A popular inspirational saying advises that, “If you want something you’ve never had, then you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” Chances are, interning or training in the United States may be the first time you’ve moved out of the country.
It may even be your first internship or training program. A big move like this can be quite daunting, and many questions may go through your head such as:
- How should I prepare for my interview?
- Will this program help me meet some of my professional goals?
- What if I encounter a problem during my program and I don’t know how to tackle it?
- Will I be able to enjoy and adjust to American culture?
While these are normal thoughts to have prior to your program, don’t let this deter you from pursuing your goals of interning in the U.S. The risk is definitely worth the reward. Just ask some of our Career Training alumni! A few of our former interns and trainees checked in with us to discuss their internship/training programs and gave advice on how to do what it takes to make a program successful, from acing your interview to tackling difficult workplace challenges.
During the internship, I learned what the workflow is in an architectural studio in New York and I improved my skills as an architect. Also, I had the opportunity to master the English language. Being able to work in an American environment was great in itself. The professionalism and the opportunities that I could face every day were and are amazing!
If you face issues, know that the people you are working with are good people. Just be honest and straight with them, and express what issue you are trying to work through and what you would like to happen in order to fix that. Show that you are willing to take the extra step and that you are really eager to learn as much as you can while contributing as much as you can to the office and studio you will work in.
After completing my internship, I got hired with 3 different companies including the one where now I work as BIM Manager!”
—Davide C., Italy, 2018 Architectural Drafting Intern at LOT-EK
Fashion Apparel/Design Intern
3.1 Philip Lim, LLC and House of Z, LLC
Not having pursued a fashion degree in a place like NYC and still having the opportunity to intern with renowned designers like Zac Posen and Phillip Lim really boosted my confidence as an international student. I was able to get a real insight into the American fashion industry. For example, I was an integral part of New York fashion week 2018 and the Met Gala which was a very proud moment for me. My favorite part of my internship was definitely the festivities and the fact that I was working in Manhattan with dream designers every day.
My second internship was a 6-month program. Early on, I noticed that I was doing tasks I wasn’t expecting, so I gathered the courage to write a letter highlighting my concern to my boss. To my surprise, they actually sat with me and discussed the plan and gave me more design-related tasks moving forward. I had first gone into this journey with only a 6-month internship, but came back having done two 6-month internships. It was a beautiful experience and is a big plus on my resume!
When you’re applying for internships don’t forget to mention even the smallest of relevant experiences you’ve had in the past and to display your passion for that field. When you do get the internship, don’t view the mundane daily tasks as negative points but as positive points to learn so many new things. Remember not everyone gets the opportunity that you are getting!
Pro Tip: InterExchange is also available to support you at any moment if you encounter problems with your program or host employer. Do not hesitate to contact us early on during the program so that we can assist you and help you make the most of your experience.
—Shonglin G., India, 2018 Fashion Apparel/Design Intern at 3.1 Philip Lim, LLC and House of Z, LLC
Computer Engineering Intern
Datalogic Holdings Inc.
Since my experience interning at Datalogic Holdings, I’ve become a research and development engineer. It was a goal of mine to be able to work in a multicultural and multi-language environment with proficiency. I strengthened my patience and adaptability. There was a time when a prototype was not working as expected, and we re-engineered everything and made it work. It was truly a great experience, both on my part and I’d say it was an enrichment also for the American people that I was able to work with. Cultural exchange is such an important piece of personal enrichment!
I loved everything about being able to experience the American culture firsthand. I made a lot of friends, and visiting San Francisco and Portland was an absolute blast! I loved watching football as well.
—Flavio Z., Italy, 2019 Computer Engineering Intern at Datalogic Holdings Inc.
3D Designer Intern
Pop Up Mob LLC
I was a 3D Designer Intern at Pop Up Mob LLC. My biggest professional successes were all the design projects we were able to achieve. I was able to work on real design projects, to be in touch with real clients, to work for famous brands, to work with a very talented crew, and mainly to see our designs coming from my softwares to reality.
For my personal achievements, this experience helped me to open myself to others, to talk with them and make new friendships. It also helped me to be more confident about myself and my professional skills.
There was a period when I encountered some difficulties. There were a lot of tasks to complete and difficult clients to satisfy. It was hard but I knew I was there to learn through this work-based training. Also, I tried to find a way to relax after each day! My most memorable experiences in the U.S. were all the ones I shared with my roommates. I got the chance to find a great community in a co-living house, and it allowed me to create new friendships with people from both the U.S. and many different countries, and from every age.
My advice is to be yourself, show your real interest, and explain why you are motivated to train in the U.S. Just show why you want to do it and why you think interning for the company will help you in the future. And if you need a portfolio, select the best projects you’ve worked on, even if it was a school project. Show the skills you can have for the moment and explain that all you want to do is to improve those skills and to keep learning new ones.
—Emilie C., France, 2020 Design and Applied Arts at Pop Up Mob LLC
For more advice and tips on how to have a successful program, view Career Training USA’s Youtube channel!
We hope that this inspires you to pursue a professional experience abroad! Check out our resources on how to find an internship to get started with your own professional journey today.
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