Interning Internationally

After working at Anderson Tours for nearly six weeks now, I feel confident that I can now talk about all aspects of the internship in an accurate way. The start of my internship was a little bit stressful, and nothing went according to plan in the beginning. Because I was out of the country at the time that the company wanted to interview me, I had to do an in-person interview before I could even start working. The day that my interview was scheduled to be turned out to be a bank holiday in London, so I commuted all the way to the office only to find no one there. Initially, I was panicking thinking that I had read the instructions wrong or went to the wrong address, but CAPA assured me that it was just miscommunication between them and Anderson Tours. I ended up being able to interview the following day, and officially started the internship the day after that.

The place that I am interning at is actually the same company that one of my best friends from Pitt interned at last summer. Because of that, I was able to immediately connect with both my manager and my coworkers because of our mutual connection with this person. That mutual connection did a good job at breaking the ice between all of us, and we were all able to build a deeper connection from that point on. Considering this is my first legitimate internship in the accounting field and it was international, I was unsure of what to expect. I tried to go in with an open mind, but subconsciously thought that the workplace would be very professional, and that work lives and personal lives would not intersect. I think that assumption caused me to act reserved in the beginning and be hesitant to share personal details about my life. However, I worked in very small department and it was only my manager, two employees, another intern, and myself. I think the size of our department caused the environment to be less professional than I expected, and once I observed my co-workers sharing personal details about themselves, I became comfortable opening up. I can now say that all of us are more of friends than co-workers, and they have all been extremely helpful and made my time at the company both beneficial to my learning and a lot of fun. 

As far as advice for other students who are planning on participating in an international internship, I would suggest that they do their best to be open to any type of experience. I know that having an open mind is something that people say a lot within this context, but I went in thinking I had an open mind and I really didn’t. Working internationally allows for a lot of possibilities and interactions with people who are nothing like you. Because of that, if you go in expecting things to be a certain way you are most likely going to be let down and have a negative outlook for remainder of your time working there. One of the benefits of doing an international internship is that it is completely different than something you would experience back home. So, embrace those differences and recognize the value in them, that way you can make the absolute most of your time working abroad and express it to potential employers later on.