We love interning abroad because it means the chance to see another part of the world. New cultures, new architecture, and cities and villages each with its own exclusive vibe waiting to be discovered. They say experience is the best form of education, and it’s not hard to see why: The world is a virtual textbook. The last thing anyone wants is to have their precious work abroad time disrupted.
Having a safe and stress free experience throughout your internship abroad is simply a matter of taking care of some basics before you ship out. Top internship programs like CareerUp are designed with your safety in mind, so a lot of the logistical concerns are already taken care of. Staying in a safe part of the city, having reliable transportation, and exploring in groups are all safety measures we think of and arrange, so you don’t have to! This is part of what makes CareerUp worth it.
Still, there are a few things you should take care of before joining us; assembling your own arsenal of preventative knowledge will serve you well in your travels to come.
Often as tourists, we are bound to stick out no matter what we do, but when you stand out in a negative way because of your attire, language, or gestures, that isn’t an ideal situation. Thankfully, we live in the age of knowledge and informing yourself on cultural differences to avoid this kind of attention is easier than ever before.
Rule number one is to research the destination you are travelling to!
Give yourself a good chunk of time- coffee in hand- to read up on: which areas are safe; whether being out at night is cautioned against;the degree of conservative dress expected of men and women (in some countries, men’s cargo shorts and even sneakers will get you some awkward looks); and any tips from seasoned travellers or locals familiar with the area.
The more you know about the destination you are going to, the better equipped you are to avoid wandering into a bad neighbourhood or standing out for risky attire. A general travelling tip to carry with you for life is to never go into a foreign country without having researched what that area of the world is like. This will ensure you are respectful of others’ culture and always feel comfortable yourself!
And remember: if you are ever unsure about something- from logistical concerns to cultural- CareerUp has an on-ground coordinator local to the destination always available to you.
When out and about, have a route
When you find yourself going on an adventure outside of the city, it’s a good idea to have planned out your route beforehand. A tell-tale sign of a tourist is someone who doesn’t know where they are going.
As you look from your iPhone map to the signs, to the map, to the heavens… it becomes particularly obvious: you’re lost. A ‘helpful’ stranger may see an opportunity to syphon a few bucks off of you by providing directions which actually end up leading you to their friend’s jewellery establishment for a bargain.
Let’s talk strategy
Before you hit the road for the day, give yourself a refresher: Review your itinerary and directions on how to get from place to place. Because we are human, let’s assume that at some point, your memory fails you. The ‘man on a mission’ look is not always possible- sometimes we forget our directions are truly just lost, it happens. Seasoned travellers know how to get around this.
One option is to take a lap: go on a trip around the block, use the time to pull out your phone, and orient yourself. Alternatively, look for a cafe or other shop nearby to go into and ask for directions. If you are travelling with an internship abroad program, you may not need the above tips at all. Some interning abroad programs, including CareerUp, arrange weekend adventures for you and have your on-ground coordinator leading the way.
No sketchy jewellery shops for you.
Before you get on that plane, promise yourself you will fork out the money for travel insurance
No doubt about it, none of us like to pay more money for something that we probably won’t use after already having spent a large sum for the trip itself. BUT- you must.
No, you probably won’t need it.
No, you won’t want to pay for it.
And no, there is no refund if you don’t use it.
Nonetheless, travel insurance is just plain a good idea. On the off chance you catch a virus or get a wicked road injury while racing around on a scooter, you will commend yourself for having been so wise. Seriously, a small investment could save you unfathomable amounts of money.
A quick note for the ladies:
Some places in the world are regarded as more dangerous than others, but venturing anywhere in the world as a female requires common sense and awareness- even in your own city.
As part of your pre-departure research, make sure you look up what is considered flirtatious behaviour. In North America, eye contact or the friendly touching of someone’s arm are indications of being emotionally open and responsive. In other cultures, eye contact is considered to be a form of flirtation; It’s best to know these things to avoid any unwanted marriage proposals.
Travelling- whether it be via interning abroad, for work, or a vacation- is thrilling. You will meet fascinating people, have unexpected conversations, find mentors and form lifelong friendships. There is an abundance of knowledge through experience waiting for you out there and it only requires that you do a bit of work before you leave home.
This may very well be your first time away from home alone and if it is, the great news is you are always taken care of by our team! If you are interning abroad with CareerUp, we can guarantee you there will always be someone to turn to with your questions.
What are you waiting for? Go read about your interning abroad destination choices and have fun picking!