With only 2 or 3 months to gain as much as you can from this once in a lifetime overseas learning opportunity, time is of the essence. Follow our tips to make the most of your summer internship abroad in China.
1) Eat that stinky tofu, even if it’s only once!
When you push yourself to your boundaries, you really figure out what you are capable of, build your confidence and experience more adventure and excitement in life! Taking a risk doesn’t mean that it will always work out and you may find that you really quite detest that stinky tofu you were so curious to try on the street stall. Fact is you wouldn’t have known this if you hadn’t tried it in the first place. In turn you will learn more about yourself and in this case, discover more about Chinese cuisine along the way.
2) Socialize with other interns
You are more likely to relate to other interns since you are all on the same boat as them with being new to a 9-to-5 as well as China. Unlike your full-time colleagues who are settled and have maybe visited the Great Wall 10 times already, you are on the other hand probably just getting a feel of the working world for the first time and adjusting to life in a new city. By bonding with other interns you are able to share many ‘firsts’ for an even more enriching experience outside of internship hours.
3) Don’t blame it on the weatherman
You’re new to the country and therefore new to the climate. Checking the weather that day/ week can help you to plan your outfit or activities accordingly. Summer in Shanghai for example, can be gorgeous and sunny for days, but being prepared for the showers during the rainy season can really help you to better prepare for outdoor/ indoor activities accordingly.
4) Keep your mobile/ social media updating to a minimum
It can be tempting to show off to your friends from back home by keeping them posted of all your adventures abroad with hourly updates. Although it is good to keep family/ friends aware that you are doing alright every once in a while, remaining hooked on social media sites takes you away from exploring and adventuring the amazing things in the country you are in! In the same way, constantly talking to people in your home country may mean you are missing out on developing great friendships while in China.
5) Sleep in less at the weekends
You’ve worked hard all week so of course it is understandable to want to set your alarm a lot later at the weekend. While this can be tempting, remember that you are in a new country for only a short amount of time. Some people would be desperate to swap places with you! So plan ahead and make the most of your weekend. You could go around with your camera for long walks around hutongs, eat brunch with friends, plan a hike in a nearby town, or test your new language skills out at the clothes market and talk to as many locals as possible.
6) Indulge a LITTLE, gain a LOT!
While being an intern in a foreign country will probably mean you will be on a tight budget, don’t forget that it is okay to splurge a little sometimes. This is especially if you do not know when you will next go back to that country, or if the thing you want to buy/ eat/ do is something that cannot be bought/ eaten/ done in any other country. It is good to get the most of your bucks but sometimes once in a lifetime moments are just that, you won’t get that moment back again!
7) It’s all about day-to-evening wear
This will save you time and maximise your potential (going out potential that is)! Having staple business casual clothes which you can dress up and down for day or evening wear will ultimately save you time if you have important after-work dates. Otherwise it is always worth planning ahead and having spare clothes in the office, plus don’t forget emergency hair products, perfume/ aftershave and mints in your drawer.
8) Do go for Happy Hour with your colleagues
You may think that you’ve spent all day with your colleagues at work, why would you want to hang out with them in the evening too? Non-work related chats and really getting to know your colleagues after work hours can encourage better relationships with colleagues during work hours. Make the time and effort to develop friendships with your co-workers and your internship will be even more enjoyable.
9) Got FOMO (Fear of Missing out)? Good!
When you apply this to your work ethics as well as your social life, it will mean you will not miss out on funny things that happen in the office, it will encourage you to be on time, and develop good habits that are in general a positive for getting that great recommendation or report you need at the end of your internship. Being on time also allows your colleagues and your supervisor to see you as someone that they can rely on showing commitment and integrity to your role.
10) ‘Sleeping beauty’ is named so for a reason
Getting enough rest the night before will enable you to work to your full potential at work the next day. Boosting your health and mood is important for your attitude towards your internship placement as well as your performance. Other advantages of setting your alarm earlier include better memory, clearer thinking and even stronger immunity (bit.ly/1nAQfGR). You will thank yourself in the morning!
Get the most of your 24 hours as well as your internship. Make the efforts and your internship of a lifetime will be something that stays with you much longer than when your placement is over.