Advice and Memorable Experiences From Alumni

5 minutes

Coming to the USA for an internship is an exciting and rewarding opportunity. You not only gain invaluable work experience with a U.S. employer, but you also get the chance to explore America and its culture. But don’t just take our word for it! In our 2011 final evaluations we asked participants what advice they would give to future interns and trainees since they have first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to live in the U.S. We hope the following information from our past participants will help you prepare for your trip to the U.S. and give you an idea of just how much you can do while you’re here!


Apply Early

  • Start early enough to apply through InterExchange although the program is well organized.
  • The processes itself don’t take too long, still, it takes a while to collect all the information and send it back and forth.
  • Always start apply for the visa process as soon as possible and plan your trip well to make it most enjoyable and productive.

Be Open-minded

  • Come to the United States open-minded and try to immerse yourself as much as possible in the American culture.
  • Definitely come to work with a positive mindset and always try your best to perform and provide excellent work quality.
  • Be curious, accept the challenge and gain a lot of important experience abroad! Get to know the way other people work and live, that will help you to develop understanding for other cultures, corporate cultures and the people in general. Be open minded and you will learn a lot, you will get to know interesting people and learn skills that will help you in your future life and your further career.

Be Positive

  • If you are coming on this kind of participant_program_slug: prepare to do your best!!! You have to shine!
  • Don’t worry, be happy, because if you think you will be surprised, you will be more surprised than you thought…
  • Don’t be negative!
  • Always have a positive attitude. Even if you’re having a bad day, stay positive. Your body language and ‘vibe’ can be a big key factor in succeeding.

Do Your Best at Work

  • BE PRO-ACTIVE! Can’t stress that enough. Don’t just treat the work experience as a 9-5 regular job. Make the most of it. Understand the organization you intern at, ask for extra work if you know you can handle it […] If you show initiative, employers will notice.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions at your internship and offer to help or read over things wherever possible. I was given many extra tasks by showing interest and enthusiasm. This also made them trust me more and see what I was capable of, which meant they kept giving me better tasks and taught me to complete other tasks.

Participate in Activities and Meet New People

  • Go and participate in a weekly social event to built up your social life.
  • Try anything thrown your way, even random events. Follow the advice of locals - they know the best places to be.
  • Join sports teams and always say yes to occasions.
  • Get a Peer Mentor, they are definitely the best resource.

Make the Most of Your Time in the U.S

  • Don’t waste your time; enjoy every second of your internship! Be young, be joy, be active!
  • Live your life like you always wanted to.
  • Be yourself, work hard, enjoy your stay and make it the best time of your life!
  • Time will fly away, so make sure to do the things you want to do and not postpone things!

Memorable Experiences

We also asked participants to share a memorable experience they had while in the U.S. The following is some of their answers and suggestions for what you might want to do while in the States!

On LA: “There are so many things to do. First of all discovering the city like a tourist, there are so many things to discover. Then discover international food thanks to the variety of restaurants. You can go to the beach, hiking, to the mountain. Try many kinds of sports or activities. Shopping of course. Don’t miss bars and clubs!”

I went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras Festival, it was a very memorable experience, now I know why everyone is so crazy about it. It was FUN!

I went to Key West with my friends and we were driving 2 convertible cars through this endless bridge surrounded by the ocean, amazing memories. There are beautiful sunsets and a very relaxed atmosphere in Key West. Strongly recommended! P.S. Friends make the world go round!

Yosemite national park!!!! People have to go there it’s gorgeous. I was blown away.

Taking my first wave ever with my room mate next to me giving me a high five while standing on the surfboard, with an amazing sunset over Catalina Island and dolphins playing in the waves few feet away from us is something I will never forget.

My first celebrity interview with Tyra Banks, I was so nervous. But the funny thing was, I was so nervous I didn’t check the date of the press event properly and turned up a day early. A silly mistake but one I learnt from.

The first week I arrived I have been invited to a trip in Lake Powell in Arizona. We stayed for 4 days on a boat, having fun, wakeboarding, tubing and discovering amazing canyons.

Having chicken fried deer at a Texan farm and sharing lunch with local people before going out in overalls to feed the deer, shoot cans with rifles and drive through the property in a pick up truck.

So many times while going to concerts, bars or even walking around in the streets, I met some celebrities, which was totally random but awesome when you come from a French countryside area (Neil Patrick Harris, Lenny Kravitz, Paul Rudd, Charlotte Gainsbourg). I got to speak with them and share drinks with them which was so unbelievable and made all of my friends back home somewhat jealous :)

I did a west coast road trip in December. I rented a car with a friend of mine from France and we went from San Francisco to San Diego in one week. It was a real great experience.

Moving in with two American room mates was a great experience and an occasion to share and exchange as much as possible about our different lives, our interest, our cultures.

My best memory would be my American football match experience. I really enjoyed it because it was new for me. I loved the game and the show around it with cheerleaders and all fans screaming to support their team. It was really emotional.

My whole stay is a memorable experience, which I will never forget in my life! I grew up in a lot of ways. I am more self-sufficient, I learned a lot about myself and I started believing in what I am doing!

You can read about more advice and memorable experiences from our previous program participants.

Good luck!

InterExchange Staff InterExchange Staff

InterExchange is proud to have an experienced team that is dedicated to international cultural exchange. We come from a variety of backgrounds, but nearly every member of our New York City-based staff has extensive experience traveling, working, or living abroad.

Career Training USA
Career Training USA

Experience American culture and add international skills to your resume.

Sign Up Learn More Call Us
U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation