What About an Internship Abroad?

Leo T. McCarthy Center blog - Nichole

Nichole Vasquez
Privett Global Scholars participant

When I first learned about the Privett Global Scholars at a school information session, I immediately knew this was something I wanted to do.

The program is a ten-week internship in Udaipur, India where students are placed at NGO’s (non-governmental organizations), to complete a sustainable development project. When I first heard a former program participant talk about her experience abroad, her account consisted learning Hindi, few people at her work speaking English, and living with a host family eating traditional Indian food three times a day.

I myself, knew little to nothing about India, its culture, or what sustainable development looked like. The unfamiliarity of the experience pulled me in, and a couple months later I was living in India with a host family, interning at an NGO, and embracing a culture I had known little about.

Leo T. McCarthy Center blog

When searching for and working at my internship, I learned many different things along the way. Here are the three most important:

  1. Find the resources on campus and in the community.

Take the time to look around campus and the community to see what services, organizations, and other resources are available to you. Internships, jobs, and volunteer opportunities are available where you least expect it.

  1. Try something new!

Even if something doesn’t sound like it’s your thing, go for it! You never know if a new experience could spark a new passion or even lead to your next job.

  1. Keep an open mind.

To get the most out of the internship experience, try to keep an open mind. Learning about a new culture and workplace can be overwhelming, but try to form friendships and listen to your co­workers, bosses, and the people you meet along the way.

I was fortunate enough that this internship led me to my next job as an Advocate for Community Engagement through the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good. In this position, I work between a non-profit and students at USF. Although now I am back in the U.S., my time in India equipped me with the skills necessary to work in a non-profit.

While an internship can be the experience of work itself, it is truly more than that. It is made up of the environment, the people you meet, and the experiences you have. An internship, no matter how close or far, can be the experience of a lifetime!

This post is part of the Looksharp Internship Blog Competition. To read more about the competition and view other posts go here.

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