The first day is never easy, especially if you start working abroad.
Everything is new; with a new culture usually comes a different working culture. You need to develop your own network and friend circle and also adapt to the environment. This will grant a valuable and pleasant experience for you and your team as well.
Be it just a short internship, or a long term opportunity, you definitely need to set a good tone with your colleagues. Why not start with a nice chatter over your morning coffee?
Here are a few things to talk about:
Your motivation to join this company.
Especially if they bring it up. You may get interesting facts, insights and advice as well!
What do you want to learn?
Again, you may receive some advice, and help. It is important to be clear about your goal, so that you will find the best opportunities to really develop in your chosen field.
Why you chose this country?
People are usually proud of their culture and like to showcase it. Be aware that this conversation might lead to spontaneous travel tips, sightseeing and local pub crawls. ☺
How do you enjoy your experience so far?
Tell them how you spend your first week of exchange, and what have you done so far.
How did you get there?
The experience doesn’t start with your first day of work. It starts as soon as you decide to embark on this journey; the application, the visa processes, how you have convinced your parents are all part of it.
Tell your story to others too!
And who knows – maybe you will inspire them to travel more?
What’s still on your bucket list?
Sharing your bucket list could be a great conversation starter.
Did you travel to that specific country to explore the unique architecture?
Would you like to visit a famous natural wonder?
Is the local food part of your motivation?
Your own country and culture.
Easy topic for you. Great learning opportunity for them.
Think about it; by telling about the different manners and habits you follow, you can ’prepare’ them. You may also find out that something totally normal for you is seen as offensive in the office’s culture!
What did you do last summer?
Everybody likes to talk about their good memories. And when it comes to travelling, you can all share your experiences, tell stories and give tips to each other!
Finding common ground.
I especially advise you to try this if you joined a new group or project.
Try to suggest things that you may have in common (music, food, movies you like, places you’ve been to, anything will do).
Don’t stop until you find something every group member can relate to.
This will not only help you to bond as a group, but you will know who you can talk to about the latest album of your favourite artist, or who to invite to that epic movie you wanted to watch next week.
Don’t be afraid to ask!
If you are facing a problem you can’t solve, or you are lacking information, talk to someone! There’s no need to be ashamed – this is your first week!
It’s the best to ask, learn and avoid potential mistakes, right?
Don’t be shy to start a conversation. If you show interest and get in touch with people, you will feel more welcomed. You will have people to turn to with your job-related questions and for clarification. And you significantly reduce the length and intensity of homesickness as well!
In the end, working in a job and a totally new environment could be quite scaring. Focus on the positive side of it and stay open, so you can make friends faster than you ever thought. Progressing in your professional career is just as important as it is to connect to like minded people in your social circle.
Still looking for an internship?
Start searching here!