Home

 

Getting Experience

- # of # Filtered -

Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern In Rome

Q&A with Tanya: Interned in Italy
Share this
Print this
Tanya
Interned in Italy
University of Wisconsin: Oshkosh
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
When I wanted to make a career change I looked back at what impacted me the most as an undergrad -- and that was studying abroad.
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
I’m so glad that I started looking into it months before I had to travel, because that was an extensive process.
Her thoughts on The Application Process
There was no official application, just me taking an idea and running with it!
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
By looking at my experiences as adventures instead of challenges, I shaped those experiences positively.
Her thoughts on Communicating Abroad
The most important thing that I learned when 2087 was to take things with a grain of salt, be flexible, and laugh at your mistakes. It’s just as hard for the people you are trying to communicate with as it is for you!
Her thoughts on The Application Process
My number one tip would be not to give up on something you really want to do! I heard a lot of “no” before I finally heard “yes”!

When and where did you intern abroad?

I interned abroad from January to April, 2010 in Rome, Italy. I worked as an intern in the Student Life Office at The American University of Rome (AUR).

What made you want to intern abroad?

I actually didn’t know that I wanted to intern abroad until I started working towards my master’s degree! I was completing my degree in Student Personnel Administration at Concordia University Wisconsin with the goal of someday working in International Education. Part of my program required me to complete a number of credits within different areas of higher education. I’d studied abroad as an undergrad and when I wanted to make a career change I looked back as to what impacted me the most in university, and that was studying abroad. I’d spent a semester in London, England and it was life-changing! This time around I chose to intern in the student life office (for credit), which allowed me to work with all the incoming study abroad students on campus.

How did you conduct your search? What made you select your program/company?

Honestly, I went about things kind of randomly. When I started thinking about the possibility of interning abroad I didn’t really tell anyone because I wasn’t sure that it could be a reality. No one in my program had done anything similar. I really had to focus on what would satisfy my internship requirements but would also fit with my goals. I was sitting on my bed one day in July (I started planning six months ahead of time) and I narrowed down my list of programs to one region (Europe held the most appeal for me), and then narrowed it down to English-speaking universities within that region. From there, I put together a cover letter explaining my situation: that I was basically looking to work abroad in their office for free, my credits were coming from my home university and I just needed help finding housing. I Googled English-speaking universities, spent time looking over their sites, found contacts I thought might be able to help me, and emailed my letter and résumé. I received a lot of negative responses, but then an email came from the Provost at AUR saying he thought they could help me, and he forwarded my contact info to the Director of the Student Life Office. From there, we emailed back and forth and things sounded very positive. I took my findings to our internship director and we all agreed it sounded like a great fit and an awesome experience! So, I didn’t really end up choosing the company, they chose me!

Did anyone help you with pre-departure preparation?

Since this was such a unique experience, no one really knew what the protocol was. The hardest thing I had to do was apply for the Italian visa. I’m so glad that I started looking into it months before I had to travel, because it was an extensive process. I had to get a letter with proof of funds, ask the university to write me a letter stating that I was a student, get a letter from my insurance company, and get a letter from AUR stating what I would be doing in Italy. I remember sitting there, wondering if it was really going to happen. Will these people really take time to help me out? And they did! Since I’d already studied abroad once before, I was familiar with the other practicalities of traveling abroad. I definitely didn’t pack as much as I had the first time; and I gave myself plenty of time to get everything ready.

What was the intern application process like? What made you successful?

My application process was a bit out of the ordinary. There was no official application, just me taking an idea and running with it! I think that I made it successful by being focused and determined in what I wanted to do. Having the support of both campuses definitely made the process easier.

Did you participate in extra-curricular or social activities while interning abroad? If so, how did they differ from social activities in your home culture?

I was actually very lucky. Even though I was working with the students that came to AUR, my coworkers let me participate in some of the events as if I was a student. I got to go with a group to Tuscany to participate in pasta-making and wine tasting; I led a group of students on a trip to the Vatican to see the Pope; I went with them on sightseeing walks through Rome. It was very different from my home university’s culture, mainly in the terms of location and accessibility. As a master’s student at home, I didn’t participate in a lot of campus activities. I worked during the day and took classes at night, and my university was very secluded. But being in Rome, the campus and the community are intertwined. Everything felt more accessible. My internship allowed me to participate in social activities and see what it would be like for the students that were at AUR. As part of my internship requirements I also wrote a blog, chronicling my experiences while in Rome.

What made your experience abroad a success?

For me it was going into the internship with an open mind. I went abroad not knowing what to expect. I hadn’t met anyone I was going to be working with, I’d never been to Rome, and I hadn’t been abroad in five years. By looking at my experiences as adventures instead of challenges, I shaped them positively. I’m a pretty laid back person, so being flexible was also an advantage for me. When I got to Rome, AUR put me in an apartment, so I unpacked and got situated; but a week later they realized they needed my apartment for students! They found me another one, but I had just an hour to pack up my stuff and move a few blocks down the street. This could have been a challenge for some students but I just took it as part of the experience of living abroad! I also give a lot of credit to my coworkers at AUR. They were wonderful, and extremely supportive. They definitely made my experience go from good to great and I’m very thankful for that!

What was the most important thing you learned about communicating in a foreign culture?

Communicating was definitely the trickiest part of being in Italy, because I didn’t know Italian. It was easy while I was at AUR, because everyone spoke English, but once I went out into Rome it got really interesting. I had a little phrase book that I’d bought before I left home, and I’d learned some phrases, but I was nowhere near being able to have a conversation. One night I decided to go out to dinner at the traditional Italian restaurant across from my apartment. I lived a bit off the beaten path and was used to the restaurants in the more touristy areas, which tend to have some English on the menu. I was in for a surprise when this one was completely in Italian. I was able to figure out what pizza was and what was on it (or so I thought) and I managed to order a pizza and wine (everyone knows “vino”). My pizza came back with all kinds of random mushrooms and salami and other strange stuff. Thankfully, I’m not a picky eater, but I remember thinking to myself “is this what I ordered?!” I should have known it was something unusual when the little old waiter looked at me strangely when I placed my order! The most important thing that I learned while communicating abroad was to take things with a grain of salt, be flexible, and laugh at your mistakes. It’s just as hard for the people you are trying to communicate with as it is for you!

What is your number one tip for anyone hoping to follow in your footsteps?

In my situation it was all about turning a goal into a reality. My number one tip would be not to give up on something you really want to do! I heard a lot of “no” before I finally heard “yes” from AUR. I could have quit earlier, but I knew that interning abroad was something I really wanted to do. Also, start your process early; it takes time to get everything ready to go overseas and you’ll definitely be one step ahead if you give yourself time.

Do you have any final observations on your experience?

Since I interned abroad I’ve been able to achieve my goal of working in the field of international education. I’m currently working as a Study Abroad Advisor and I often tell students my stories from abroad in the hope that it will get them interested in gaining overseas experience.

What are your future plans for going abroad and for your career?

I’ve used my time abroad to help me build a career in higher education. I was pursuing a master's degree during my internship abroad with the hope of becoming a study abroad advisor when I finished. I finished my internship/time abroad in 2010 and have worked my way into the field, first as a study abroad assistant and most recently as a study abroad advisor. I don't have any current career goals except to gain more knowledge and to advance within the field. As for going back abroad, I'm hoping to get a chance to do overseas site visits for my position and hopefully will have time to schedule some vacations as well!

Advice from MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey, Publisher

Tanya’s career goals are well-defined, with a strong international component. Her proactive attitude will serve her well as she pushes to expand her current role as an advisor and incorporates more international travel. We commend her for pursuing a career that not only allows her to build international skills, but is also geared towards helping others realize their international goals. Tanya could offer to take on additional responsibility at work and become even more involved in the management dimension of the program. Should Tanya wish to further develop her international career, being fluent in a foreign language would serve her well; and although her job is located in the US, she might consider using vacation time to volunteer abroad in a developing nation, simply to maximize her knowledge of international programs.

  • Should Tanya decide to take some time to volunteer abroad in a developing nation, the Types of Volunteer-sending Organizations article provides a broad overview of the many options available.
  • 24 Ways to Go International offers great advice on how to build international skills on and off-campus. Tanya might use some of the suggestions herself or share them with the students she advises.
Tanya's Next Steps
Advice from MyWorldAbroad
by the founder of MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey
Want to Have the Same Experience?
In a Rush? Read These Articles First
These carefully chosen articles will lead you to our most important go abroad strategies!
Discover the Career Value of Going Abroad
Get the facts! See surveys and stats linking your experiences abroad to future career success.
Sample Application Documents: See How Others Did It!
Get inspired by actual documents that real students used to apply for internships, volunteer positions and other go abroad experiences.
Quick Guides! Our Most Popular Go Abroad Topics
View, print or share our easy-to-use guides available in English, French and Spanish.
The World Online
Want to stay in touch with the world? Check out these top (and sometime quirky) links!
Are You Prepared for the International Job Search?
How much do you know about international jobs in your field? Get ready for a targeted job search!
Do You Have Enough International Experience?
Have you maximized your international experience? Are you ready for the international job search? Find out!
What's Your International IQ?
How much do you really know about living and working abroad? Take this quiz to find out!
Quizzes: Your Master Scorecard
Check your scores for all quiz categories: international skills, experience & the job search.
Career-Boosting Strategies for International Students Studying in North America
What does it take for an international student to succeed in North America? We’ve got tips to help you thrive!
Earn $25 Gift Card & Submit Your Story From Abroad
Been abroad? Want to share your story? Submit your Q&A today to see your experience online!
Self-Evaluations: Think Analytically About Going Abroad
Keep track of your evolving international skill set before, during and after your international experience. Be ready to apply for jobs in the global economy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to all your questions about MyWorldAbroad by diving into our Frequently Asked Questions section.
Your International Resume & LinkedIn
Write your international resume first, and then create that all-important LinkedIn profile.
Top Tips on Going Abroad & Your Career
Scan our top tips in 40 go abroad subject areas: international skills, getting experience, finding work, and the professions.
International Skills: Be More Than Just a Tourist!
International people have a unique skill set. Learn the terminology and get professional about describing your time abroad.
100+ Career-boosting Strategies While Abroad
Discover enterprising, innovative ideas for how to demonstrate your international skills to future employers.
9764
- # of # Filtered -
  • 82
82
14088
An Eye-Opening Experience Teaching in South Korea
1
9758
Learning The Local Ways Of Addis Ababa
2
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
3
9769
Getting Sporty In Switzerland!
4
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
5
10851
Tips From Tasmania
6
9807
Fast Friendship In Korea
7
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
8
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
9
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
10
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
11
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
12
9784
Skill-Building In Bonn
13
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
14
9762
American Freshman In London
15
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
16
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
17
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
18
9741
Adapting To Work In Peru
19
9773
Independent In India
20
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
21
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
22
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
23
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
24
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
25
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
26
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
27
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
28
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
29
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
30
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
31
9771
Learning To Love London
32
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
33
9737
Passionate About Panama
34
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
35
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
36
9787
A Spring Semester In London
37
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
38
10192
Out And About In Paris
39
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
40
10157
Changing Course In China
41
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
42
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
43
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
44
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
45
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
46
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
47
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
48
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
49
9753
A Season In Sweden
50
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
51
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
52
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
53
9752
Giving In Guatemala
54
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
55
9748
Adventure In The Alps
56
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
57
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
58
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
59
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
60
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
61
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
62
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
63
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
64
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
65
9764
Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern In Rome
66
9765
Simpatico In Florence
67
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
68
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
69
9767
Beyond The Call Of Duty In Africa
70
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
71
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
72
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
73
9817
A Bulgarian In England
74
9754
Building Memories In India
75
9803
Ten Years Teaching In Seoul
76
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
77
9756
Springtime In Spain
78
9791
Making Contacts Count In The UK
79
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
80
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
81
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
82
9764
All Job Boards
429
All NGOs
1566
Au Pair Resources
35
Awards and Grants Resources
30
Business and Finance Job Boards
67
Business Directories
21
Canadian Federal, Provincial and Territorial Government Profiles
64
Canadian Government Resources
26
Children and Families Abroad
21
Country Guides
57
Cross-cultural Skills
101
Engineering Job Boards
58
Engineering Resources
61
Expatriate Networking Sites
31
Foreign Students Working in the US
10
Freelancing Abroad
21
General Job Search
23
Global Education and Social Action
29
Health and Medicine Job Boards
52
Health Career Resources
40
International Associations With Clubs on Campus
32
International Development Career Resources
46
International Internship Job Boards and Advice
51
International Internship Organizations
311
International Internships and Student Programs With Canadian Governments
35
International Internships With the US Government
40
International Job Hunting Resources
14
International Law Careers Resources
96
International Law Job Boards
24
International Studies in the US and Canada
12
International Trade Resources
28
International Volunteer Organizations
494
Internships With the UN and Other IGOs
150
Language Careers
31
Learn a Language
103
Licensed Teacher Abroad Job Boards
27
Licensed Teacher Abroad Resources
13
Loans for Studying Abroad
13
Low-cost Travel
29
NGO Directories
32
NGO Job Boards
41
Re-entry
12
Regional Job Boards
132
Relocating Abroad
24
Resources for International Students Studying in the US or Canada
49
Stories From Abroad
82
Study Abroad Resources
188
Teach English Abroad Job Boards
108
Teach English Abroad Resources
61
Tools for Travelers
41
Top International Blogs
51
Travel Health and Safety
38
UN and Other IGOs
234
UN and Other IGOs Job Boards
18
UN and Other IGOs Resources
17
US Government Profiles
80
US Government Resources
34
Visas and Passports
17
Volunteer Job Boards and Advice
53
Women Living and Working Overseas
17
Working Vacation Resources
58