Oftentimes, universities require their students to participate in internships abroad as a way to experience different business practices and learn more about foreign markets. Internships in the United States, in particular, also offer opportunities to improve one’s English writing and speaking skills. In turn, this professional experience gained in the U.S. creates value for students, making them highly desirable candidates once they enter the job market. By obtaining international skills and knowledge in their industry and immersing themselves in U.S. culture, students set themselves apart from other candidates in their field!
As part of her Master’s program, Malaury B. completed an internship program in human resources management with Academic Travel Abroad in Washington, D.C. last summer. Originally from France, Malaury wanted to learn and analyze the U.S. labour market in order to compare the different human resources practices between France and the U.S. It was her goal to use what she has learned in the U.S. and apply those skills to future jobs.
Malaury checked in with InterExchange recently to talk more about how her internship in the U.S. helped her to create professional opportunities for herself in France.
InterExchange: What are some interview tips you would give to a participant who is looking for an internship/training program?
Malaury: “I would say look at how U.S. companies perform interviews and interview etiquette since it will differ culturally. It would be best to research the types of questions U.S. companies will ask you during an interview and practice responding. I also would say to be yourself because if you are not, you might have regrets. If you stay true to yourself and get your internship then it really means you were meant to do it with that company. It is always better to be honest and stay the way you are.”
InterExchange: Was there a time that you experienced a difficult situation during your internship/training program. How did you overcome it?
Malaury: “To be honest I didn’t experience a difficult situation per se. There were a few times that I experienced challenging situations because of some of the responsibilities I was given but never a difficult situation I couldn’t handle. I think you just have to pause for a second and try to figure out the best way to find a solution and overcome the problem. This really helped me to become more independent and resourceful. Of course, it is always best to ask for help when you can’t figure something out.”
InterExchange: What are some professional goals you achieved during your internship/training program and how has it impacted your career?
Malaury: “I wanted to experience human resources in the U.S. and see the similarities and differences between the U.S. and my home country. That goal was met 100%. I also graduated while being in the U.S. and got to celebrate that with the company I worked for. I also now have a better understanding of cultural differences within companies and now know how to adapt your work based on where you are in the world. I have become a more adaptable and well-rounded individual because of it.”
InterExchange: Tell us about some personal and/or professional successes you’ve achieved since you participated in InterExchange Career Training USA.
Malaury: “I am now self-employed since it is very difficult to find a job in human resources in France. I decided not to wait for the opportunity but to create it. I am managing all communication for a company specialised in training. I work with partners to define and implement communication and marketing strategies.”
InterExchange: What are some of your most memorable experiences of interning in the U.S.?
Malaury: “The people! I always say that, but I met the most incredible people in the U.S. Americans, I found, are very welcoming and forthcoming, which I love. I was able to gain skills from certain responsibilities and learn from a multitude of people in different positions. The way I was able to learn different areas of the business within the company is an example of some of the best practices for an internship program. I also was able to travel to Los Angeles or New York to discover those cities more. I also participated in cultural exchanges with other foreign staff.”
Want to hear more Advice and Career Tips from our Exchange Program Alumni? Malaury B. will be one of the Alumni panelists on Wed, Sept 23 at 2pm EDT as part of our Career Guidance webinar series. She will share more thoughts about her experience during her time in the U.S. and her current career!
We hope that this inspires you to pursue a professional experience abroad! Check our resources on how to find an Internship to get started with your own professional journey today.
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