Tips on how South African candidates applying for internships abroad can adjust

1. Be open-minded

Planning on going abroad for an internship? Make sure to get as much information as possible, you can never know or learn enough. Be open to discover new things, try different cuisines and experience different cultures. Endless possibilities tend to go hand in hand with new adventures.

2. Avoid touchy subjects

When traveling, you are bound to come in contact with all kinds of people from different walks of life that have morals and principles which may vary from your own. Therefore subjects like homosexuality, abortion, marriage, religion and even politics are best evaded.

3. Dare to try something new every day

Get out there and experience life from someone else’s point of view, sulking indoors and being a couch potato is the easiest way life passes you by. Embrace this wonderful opportunity and make the most of it because before you know it, you’ll be back home and disappointed that you didn’t seize the chance when it presented itself. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain!

4. First work then play!

It is your responsibility to keep the end of your deal by being a productive, progressive employee that will be a valuable asset to the employer. Being punctual, efficient and sociable will be a good reflection on you, your employers and your country that’s why it’s important to bring you’re ‘A’ game. There will always be another chance to have some R and R but there won’t always be another chance to make a good impression, choose wisely.

5. Budget, budget, budget.

Buying things might be more affordable abroad but this does not mean you should go crazy and spend more than you make. Save up some money on the side and I can guarantee that you will love yourself for it later on. I’m not saying don’t spend at all or that you can’t treat yourself now and again, but to do it all in moderation.

6. ‘Lost cause’

Know your way home, I cannot stress this point enough. Make sure you have a backup plan in case you can’t find your way home, for example saving the number of a friend, cab driver or a route to a bus stop. There’s nothing worse than being lost in unfamiliar territory, so make sure you’re always prepared for the worst case scenario.

7. Feeling like a lonely little petunia in an onion patch?

It’s a definite that traveling abroad brings advantages like making new friends but feeling homesick is inevitable and can get very agonizing at times. It’s not easy finding people that you instantly ‘click’ with because good friendships & relationships take time and replacing the strong bonds you’ve already established isn’t always possible. Nonetheless growth comes from change and regardless of distance, some bonds last forever. Embrace feeling out of place but don’t be afraid to meet new people.

8. The world is your oyster

If you are fortunate enough to be granted such an amazing opportunity, you should grab it with both hands. Take risks, fall in love, learn a new language or acquire a new hobby. Whatever you decide as long as it feels good, close your eyes and jump. Better to live a life of “oh wells” than “what ifs”.

Like many choices in life, there will be Pros & Cons. But if you ask me… traveling abroad is always a good idea, no matter how it ends there’s always a lesson to be learned.

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