Interning Abroad

Posted on Sunday, Jul 14, 2019

Getting to live and work abroad as an international PPIP intern for months at a time is a special life experience. Through this experience, you can live and work in a place you’ve never been before, interact each day with people you’ve never met before, and you learn how to succeed in an unfamiliar environment. There is opportunity for discovery and self-growth around every corner but only if you allow yourself to experience it.
Many American interns come to Europe and travel to every country they can like it’s a race to the finish. While there is an amazing opportunity to travel the countries in and around Europe, you can do this type of vacation at any point in your life. However, you will not be able to so easily live in a European city for months at a time like this program allows you to do. Be wary of traveling out of your hosting city so much to the point where you forget to become a part of the city and country that you’re in.
There is something special about really connecting to the culture of the city you’re in each weekend rather than spending it aboard planes. Learn the history by going to the museums, search for the oddities of the city, explore the important foods and learn the significance behind each dish. Put yourself out there to meet locals and make friendships with the people that can show you more about the city than any travel site could offer. Additionally, make a priority of staying and exploring all parts of your hosting country. Rather than spend a week of your free time out of your hosting country, take day trips to multiple cities within that country and learn their culture too because each city will be drastically different.
These experiences will help you to become connected to the place you’re at in a way that you could not get from vacationing around Europe. Learning the history and culture of the country you’re in will drastically improve your understanding of public policy in Europe as well. Why have the same experience of the millions of tourists in Europe each year when you can learn to be a local instead?

Dylan Manshack
U.S. Commercial Service
Madrid, Spain | summer 2019