Feeling The Pressure Of Interning Abroad This Summer?

Most people experience pressure in their working life, and so it is only natural that you will probably come under pressure during your internship abroad. After all, not only do you have the stresses and strains that working brings, but this is something that is entirely new to you, and you’re experiencing it in a new country. Of course, this is an exciting experience that can open the door to your future career, but this does not mean that you are not allowed to feel stressed from time to time. 

Keeping that in mind, continue reading to discover everything you need to know regarding internship pressure, including how to prepare effectively for your internship to minimize pressure and how to deal with the weight on your shoulders during your overseas placement. 

How to prepare for an internship abroad

No matter whether you have a summer internship in the UK, you are considering internships in New York, you are going to volunteer in Tanzania, or you are planning on interning somewhere different, you need to be prepared. Being prepared is one of the best ways to reduce stress and lessen the pressure during your internship. So, let’s take a look at six steps you should take to prepare:

    1. Familiarize yourself with the company and your surroundings – You should do as much research as possible about the company you are interning at and the city you are staying in. By doing this, you will not be shocked by anything when you arrive at your internship. You will already have a mental picture built up of what the city and company are like, and this will be built on hard facts. This will also make you feel more confident on your first day.
  • Be prepared to be lonely – You are going to be lonely at first – this is natural. After all, you are in a new location and you don’t have any of your friends or family there. However, this will soon wear off and you will meet some incredible people. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help – If you are lost or need help at work; don’t be afraid to ask for it. After all, an internship is a learning experience.
  • Avoid sensitive topics – You need to remember that you are going to come across people that come from different walks of life than you. This is why you are advised to avoid any sensitive topics, such as same-sex marriages and religion.
  • Step out of your comfort zone – You have probably already stepped out of your comfort zone by doing an internship abroad and going to a new country. Don’t stop there. You have come this far, so don’t be the person that sits in their room watching television or messaging friends from home. 
  • Come with a clean slate – If you don’t go with an open mind, you will struggle with the experience. Don’t have expectations or be closed off to the experience. You need to fully embrace it and be open to the possibilities that present themselves to you. 

What pressures may you have while doing your internship abroad?

  • Language barrier – If you don’t speak the language of the country you are visiting, this can present barriers. Try and learn it. Even if you don’t do so well, the locals will appreciate your efforts and be more willing to help.
  • Cultural differences – Getting used to cultural differences can be a big challenge, as people often get a big shock.
  • Relationships with colleagues – If you are struggling to get along with your colleagues, this can put stress on your shoulders. You should work to rectify these relationships, but don’t let them dictate your entire experience.
  • Workload – Interns are not used to the demands that come with daily working life, and thus they can struggle to keep up with the workload. 
  • Financial problems – Some interns struggle financially when they are abroad because the living costs are more expensive than what they are used to. This is why you are advised to do research about this beforehand and put together a solid financial plan. 

How to deal with pressure when interning abroad 

    • Creating your own agenda – Give yourself tasks to accomplish every day. This could be learning a new skill or meeting a new person. This will help you to feel purposeful and achieve more, which is especially beneficial if you are in an environment where you feel as though you are just randomly assigned tasks with no consideration or assistance. 
  • Take short breaks throughout the day – A great way to deal with stress is to take short breaks throughout the day. This will help you to refresh your mind and regroup. This can be as simple as stepping outside the office for five minutes. This allows you to reduce the strain. It is a good coping technique for anyone to deploy in a working environment. 
  • The company may be able to help you – If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the experience, you should talk to your supervisor. They may be able to lessen the workload or provide you with some assistance. A lot of people are hesitant about doing this, as they don’t want their supervisor to think they are not good enough. However, you will never be able to perform efficiently if you feel like you are drowning in the workload.
  • Listen to your body – It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you do not look after yourself, i.e. if you do not get enough sleep or exercise regularly, you can end up feeling even more stressed. Working out is a great way of boosting your mood and a good night’s sleep will ensure you start the day with the right attitude. Try to maintain healthy eating habits and do a bit of exercise every week, even if it is a 15-minute walk every day. 
  • Look for someone to confide in – As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. Thus, it is a good idea to look for someone to confide in. You will feel much better once you talk about your problems. It can often feel like the weight has been lifted off your shoulders. The individual you confide in may even be able to offer you some great advice, which will help you when dealing with the issue you are facing. 

Are you still deciding where to intern? What about Shanghai?

It is not difficult to see why Shanghai is a popular destination for interns. Working and living in the area can be an exciting experience, to say the least, as it is a colourful and rich city. You will also get to experience a unique workplace culture, which is completely different to Western working environments as well as other countries in Asia. Not only is this interesting, but it will look impressive on your CV and stand you in good stead for the future. If this is a city that interests you, read on to discover the ten things you should do when you have your internship in Shanghai.

  • Learn about the culture in Shanghai – The culture in Shanghai is intriguing to say the least. There are many unique cultural attractions you can enjoy visiting during your stay. Why not take a trip to a traditional teahouse? Or, there is the Shanghai Propaganda Poster and Art Museum, the Shanghai Gran Theater, and various temples, such as Jade Buddha Temple.
  • Find out about the various things to do in the city – This leads to the next part perfectly; you should find various things to do in the city while you are not working so that you can really make the most of your experience. Shanghai certainly lives up to its reputation as a shopper’s paradise, and there are various spas if you would like to relax and unwind.
  • Look for accommodation – You need somewhere to sleep, right?
  • Learn about life as an intern in Shanghai – You can do this via researching online and talking to people at your internship. They will be able to tell you about other people that have interned – maybe that is how they started off. 
  • Learn Mandarin if you don’t already know it – There is no better way to learn a language than to be in a country and experience it firsthand. 
  • Taste the local cuisine – When doing an internship in China, you simply must try the delicious local cuisine. You will be seriously missing out if you don’t. There are many dishes that are worthy of a try, including the famous Xiaolongbao. This soup dumpling is a classic.
  • Make new friends – Making new friends can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. However, thanks to the Internet, there are various forums for getting to know other interns in Shanghai. 
  • Get VPN – A lot of websites are blocked in China, which is why you are advised to get VPN. Blocked websites include Google+, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. To solve this issue, you can install a VPN, which will mask your I.P. address. This makes it look like you are connected from another country, even though you are in China, so that you can access the blocked websites. 
  • Look for volunteer opportunities – This is a great way for you to fully embrace the local community and give something back.
  • Mind the culture difference – Finally, as briefly touched upon in the introduction, the workplace culture in China is very different from any Western country. This is why you need to mind the culture difference between eastern and western workplaces if your internship is to be a success. The key is to be loyal to your supervisor and obedient.
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