Ready to have a summer full of unique experiences in an encouraging yet professional environment in Asia?
Living and working abroad through a summer internship program can give you an experience of a lifetime, even if it’s only 2 to 3 months long.
Summer internships are typically held during May to August depending on the company’s timeline and your availability.
January and February are prime months for competitively seeking out summer internships; it’s important to apply early because there are many applicants applying to the same field.
With college undergraduates going forward with their career, an internship abroad is a sure fire way of setting you apart from the rest, making you more attractive to your future employers.
That one internship you did over the summer abroad could be the difference between winning a job opportunity or losing it to someone who did it previously.
Three to five months will give you just enough time to submit your summer internship applications and to be able to go through the interview process smoothly.
If everything goes according to plan, you will have been placed with a company through AIP.
Not entirely sure what to expect next?
We've provided you with the top 7 tips to make the most out of your summer internship.
Packing List For Summer
Of course, summer means a much hotter climate, unless you’re going to Australia.
In Asia, many destinations experience heat waves, monsoon rain, and humidity.
Especially during summer, it can get up to 40°C which is equivalent to 104°F.
Create a packing list to help you decide what to bring.
This is a no-brainer but bring your important documents such as but not limited to: passports and visa documents; extra copies of these may come in handy.
Apart from those, your list should include summer-related clothing and important medication: a light jacket, hat or any first-aid drugs for when you eat food that might upset your stomach.
Street food in Asia is one way to save your budget but often, it has a reputation for making foreigners sick.
Moreover, what if your battery runs out while you are outside in a country where you cannot speak the language?
In today’s world of modern technology, a smartphone can merely last a day without its battery running out; powerbank, for one, is essential to have.Equally important is to know what not bring.
This means a packed toiletry bag of full-sized personal care products of shampoo, soap, lotion, etc; they are provided in every convenience store, therefore, you save on your luggage space.
Nothing is more embarrassing than showing up to your destination country not knowing anything about manners and etiquette.
Do your homework and learn about cultural exchange to show a sense of cultural sensitivity.
For instance, you might want to practice the greetings whether it’s a bow or a ‘wai.’
In most cases, a handshake is universal but play on the safe side by which forms of greetings to acknowledge their presence.
Be prepared for culture shocks; not everything is in rainbow colors.
Come with an open mind and embrace everything you see in front of your eyes.
Always respect others; you are in their country to better yourself, so the least you can do is to be nice, inside and outside your workplace.
The key is to have fun.
Time is valuable; now is the time to step outside your comfort zone.
Say yes to new opportunities.
Our intern, Joseph Raymond, from our Thai Summer Program 2018, comments;
“Find something that will improve your employability by increasing your experience, skill-set, and confidence. Seek well-roundedness in your field. Don’t be afraid to be different and pursue opportunities that others deem too out-of-the-ordinary or risky. Commit to something and pursue it with boldness. Summer internships only last for a few months, which is too little time to get fully ingrained in a company but too much time to let go to waste.”
See Joseph's testimonial on YouTube here.
Due to globalization, the work environment is diverse and cultural differences are everywhere bringing more people of diverse nations together.
You cannot forget about the cultural aspects of the companies’ and industries’ business etiquette and core values.
Don’t let the word “business etiquette” scare you.
According to David Clive Price, author of The Master Key to Asia and The Master Key to China, the principle religion or beliefs, nuances of respect and hierarchy, attitude to ‘collectivism,’ and approach to punctuality are fundamental to know.
Demonstrate fair-mindedness and inclusivity at all times and build a network of business associates that reflects the country’s ethnic and religious diversity.
“Before the internship, I was very eager and always thought of new questions to ask my company. Regarding this, I recommend collecting your questions and sending them emails with several questions. Once I start my internship in the beginning, I felt a little shy. If you do not have work, ask if you can help out somewhere. There is always something to do. Join the gatherings after work hours; it is a South Korean culture and a great opportunity to talk to your colleagues. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You are a foreigner after all and they will understand.”
Another one of our interns at Asia Internship Program, Carolin Wischmann, who interned in South Korea asserts, “try to use the weekends to your fullest. I personally did a “Must Do and See List” before my trip and added recommendations from my colleagues and friends. Try to learn how to read the local language, at least some words. A lot of local restaurants do not have English menus but no worries! Everyone always tries to help you out. The most important thing is to enjoy your time to its fullest and also explore the areas outside of your placed country.”
Create a bucket list of a list of all the things you want to accomplish, goals you want to reach and life experiences you want to make the most out of this summer.
See Caronlin's testimonial on YouTube here.
“I also volunteered in Chiang Rai, where I taught English to school children English. I created an incredible bond with those kids. We learned and spoke English together, we played ping pong and soccer together, and we sang together. The teachers there welcomed me with open arms and showed me around the province. This experience is the result of being open to new opportunities and it’s one I’ll never forget,” later reflected by Joseph Raymond.
To help a community out, volunteering is the way to make a difference.
It increases your self-confidence and life satisfaction, which provides a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Your role as a volunteer can definitely be considered a meaningful contribution to a worthwhile cause.
This can be a way to build up your communication skills and competence.
Have met and greets with new faces to connect with one another.
Ask a lot of questions because employers who think that interns who ask questions are motivated and want to gain knowledge from an outside perspective.
Don’t ever be nervous to speak up.
Create a LinkedIn account if you don’t have one yet.
In this day and age, most professionals have an account.
This way, you can still keep contacts and maintain long term relationships.
Jonathan Fitzgerald, an intern placed by AIP in Singapore narrates, “interning abroad might be scary. I think it’s the most rewarding experience that can be done. When you look back on it, after you do it, you’ll be so glad that you’ve went abroad and you got to experience a different culture because you’ll never have the opportunity to do something like this again in your life. So, by all means get out there and do it.”
See Jonathan's testimonial on YouTube here.
In summary, interning abroad is a great opportunity to gain invaluable life experience and to go beyond your capacities.
Best of luck.