I am a mother of a 19-year-old, who wants to travel abroad to be engaged in an international internship. I think it’s a great idea for students to intern abroad to shape their careers and gain real life, hands-on experience. However, if they have never travelled alone, their parents, like me, likely have a concern about their safety in a foreign land. After a lot of research, I have come up with 6 recommendations for those travelling alone for the first time.
- Ensure you always carry your itinerary and travel documents with you and also leave photocopies both where you are residing in your host country and back home with someone you trust. If your travel documents get lost or stolen, you can more easily apply for a new passport with this necessary information.
- Record the contact information of the your native country’s Embassy located in the country you are visiting. In case of an emergency, you would know whom to contact to get the necessary help.
- Do your research on the culture and the societal norms of the new country. Your knowledge may help to prevent misunderstandings and to ensure you do not offend anyone. Read this blog on the 4 stages of culture shock, to ensure you adapt quickly to your new environment.
- Travel smart – never compromise your safety. Safety issues may evolve from being too adventurous when trying new activities, taking health risks or not understanding instructions/cautions due to language barriers. Trying new food in a new country can also lead to a health hazard, if you are allergic to any of the ingredients used to prepare the exotic food you try for the first time in your life. To overcome language barriers, try these translation applications, which can help. Also, try to listen to broadcasts in the new language and perhaps take a few basic language lessons before going or upon your arrival at your destination.
- Know where the local hospitals and clinics are located in case of a medical emergency, and always travel with medical insurance.
- Ensure you have recorded your family doctor’s contact information, insurance company contact information, and travel insurance company contact information. Copies should also be left with your travel documents.
As a mother, I would feel most assured if my 19-year-old were traveling with a reputable company to ensure items such as those mentioned above are looked after by people who have experience planning trips and internships down to the smallest detail. Everything you can imagine, from accommodations, employer details and internship job descriptions, information about the country/culture, insurance, etc. are handled. Not only that, but local representatives of the company will meet students at the airport, provide an orientation and ensure their safety. It’s the next best thing to me traveling with them!
My advice to all students is to add an international internship to your resumé. Take advantage now of the opportunity to travel and to learn more about your career in an exciting new place! If you heed the recommendations noted above, you will have the experience of a lifetime and set yourself apart in your industry!![Today’s post is brought to you by our guest blogger Mousumi B., a vocational instructor in Ontario, Canada.]