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Why Interning Abroad is Not Scary

January 12, 2016
by CEA MOJO
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Here we are at about the halfway point of the semester – midterms are just about finished and it’s getting colder. At work we’re preparing for the Christmas markets and some leftover back to school orders which still need to be fulfilled. I’ve settled into a nice routine at work, which is good, because it provides a healthy amount of balance. At this point, I know mostly what’s expected of me in a given day, and I’ve become comfortable making suggestions and taking more initiative and responsibility.

Totally not scary at all.

 My internship has never gotten in the way of my travels.
Here's a picture from Poland!

I was super intimidated by the whole situation when I first started here. I had what I thought was only a vague idea of how things were going to work and more anxiety than concrete answers. Okay, so a bit of a case of new-thing jitters, but that’s normal.

The fact that CEA is setting you up with an internship abroad should be a big factor in easing your worries. Often, they know the potential employers personally and can find a good match for you. The whole point of the program is getting you work experience abroad, and they’re willing to do whatever they need to do in order to make sure that happens. Really, they work with you every step of the way, from actually asking you what you are interested in doing and then going out and finding something to fit with what you’re looking for, to periodic checks throughout the semester to make sure you’re doing okay. They will act as a mediator for you if things with your employer aren’t going as smoothly as you might like, and if it comes down to it, they’ll help reassign you to a different internship if something isn’t working out.

The rest of it is really up to you. Because I’m working in a small business, I’ve become really close with the other employees there because we see each other so often. On one of the first weeks, my bosses actually bought me dinner!

 Origami skills improving. More Halloween decorations for the shop!

A big part of this process is simply adapting, which is not always as easy as it sounds. I still find myself a little timid when asking for clarification about a task or something else that should be simple but I still need assistance with. And that just happens – you ask and it’s over with. A big thing I’ve learned so far this semester is realizing that it’s okay to not look smart or put together sometimes.

Also, an internship will not eat up all your time! The requirement is at least 100 hours for the entire semester – I’ve been working only about 8 to 10 hours a week and I’m right on track. Communicate with your employers near the beginning to get a schedule put together – don’t forget to ask for time off for travel, either for independent travel (Paris here I come!) or for CEA sponsored trips. Trust me, there’s no harm in asking!

Michelle Robins is a Fall 2015 MOJO Blogger in Prague, Czech Republic. She is currently a junior at Augsburg College.


Read more about our CEA MOJO Bloggers & Photographers.
 
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