10 Ways Interning Abroad Ruins Your Life

By Sarah Dilworth

Did you know that this year, Connect-123 turned 10 years old? To celebrate this, we ran an alumni contest, published “Top 10” blog posts, and have a few more surprises up our sleeve to close out this celebratory year. Something we have learned over our ten years working with interns, students, and young professionals is that spending time abroad- whether interning, volunteering, studying- changes you. To highlight this in a comedic way (we have other more serious posts specifically about reverse culture shock and how to leverage your international internship in your job hunt, here and here), we’ve compiled a cheeky list of ways that interning abroad “ruins” you for your normal life back at home!

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1. You realize the English language does not have every word you need, so you often interject other languages into your day to day conversations.

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2. Continually saying “that’s not how my colleagues in Barcelona did…” or “when I was working in Cape Town, we…” makes your new colleagues resentful (i.e. envious) of you.

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3. Your idea of work-life balance doesn’t fit with your home culture and you vow to change that.

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4. You’ve finally mastered the layout and public transportation systems of your new city. But only just before it’s time to come home, find a job and move to a city in your home country that feels even more foreign to you.

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5. After working all week, you expect to have an amazing weekend full of new experiences and beautiful sites. Instead you are stuck running errands and doing household chores you didn’t have time to do during the workweek.

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6. Your commute to your internship is via efficient public transit. Moving back home to a small town or an American city lacking public transit infrastructure finds you stuck in your car, in traffic for multiple hours a day.

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7. You now yearn for that feeling of mental exhaustion and satisfaction after a day of navigating life in a foreign language. But no, you know all the words in English.

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8. Making friends with a stranger at a cafe abroad just because they are reading a book in English or wearing a shirt from somewhere you know, totally normal. Making friends with strangers at a coffee shop in your home town for these same reasons, can get… awkward!

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9. Your new found independence comes to a fast halt when you move back to your parents for the summer after interning abroad.

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10. Connect-123 program interns, volunteers and staff are no longer a quick walk or subway journey away. But don’t despair, you can always keep up with our shenanigans on our Instagram and Facebook pages and be sure to join our Alumni network on LinkedIn!

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Sarah Dilworth

Marketing Coordinator
Sarah’s passion for cultural and educational travel was sparked by her first experience of studying abroad in Limerick, Ireland ten years ago. After graduating with a BA in Political Science from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, she returned to Ireland to study Intercultural Studies at Dublin City University. With experience working in primary and secondary education, cultural exchange, and marketing for an international education organization, Sarah founded a freelance business aimed at supporting small businesses and nonprofits to use social media and digital marketing to their fullest potential. Recently relocated to Buenos Aires, after a few years in Dublin, Sarah is looking forward to getting to know the many barrios, discovering new foodie spots, and exploring the cultural arts scene in Argentina.


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