Roughly 2 weeks had passed since my application for an internship. Nervous but also excited, I was waiting for the interview results.
To my relief, I got accepted! For the first couple of days, all I could feel was happiness, and with a sense of enthusiasm, I went to the next stage of preparing for my international internship. I won’t lie, the process challenged me a lot. However, I had a support system and a plan to help me along the way! Here is what I did:
Get in touch with the AIESEC manager
One of the best things in AIESEC is the support you receive. I scheduled a call with my local manager to ask about all the details that I was unsure about. It was so much better to join forces and know that there is a person I can always get back to when I felt lost. Not to mention that we also established what would be my goals and dreams for this upcoming experience.
In AIESEC, we believe that a leader should have four main qualities: Solution Oriented, Self-Awareness, the ability to Empower Others and being a World Citizen. I chose to discover more about myself and be more self-aware. This way I could understand myself better, know what my strengths are and be able to improve the work I do. Setting these goals is important, because at the end of your journey you would want to look back and see how much you grew throughout this experience.
Health is a priority
In this period of time, health and safety are high on the list when it comes to preparing for your exchange. An essential step would be checking the embassy or consulate website of the country you will have your exchange in for the latest information and if anything additional is required to arrive safely in the country. Make sure you do not forget about your insurance!
It is always good to be prepared for the worst case scenario. I did that by making sure I had my own insurance even if some workplaces provide it. Expect the unexpected!
The country I got selected to, did not require a visa. So I got lucky there! However, if you need a visa, do not panic! The support you receive from AIESEC covers also the documents you will need, as well as some indications on how to apply for the right visa. It is important to always consult with your local manager, for possible issues to be avoided along the process.
Packing your bags
Moving to another country for a long period was not something new for me and I can say that I have learned that I do not need many objects with me. Believe it or not, I just packed one pair of shoes! I saw this as an opportunity to live a more minimalist lifestyle. Fitting all your clothes in the small luggage can be a real struggle, but it doesn’t have to.
Some of the tips I can give here is to initially pack all the clothes you want to pack and ask yourself the following question: Do I really need it? And of course, pack your clothes using the skivvy roll trick (or also known as burrito roll)!
Meeting friends and family
Last but not least, before my departure, I planned many meetings with my friends and family members. I will not be around for a while, so I tried making the most of each and every moment. During the pandemic, it is also difficult to say when I would be able to come back home for a visit, as new measurements can take place at any time. Fear caused by uncertainty can also take over you. Therefore it can be even better to have your loved ones close.
Finding a place to stay
By far, the one aspect that challenged this journey the most was looking for accommodation. With Global Talent, a lot of opportunities offered accommodation, but not the one I got accepted to. To find the ideal place, you have many channels at your service. From agency websites to social media groups. However, do not jump right on the first offer and read comments from expats on forums and blogs. This can bring you a new perspective.
There are many ways people try to scam you with apartment & room rentals. The safest way and this is what I did, is to book a hostel or Airbnb for a short period of time and visit the apartments myself once in my new host country.
The period between the acceptance and the arrival at your destination can be some of the most stressful ones, as there is so much to do but so little time. However, focus on what is most important: your insurance, your accommodation, your flight ticket, and of course, your determination to turn this experience into one of the best you ever had. At the end of the day, going on exchange with AIESEC is all about leadership, taking the lead of who you want to become and how you want the world around you to be, by taking action! You make your own experience and to not lose sight, always keep a reminder of your goals close to you.
Get ready for the future with AIESEC 🙂