Birute – former J-1 Trainee

There are endless questions crossing one’s mind about participating in an internship/training program.
How is it going to be like? What can I do to get the best out of it? Will I make friends?

Is it going to be very different from my home country? What can I expect from my internship? Will it be hard? Will my coworkers help me? Will it be easy to know my way around? Will I be homesick? And the list goes on and on…and on.
Let me share some insider tips on how to get the most out of your internship!

Let me share some insider tips on how to get the most out of your internship!

  1.  Your attitude

It all starts with your attitude! Are you open minded? Are you willing to get to know other cultures and live in a different environment? Are you ready to accept the differences you might encounter?

Trust me, a huge part of your experience will depend on your ATTITUDE. If you are willing to learn, your supervisor and coworkers will be glad to help you and guide you. If you are willing to get to know their culture, they will be glad to share it with you. If you are friendly, people will be friendly with you as well.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Especially in the beginning, many things might seem different from what you are used to and you might not always be sure what to do.
But good news! You will be surrounded by people who live there, so don’t be afraid to ask questions!
What is the best place to shop for groceries? How does banking work in the US? What is the most affordable wireless phone carrier in the area?
There is nothing wrong with asking questions, and not just area/living related, but work related as well!

3. Get involved!

Go where locals go!

Visiting the main attractions in the area is a nice thing, but when you finished, don’t stop there, find out what locals do to have fun! Go to local concerts, activities, market – that’s the best way to get to know the culture you are temporarily living in!

If your colleagues ask you to join them in local activities, don’t be afraid to say yes!

Try the local cuisine!

It’s always very exciting to eat meals that you never had before, so make sure you do try the local specialties! You might like some of the food so much, that you will add them to your own cookbook!!

4. Share your own culture!

It’s not just you who wants to find out more about the host culture, they also want to get to know YOU! Your host company wanted an international intern to have a foreign cultural component in their organization, and they are eager to exchange experiences with you.
Share your country’s customs, bake them your national cookie, tell them what you do in your free time at home, how you celebrate holidays, show them pictures, music and tell them about your favorite national famous achievers.

5. Do your best!

Although you are in the USA to learn, it does not mean that you just need to listen…try your best to complete the tasks assigned to you in a timely and professional manner and DO take your internship very seriously. The more you get involved and the more enthusiastic you are about your internship/professional training, the better tasks you will get. You can improve your skills and knowledge the most, if you try to do your best!

So start with a great attitude, get involved, have fun, enjoy your stay, share your culture and make sure that you are not the only one who is getting a great experience but you are also somebody who creates value at your host company & host family!