Top Reasons for Interning Abroad

Written by  June 13, 2014

The start of an internship in Argentina.

With only two weeks left until I leave for Córdoba, Argentina to start a three-month-long internship, I have felt the need to get re-centered on my objectives and purpose for embarking on this exchange. More than anything, this reflection will help me realize that this is actually happening.

I have decided to start by focusing on my motivations for this exchange and asking myself: Why Argentina? Why a marketing and public relations internship? Why did I go abroad through AIESEC? Why now?

Here are my top four reasons in no particular order:

1. To embrace Argentinean language and culture.

Having studied Hispanic literature and language throughout the first half of my undergrad, I have
been wanting to travel to a Spanish-speaking country for the longest time. In particular, I have completed the majority of my studies with an Argentinean professor, whose stories of her home have enticed me to explore the culture beyond what we students read in books and see in movies.

I tremendously look forward to truly learning a new language—knowing a word’s connotation, not just its denotation; learning those phrases that can’t be translated; knowing the words beyond their English equivalents. I am so excited; I have even had dreams in Spanish over the past few months.

2. It’s an invaluable opportunity for professional development.

I am so fortunate to take on an international internship in social entrepreneurship because it is relevant to my aspirations in the field of international business. In addition to developing cross-cultural competencies and learning more about marketing and public relations, the opportunity to work with an organization that strives for healthy family integration and development enables me to gain work experience while working with an entity that aligns with my values.

3. It’s not just an exchange; it’s an AIESEC exchange.

Although I am from the AIESEC chapter in Victoria, I knew when I made my decision about going abroad that the support, spirit and audacious vision characteristic of all AIESECers would resonate throughout the global network. Sure enough, I have been extremely lucky to receive the unwavering support and guidance from my AIESEC family here in Victoria and the family I will have in Córdoba.

 More than anything, I look forward to the opportunity of becoming integrated into a new committee and meeting more remarkable people. There will be so many parallels and contrasts between our functional areas, team culture and management; I hope to be able to exchange some best place practices and knowledge between both committees.

4. Who knows what I’ll be doing next summer?

Perhaps I’ll be too broke to go on exchange next summer (my tuition increases once I start all my commerce classes). Perhaps I’ll be moving into a new place or maybe some commitment keeps me in Victoria for the whole summer. Of course that’s all speculation. But if I wasn’t able to go on exchange next summer, can you imagine how much I would have regretted missing this open opportunity? On a side note, I was lucky enough that this internship fulfilled the requirements of the mandatory co-op I needed to complete this summer for my business program. . .so now is a better time than ever!

Reflecting on my “whys” throughout my AIESEC term has always helped me push forward to create the impact I envision and realizing my reasons for this exchange has realigned me with my goals. Not to mention, it has got me quite pumped for the next three months.

What are some of your “why’s” for your upcoming adventure?

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Gillian Jose-Riz

Gillian Jose-Riz is a writer, an AIESECer and a commerce student at the University of Victoria. Her internship in Argentina will be her first time living outside of Victoria and away from her family, but she looks forward to the challenges and adventures!

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