Why did I start to travel?
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist. That is all.” – Oscar Wilde
The quote above was written by one of my favourite authors and I just can’t seem to erase it out of my mind. The truth to these words in today’s society cannot be more applicable. My goal is try all the things I have always wanted to do and to overcome any fears.
Last summer, I decided to attend the Explore program to learn French in British Columbia for five weeks. It was the first time I was travelling alone for a long period of time and I didn’t know anyone attending the program, which was a huge step out of my comfort zone. But I tend to seize every opportunity that comes my way because you never know whether you will get to experience it again. The Explore program was my first solo journey with this mindset and I learned a lot about myself and truly got to experience the West Coast while studying in Victoria.
Ever since, I have decided to spend my summer months in a different country travelling, studying and working. I want to travel and explore and learn as much as I can because we truly only live once.
What made me want to intern in Mumbai?
As a business student, we are expected to do internships throughout our summer months. However, I didn’t want to stay in Toronto. I wanted to explore another country and I knew that gaining international experience in our global economy would set me apart from a lot of other students.
Although I was born in Mumbai, I moved to Toronto at a very young age so I never truly got to experience the city and the culture. India is also seen as having one of the fastest growing economies and being a business hub, so I knew it would be the perfect fit to compliment my education. I also knew that finding accommodation would be much easier for me because I do have family living in the city.
How did I find my internship?
It was very difficult for me to find an internship in India and I was very discouraged at first. I applied to a lot of multinational companies online and sent countless number of emails without hearing back.
However, since I was really keen on finding an internship abroad, I decided to give each company a call. It turned out that they had received my emails but most of their work is done over the phone. Once I had contacted around 10 companies, five companies called me in for an interview. After a few phone interviews and interviews in-person, I found my job.
I am very excited to start my internship next week but at the same time I am very nervous because I don’t know how different my work life will be in India. Presently, it is just a mix of emotions from excitement to anxiety. So for now, let’s just take a step into the wild and see where this journey takes me.
What advice can I offer about finding a job or internship in India?
Always research the business customs of the country. Also, make sure to attach a proper resume and cover letter to every email and read each job posting carefully. In my case, phoning the companies after submitting my resumes is what helped me get the job.
Dress for success. For each interview, I never knew how to dress because each company has a unique organizational culture. Every time I went for interviews in Toronto for a job, I would wear a suit but I didn’t know whether it would be the same for my job interviews in Mumbai. To prepare, I searched each company on Google and tried to dress accordingly to what vibe I got by looking at their pictures. For example, at Reliance Entertainment, everyone was dressed very casually in their corporate pictures, so I dressed in a similar way. It tended to work every time.
Be prepared to encounter language barriers and cultural differences at interviews. The interviews were less formal than I thought they would be. Also, some people who worked the offices did not know how to speak English, so knowing the local language made it easier for me.
Plan your routes to interviews in advance. It very difficult to travel around Mumbai because there are no signs on the roads to follow or a GPS system. The traffic is also something to experience. A three-wheeler rickshaw will be your best bet, as they know where everything is and is the fastest and cheapest way to commute around the city. Always find out the local rates and routes since there can be situations where they could overcharge you.