While you’re studying abroad you may have the opportunity to do an internship -- and if you do, take it.
For the past three and half months, I have been interning for the Irish Daily Mail at DMG Media in Ballsbridge. And though there have been moments where my fingers flew across keys grinding out a story, there have been times when I would have rather watched a glob of glitter glue dry overnight. But don’t be afraid of those dull moments or fear that you will not be competent or capable enough (my initial thoughts). You are there to learn and assist. And it’s a wonderful opportunity to challenge yourself.
Doing an internship looks great on a resume (CV) and is a great personal accomplishment, especially after dealing with the tough bits.
So incase you’re nervous about going after an internship or starting one, here are 5 tips to help you through the intern life:
1) Always ask questions. There are absolutely no dumb questions for an intern, even if you feel silly asking (me on the daily...ha, no pun intended). An intern is basically a temporary staff member in a work environment where people are aware of your position -- interns are usually new to the game and their internship experience is always one of training and growth. So ask away. That’s what you are there for!
2) Just say hi! Even if you don’t think people notice you. In a busy office, people are usually focused on the work at hand and may not always say hello, or even seem to acknowledge you. Don’t feel bad about this. They aren’t doing it to be mean (usually) or because they don’t care. They are most likely just caught up in thinking about what’s on their computer screen, who they have to call next, when they have to send that email, and which day they promised to have lunch with their grandma. So, just break that barrier: say hello and make friends. You will feel so much better having people to talk to and ask questions to while on the job. And you never know, those professional connections may come in handy down the line!
3) Don’t be afraid to be “annoying”. You may think that having to email or ask an employee or advisor repeatedly for tasks or direction might be annoying, but it’s not. It’s necessary. This is especially true if you notice they are busy. It’s not that they don’t want to give you work or don't feel that you can do the work. Sometimes it just comes down to them being distracted. And personally, most times, I found it was because they accidentally forgot or just missed my email, so it was important for me to be a little persistent. You are there to help, so just let everyone know this and remain friendly and optimistic while doing so.
4) Don’t be afraid to say it’s too much! Some of the internships out there are more work-heavy than others, and they may try to work you to the bone. And this is not because they are punishing you for bad intern behavior or for that time you ate a tuna and onion sandwich in the office (never do it!). It most likely occurs when they realize you have become confident in your work and believe you are able to handle multiple tasks. However, though you might be able to handle it, it’s not worth it if you’re killing yourself. You have to remember that you are only part time and have other obligations, including classes, to worry about. If you feel that the expectations and workload are too much, speak to your advisor or the people you work with and explain this to them. Remind them that you are a student too. They will often forget, but not on purpose. And they are usually very understanding.
5) Collect your work and update your resume! If you are interning at a place that requires you to produce written materials or digital work (and especially if your name's on it), make sure you ask them for PDFs or copies of this work! It's also wise to ask if you are even able to claim content you've created because, unfortunately, some positions may legally claim the rights to content you produce while working for them. But don’t forget or be afraid to ask. And if they say yes, make sure they deliver! You may ask and then things get busy, but don’t let it go! Don’t send emails every hour, but do remind them until you have it. It’s your work. You did a great job and you deserve to have it as a part of your professional portfolio.
And don’t forget to enjoy the experience! And to breathe -- it’s quite the ride.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>Hello, I’m Christena, a 4th-year journalism student at the University of Florida, who has decided to spend a semester experiencing the wonders of Dublin, Ireland. I am passionate about traveling, food, reading, writing and experiencing new and beautiful cultures. I’m a 21-year-old with a thirst for knowledge and adventure, and I’m excited to share all that I find abroad! Happy readings and a jolly good day to you!</p>