Subject: Forgeign Affairs
Starting an internship in a country or city that you’re unfamiliar with can be a scary situation – I’m talking panic-attack on the kitchen-floor scary – and that is nothing to be ashamed of. You’re young, inexperienced, and you desperately want to impress and do a good job, but you don’t just have work to worry about, you obviously also want to have a good time in your temporary home away from home.
Some tips to acclimate in a new place:
1) The Necessities. The first thing I do is check out my neighborhood. Where can I conveniently buy groceries, pick up a coffee before work, do my laundry, whatever mundane things you need taken care of, make sure you know where you need to go. Talk to the people there, introduce yourself, and if you don’t speak the language, try to pick up a few words. You can ask these people for advice, directions, etc. and you will generally see them quite often during your stay.
2) See the sights! My personal mantra from the age of 10 was “tourism is tacky”, because I like to find the local spots when I travel, but of course you shouldn’t ignore the cultural and social offerings of your new city. Try to gather some insider information, whether you’re getting that information online or through your second cousin’s best-friend’s husband’s brother, find fun and interesting things that will motivate you and give you a better understanding of the place you’re in!
3) Hobbies – if you have a hobby or passion, see if there are popular spots or groups that you can join locally! Perhaps get in touch with someone beforehand – that’s the power of the Internet, isn’t it?
4) Happy Food. This has been my thing since 2010, after a very miserable stint in Paris in the summer. The only thing that cheered me up was treating myself to little luxuries. In Paris, this was a bit costlier, such as LaDurée Macarons, but I’ve also driven to Taco Bell in the middle of the night in Detroit to grab a bite of my personal comfort food – so satisfying! Girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.
5) Work and Play. Though it’s not necessarily easy to “make friends” at work, it’s important to make an effort and don’t be afraid to ask for help or even to grab a coffee with a co-worker outside of work. Upon my arrival in the States, Independence Day was just 2 days away. Being “The Intern from London”, I obviously didn’t have any plans for The Fourth, and many co-workers actually invited me to spend it with them and their friends/families. This proved to be a really great start to my internship!
6) A side note from Hannah " While i was in New York and speaking to a few new pals id met, i asked them how they met friends initially. With no shame they all said Tinder. If you go on dates you'll meet people! Then they'll introduce you to their friends its a win win situation. Plus i can't be bad dating someone from the city of your dreams... back to Julie
7) Explore. Depending on where you are, it’s a good idea to walk, cycle, take public transport, or just drive around for a while. If you move like a local, I find that you will also start to feel like a local. Find spots that are “yours”, places that you discover and connect with, whether that’s a particular painting in a museum, a certain tree in the park, or a cozy neighborhood café. Places that you routinely visit and connect with will help you get settled.