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Overseas Traineeships

After receiving her bachelor’s degree, InterNations member Alex took a traineeship in a hotel in China. However, she decided to give it up after some time. In this article she shares her tips on how to not to stress out during your life abroad and how to make the right decision.

An overseas traineeship can be a great opportunity to learn new things and jump-start your international career. But especially if this is your first adventure abroad, a traineeship abroad can be a challenge. Luckily, we have some tips for you on how to get the most out of your traineeship and turn it into a positive experience.

Your Goals

Be absolutely clear about what you want to get from doing a traineeship and make sure that the traineeship meets your goals.

When considering available traineeships the crucial details for me were:

  • getting one year of working experience
  • learning all about hotel management
  • working at an upscale company.

No matter what would happen during my stay, it was important for me that these factors remained.

The reason why I applied for an overseas traineeship was that I had always dreamed of living abroad, discovering other cultures. I was also very curious about how one feels after having lived in another country for a long time. At some point I realized that working in the hotel industry can help me to find a job abroad and thus make my dream come true. I considered doing a traineeship abroad a great start in my future career.

So that is why it was important for me to find a traineeship in an upscale hotel, which I thought would make a great impression on my future employers believe, and show that I got a professional training. I also wanted to go through a long training program to learn as much as possible about my profession. That, I believed, would also make me more eligible as a candidate for any future jobs.

No Expectations

Don't have any expectations about your life in a new country.

The only thing you can expect is that lots of things might be much more different than you thought including some trivial ones. Just go and discover how it is all out there. Yet, be sure that you will get what you want from your traineeship.

The day I first received photos of my accommodation that I found nice and lovely though, I told myself ‘Don’t expect it to look exactly like this in reality. It might look differently’. In this way, I freed myself of all expectations instead of basing them on certain images, and was thus open to accept whatever things could be like in reality. I applied the same approach to almost all aspects of my future life in a new place before my move there.

Your New Location

Be absolutely clear about your exact destination abroad and how it can define your life there. Ask for details when applying for a traineeship.

I knew that the place where I would be working and living was situated very far from the city center. That means that my social life would not be very active there and that I would not be able to hang out with new friends after work due to the lack of public venues around. It also means that when I get a chance to go out in the city I would probably not be able to stay there until late because it would take some time to get back home.

Since the main reason why I wanted to do a traineeship was to build up a strong working experience, I decided that I could survive one year with a simple social life.

Having an eventful social life might be crucial for some and a lack of it can make them feel isolated and lonely. Think of what kind of place is suitable for you. Is it a big city or a small cozy town? Do you go out a lot or do you prefer outdoor activities?

Give It Time

Don't be quick to make conclusions about people around you, especially if you don't know the local language.

You will probably be missing a big part of verbal communication. For example, you might not be able to see how people's personalities are fully reflected in their behavior. Yet keep in mind that actions speak louder than words. Draw your own conclusions from what you observe on a daily basis. Yet always stay open to adjust them.

One of my colleagues had a very poor command of English. My first impression of her when we first worked together was, ‘What a shame! What a poor English! And this is a 5-star hotel resort staff!’ What I realized after working with her for a while and observing her at work was that she was one of the best and most experienced colleagues in my team. Several weeks after my arrival, she got a promotion and eventually became my role-model at work.

It’s All Not That New

Don’t exaggerate differences! It is true that you are arriving in a new place but it is not a foreign planet to discover. There are a lot of things you are already familiar with. Public transport, work as an activity, making friends, and social events are among the things you already know how to handle. You will just need to apply new approaches to handling them in a foreign place.