It is amazing how quickly time flies. I spent three months in Malawi for my internship and it has now been over a month since I left Malawi. As I reflect back to my time in Malawi I thought of 5 tips that would help others going on their internships.
- Be open:
Be ready and open to say yes to different experiences even if they go beyond your comfort zone. At the time they may feel challenging but they will be learning experiences. There is always a temptation to stay with what you know and who you know, but to get the best experience on your internship step beyond your comfort zone!
- Do your research:
As much as possible, before embarking on your internship try your best to get to grips with as much as you can about the work the organization does and the projects they do. This will put you in good stead when you arrive and give you a head start for when you start to work on your own deliverables. It will also give you a lot of talking points with your co-workers.
- Get experience beyond your deliverables:
I cannot stress this point enough. Go beyond your deliverables and designated projects. The organization has a lot more to offer you than what is in front of you. I know it’s not always easy to go beyond what is expected of you, but this also includes just making sure you take the time to talk to others at the organization who don’t work on your project. This will give you a chance to know more about the organization and give you a wealth of learning experiences and growth opportunities.
- Travel and explore:
Try and go beyond the local area, try to get experiences to go to the field, travel within and out with the country you are in and explore. This time to travel and explore will increase your knowledge and understanding of the work your organization is doing since it will let you experience the local culture and people of the country. Get to know the local people and their culture and be open to trying new experiences. These will help you understand more both of the work you do but also the country and your experience as a whole will be richer.
- Be adaptable:
When you go to this internship it’s important to remember that your time there isn’t a long time and you are there to be of service to the organization and learn as much as you can. This may not be through the ways you had originally hoped, but you are visiting their organization and you need to be adaptable to the needs of the organization. So rather than stressing that things are different to your expectations and your experiences, enjoy the bumpy ride- by the end of it you will be used to it and realize that variety is the spice of life!
Obviously, these are only five tips and they don’t reflect or represent the way every individual will experience their internship, but they were helpful for me on my internship and may help others. Remember that even when you don’t feel it, very often when you are on your internship you are learning. Seek as many learning and growth experiences as you can! Also, that being said, do your best in every situation you are in.
Peace out IEDPers! Happy Holidays!