Dear Future Intern,

Congratulations! You have a wealth of amazing experiences that await you abroad, wherever you may go! Below, I have attached five pieces of advice from my experience in Jakarta. I wish you all the best and good luck!

1. Your perspective will change.

Interning abroad can be a life-changing experience that will broaden your perspective and challenge your assumptions in ways you never thought possible. Being immersed in a new culture can help you gain a deeper understanding of the world around you and develop a more nuanced view of different societies and their customs. Be humble in this process– you have a lot to learn. You’ll learn to appreciate the richness and diversity of human experience and gain a greater appreciation for the things you previously took for granted. It’s not just about learning about other people, but also about learning about yourself and your own biases and prejudices.

me and my coworker Nidhal

2. Say yes to new things!

While it can be daunting to step out of your comfort zone and try new things, saying yes to new experiences as possible is the best way to make the most of your time abroad. Whether it’s doing things alone, trying a new type of food, meeting new people, or travelling to a new place, saying yes will help you create unforgettable memories and gain a wealth of experiences you can’t find anywhere else. Learn to be okay with being uncomfortable– this is where your growth happens!

From Left: CAPI Intern Charlotte Clar, me, my coworker Fabian, and CAPI Intern Haley Ham

3. Be generous.

Generosity is an important trait to have when interning abroad. Not only will it help you make new friends and form deeper connections with the people you meet, but it will also help you to be more understanding and compassionate toward others. Be generous with your time, experiences, culture sharing, and space– especially when you will be met with so much generosity from others! Additionally, being generous with your time, energy and willingness to help will go a long way when it comes to working in a team or with people from different backgrounds.

“Kros Kado” (gift exchange / Secret Santa) at CIPS

4. Give yourself time to adjust.

Adjusting to life in a new country can be challenging and takes time. Be kind and patient with yourself as you navigate cultural differences, language barriers, and feelings of homesickness. Even the most seasoned travellers will go through an adjustment period, so don’t be discouraged if it takes you a little longer to feel settled. Take time to find your footing, explore your new surroundings and establish a routine that works for you. Do not hesitate to reach out to other people, as well as to your supervisors and colleagues to ask for help and advice.

My friend Hannah and I in Bali during Christmas break

5. Appreciate the opportunity that has been given to you.

Interning abroad is a unique and privileged opportunity that not many people get to experience. It’s important to take the time to appreciate the opportunity you’ve been given and to make the most of your time abroad. Remember that while the internship itself is important, the broader experiences and lessons you gain will serve you well in the long term. Be open to learning, be open to experiencing new things, and be grateful for the chance you have to live, work and travel in a foreign country. You will get out what you put in. 

Interning abroad is an incredible opportunity that will change your perspective, push you out of your comfort zone, and give you an unparalleled opportunity to learn about the world and about yourself. Keep an open mind, be generous, and make the most of your time abroad. Good luck!

– Keiran 🙂