An internship in Argentina not only improves your Spanish skills, provides you with invaluable international work experience and boosts your CV, but it can even become a life changing experience. In the past fourteen years of Road2Argentina, many of our participants fell in love with this beautiful country and decided to stay right away or come back after graduation. Here are seven tips for how you can make your Road2Argentina internship an extraordinary one:
1. Plan ahead
Be aware that the process of finding a rewarding internship takes time. We recommend you contact us at least three to four months before your tentative internship start date or even before. Our placement process is very personalized and we will speak to you in person through Skype, FaceTime or Whatsapp and offer you tailor-made internships that align with your career goals. You also don’t want to rush to choose your favorite options and prepare your CV and cover letter. What’s more, your internship host company might also want to get to know you in advance through a video call.
2. Prepare yourself
Once you have your internship confirmed, I’m sure you will be excited about your upcoming trip. Make sure you prepare yourself for your internship. Ask your internship supervisor if she/he can recommend you information about YouTube tutorials, blog articles, books or applications and programmes that help you familiarize with the upcoming work topics. It also helps to brush up on your Spanish.
3. Take ownership
Be confident, not shy. Ask for help, don’t panic. The first week of your internship will be full of firsts: living in a new country, speaking an unfamiliar language, meeting new colleagues, and working on new projects in the practical world rather than at university. It is crucial at this point that you show initiative and not just sit at your desk waiting for instructions. Take your time to get acquainted with your placement’s values, the way the organization is run and your first projects, but also be proactive and prove to your supervisor that you are fully motivated.
4. Be flexible and patient
It is part of the immersion experience that you adapt to local habits. You will realise that work in Argentina is much more focused on people rather than processes. The social component is probably more valued than where you’re from: At most offices, for example, employees will start the day with a Mate, a local tea that is handed round while the latest news is discussed. Argentine businesses are also known for a much more hands-off attitude when it comes to working with interns. What could be seen as a lack of supervision is in fact just a cultural difference. So don’t forget to take ownership and speak up. We also recommend staying patient when the internship is picking up slowly in the beginning. You need to gain trust from your supervisors first, but no worries — more demanding projects are in the pipeline.
5. Capitalize on your internship
Take advantage of the internship opportunity. It is your internship and it is up to you to make it happen. Learn how to use different tools, do research and surprise your supervisors with unexpected findings. Moreover, talk to as many people as possible and get advice on your future career. It can be intimidating to start introducing yourself around a new office, but having lunch with different co-workers will provide you with new insights. Networking is important, also during an internship, and it also helps to polish up your LinkedIn account a bit.
6. Hablá castellano
One of the main reasons why you chose Argentina as your internship destination is that you want to hone your Spanish skills so speak Spanish as much as possible. Talk to your co-workers, homestay hosts, bus drivers and break down that language barrier. If people want to speak English with you, make it clear that you’d prefer Spanish. Download applications, read the news, watch telenovelas, sing and dance to the latest Luis Fonsi track and ask your co-workers what “che boludo” means. There are also several language exchange events throughout the city where you can meet locals.
7. Enjoy Buenos Aires and travel Argentina
Make the best out of your time in Argentina and step outside your comfort zone as much as possible. You will not be disappointed. Hang out with locals, visit museums, play football, dance Tango and eat asado. Argentina has much more to offer than Buenos Aires: The remote valleys, calving glaciers and cristaline lakes of Patagonia, the wine region in Mendoza, the stunning Iguazu waterfalls and the rainbow-hued rocks of the Northwestern Argentina. Many Roadies travel during the long weekends that occur once a month, on average, or add a few weeks just for travel after their internships.
If you follow these seven tips, there is nothing that prevents you from having an unforgettable internship experience with Road2Argentina.