All Smith students know…

Spring is internship season. And that means filling out forms, practicing interview skills, and updating resumes. But for students abroad, it also means managing a slew of other issues. In this article, I’ll explain a few of them and give you my best advice on how to tackle the daunting process.

Pro Tip #1: Start early!

This advice applies to everything, from school assignments to Christmas shopping, but it’s particularly true here. When you’re in another country, everything is more complicated.

It’s like they don’t even want me to pay rent.

It will take a while to figure out time differences, international calling, and Skype contacts. And you’ll probably be distracted by… packing up your stuff, buying your plane ticket home, subletting your apartment, passing finals, making vacation plans, and trying to suppress the mounting stress/excitement you feel about seeing your family again.

They’re terrible, but you have to love them. That’s the deal.

Pro Tip #2: Make yourself easy to contact. Be clear about when and how is best.

Standard application forms do not accept foreign phone numbers. Not only does this prevent you from using anyone you’ve worked with or studied under for the last 6 months as a reference, it also makes you very hard to contact. If you use a foreign SIM card, your American number is unreachable. I provided my father’s number on some forms and quickly regretted it. It’s just confusing. Now I specify in my cover letter (and again by email) that I can be reached at my Swedish number or via Skype.  Lastly, they do not know what time it is where you are. Assume that meeting times are on their schedule.

Pro Tip #3: If you’re planning a trip home, see if you can make in-person interviews coincide.

Do you really need an excuse to see this beaut?

At least one firm told me that they do not perform Skype interviews. Although this may be a bit behind the times, it is a reality. If you can be in the US for interviews, that’s ideal!

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