entered the new role. It is also interesting to compare the transition that I had with an Argentine company with that of my internships in the United States.

The company that I’m interning with is called Social Impact Consulting. They are contracted by a large international firm called Newsan that distributes food and produces home appliances. The two collaborated to create Newsan IN, a sector of Newsan that focuses on the sustainable replacement of returned or slightly damaged products. Rather than considering these goods to be waste, Newsan IN works with individuals from impoverished areas to pursue their own entrepreneurial efforts, and refurbish these products for resale. Not only does this new system have a positive environmental impact, but it also reflects on Newsan’s devotion to giving back and improving the social welfare of the Buenos Aires community. 

Because there are so many moving parts within my internship, it did take some time to become comfortable in the new role. The first few weeks were spent observing each facet of the organization, and affiliating myself with the individual subgroups. My manager was very helpful in this process because she accompanied me to each meeting, introduced me to everyone, and made an effort to keep me included (especially when I couldn’t keep up with the Spanish). This was one of the most difficult parts of adjusting into my position because many of the meetings were conducted in Spanish. Although I’m somewhat competent in the language, it was hard for me to make any valuable contributions at first because I was so focused on following the conversations. 

My supervisor knew that there would be a learning curve in this regard and has since adapted my tasks to better meet my skills and capabilities. This has taught me that it’s very important to be transparent with a manager, and tell them when there are any questions or concerns. I found that open communication between my supervisor and I has allowed for a more productive use of our time working together. It has also helped me get the most out of the experience because I am doing the tasks that I feel best support my marketing knowledge and career goals.