5 Ways to Prepare for an Internship Abroad

CISabroad blogger Katherine Wolfe participated in CISabroad’s Intern in New Zealand program during Summer 2017. A Marketing major at Ohio State University, Katherine offers five great ways to prepare for an amazing internship abroad experience – both mentally and logistically!  


1. First of all.. GET EXCITED!

This is going to be one of the most incredible experiences you’ve ever embarked on. You’ll meet amazing people who will change your thinking and your life in ways that you could never have imagined. No matter what type of internship you are going for, you will learn so much about the workforce and about how different places in the world treat the workplace. I was an Oklahoma girl doing a marketing internship in New Zealand, and the workplaces are quite different. In Oklahoma, I was used to a much more formal atmosphere, whereas New Zealand’s work style is laid back — most workplaces have an open layout and encourage camaraderie among employees.

2. Don’t forget to check the weather!

Depending on where you go, the weather may be the opposite of what you’re used to at home. I did my internship during New Zealand’s winter, which is my summer back home, so obviously it’s a little (a lot) chillier here than what I am normally used to in June and July. Make sure you research the weather where you are going and prepare accordingly. I underestimated the cold weather so I ended up having to buy a warmer coat once I got here!

3. Make sure you check with your workplace and ask about their everyday work attire.

There’s nothing worse than being extremely nervous on your first day and then showing up and being way under or overdressed. You’ill feel much more confident and prepared if you figure that out beforehand.

4. Even though most people don’t like to admit it or talk about it, homesickness is a real thing.

My advice for combating the inevitable homesickness is to prepare in advance. I knew that being gone for eight weeks was going to be difficult for me and I also knew that the first week or two was going to be the hardest. Instead of trying to avoid it, I mentally prepared myself beforehand that yes, I was probably going to struggle and maybe shed a few tears, but that it was going to be so worth it.

This ended up holding true. The first two weeks were hard and I did cry a few times, but because I had my awesome roommate and my family back home encouraging and supporting me, I was able to stay positive. I know that if I hadn’t committed to this experience, I would have been so upset with myself and would have truly regretted not taking this opportunity. When you are in the midst of a homesick spell, reach out to those around you because they’ll be so helpful and understanding. Also, don’t be afraid to call home — sometimes that’s what ends up being the most comforting. And lastly…don’t be embarrassed! Everyone gets homesick and sad even if they don’t admit it, so embrace the fact that you are so blessed to have a home that you miss so much.

5. Enjoy every moment!

For most, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so don’t let a second pass you by without stepping back and realizing where you are and what you’re doing. Your time abroad is going to fly by and you’ll be back home before you know it, so take every chance you have to dive into the culture and travel around whatever country you’re in. Get out of your comfort zone and eat at places you wouldn’t normally, take spontaneous weekend trips, and take advantage of the fact that you are living in a new country and the world is at your fingertips!

One last thing… you are SO brave for putting yourself out there and going on this adventure, so never doubt yourself or your abilities. Most people want to study or intern abroad, but just don’t have the courage to commit. So be proud of yourself!


Curious about what an internship with CISabroad (like the one Katherine experienced) is like? Check out our Intern in New Zealand program (and other great New Zealand programs). SAVE $250 on any New Zealand program when you use the promo code KIWI250 and apply before Feb. 1. Email or chat with an advisor to see how we can customize a program for you!

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Student Spotlight: Intern in New Zealand

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Meet Alex F from East Stroudsburg University currently on the program, Intern in New Zealand working in the film industry. We recently caught up with her to check-in about her internship goals and to see how things were going. 


 

“Interning abroad has been teaching me a lot about responsibility and decision making. From deciding on which deals are the best at the grocery store to how to design a new project assigned, I am learning more about both myself and the world around me.

I am constantly setting goals for myself, both little and small. Some are as simple as making sure I don’t impulsively buy things while others are more career oriented, such as challenging myself to triple check projects to make sure my work is excellent. It is very important to view assignments from different angles and viewpoints so that is something that I am really enjoying being able to put into practice. Living in another country is a great way to discover who you really are and that has been a very exciting and new discovery.

Each day has its own new goals and challenges and I plan to achieve them by being wise and humble. There is so much that I don’t know and can’t wait to learn.”

 

New Zealand

“The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God – if they call God at all. I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody. That’s what I think.” Maya Angelou

 

New Zealand Coast

Scorching Bay – Wellington, New Zealand

You can follow Alex this semester, check out her blog, https://amfnz.wordpress.com

 

Interning Abroad: Do I Choose New Zealand or Australia?

Internships are all about experiences and opportunities, and the world is your oyster when doing it abroad. Interning abroad is a fantastic idea as it demonstrates to future employers your flexibility and adaptability to the work environment–a quality that is prized in almost every field. When deciding whether to intern abroad in Australia or New Zealand, it’s almost impossible to go wrong. Fortunately, the seemingly difficult choice between them comes down to just three F’s: your field, your finances, and your future.

ResearchField

The Field

The first consideration is the type of work you will be doing in your internship. Australia and New Zealand are similar culturally, but the types of businesses you will find in each country vary.

If your internship includes work in ecology, forestry, agriculture, or tourism, then New Zealand is the best destination for you. As one of the most naturally beautiful nations on Earth, New Zealand is a prime tourist destination for people from all over the world. In fact, the tourism industry accounts for nearly 10% of all jobs in New Zealand, and nearly 10% of the nation’s GDP as well. Anyone looking to work in the tourism management or hospitality fields would be hard pressed to find a better location for an internship abroad than New Zealand.

Most of these tourists are drawn to the natural purity New Zealand boast as second to none. As a result, the ecological well-being of the country is central to its economy. Jobs are plentiful in the fields of ecology, natural resource management, and forestry, and the potential learning experience provided by an internship in these fields is world class.

Lastly, agriculture is the largest sector of the New Zealand economy with major production areas in beef and dairy cattle, sheep for wool and meat, and crops such as hay for livestock feeding. Those studying agriculture would be well served by an internship in New Zealand, as many farming techniques utilized by the Kiwis are comparatively different from large scale farming techniques seen in North America.

Australia, on the other hand, is a thoroughly interconnected nation in the global economy, and certainly more so than New Zealand. Since Australia is substantially larger than New Zealand, internship placements here will be much more varied in their topic areas. Internships can be found in just about any field one could find in the United States. Financial sector internships with large, multinational corporations are available in the major cities while positions in the field of zoology and marine biology are plentiful in both urban and rural settings.

Furthermore, positions in science and engineering will tend to be more widely available in Australia. The medical science field can provide an interesting intern experience, allowing for comparisons with the American health care system. Finally, the presence of the large manufacturing companies provide positions in several branches of the engineering sector including chemical, industrial, and civil engineering.

budgetThe Finances

If one nation doesn’t stand out on the merit of the field you are studying, then the cost of living may be a deciding factor. Both countries are thoroughly modern and neither is necessarily better or worse, but there are several key differences. For starters, the cost of living will vary somewhat between the two, as well as between locations within the countries. In New Zealand  the cost of living  may be noticeably cheaper. Keep your eye on the exchange rate.

futureThe Future

The final factor that should be taken into consideration is the simple question, “Why am I doing my internship abroad?” Is your goal to someday move to the country you will be going to, or are you interested in a temporary placement and nothing more? If the latter is true, then Australia may be the better choice with its plentiful multinational corporations. Experience here is very applicable to experience with a US company, and skills acquired can easily be transferred to a career back home. New Zealand, on the other hand, could be the better choice if your goal is to one day return in order to work in your field long term. The compact size of the country allows for more connections between business contacts and the smaller average size of companies means a good internship experience can potentially turn into a concrete job offer, something that is essential to obtaining an immigration visa.


Deciding to complete an internship with CISabroad is a fantastic educational decision. The experience of adjusting to the professional world in another country is a great resume booster, and learning to assimilate to life overseas can prove to be invaluable life skill. If your goal is to intern in Australia or New Zealand then congratulations, you’ve already made a solid choice. Choosing between the two nations is perhaps the most difficult obstacle remaining. When doing so, just keep in mind which country would be best for your F’s: your field, your finances, and your future. If you can come up with an answer for each, then your destination country should quickly become clear.

Still having a hard time making a decision? Call our advisors at CISabroad – 877-617-9090; we can also connect you with our alumni network! We wish you the best of luck in this journey.

 

Meet Seth Weil : CISabroad Program Coordinator

IMG_0015Seth Weil is the CISabroad Program Coordinator for Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii. He’s only been with CISabroad for a short amount of time, but you wouldn’t guess it! Seth is full of energy and loves to help out his students studying abroad.

What is your job as a programs coordinator?
I manage all aspects of our programs in Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii. I work with the students from the time that they apply until they come back home. I like to serve as a guide and a resource throughout the experience. Studying abroad can be a complicated process at times, especially for students who have never been outside of the US. I like to make sure they are provided with all the resources, but also make sure that they feel comfortable throughout all of the different steps.

Whats your favorite part of your job?
I love working at CISabroad! I love the people who work here and I of course love the dogs. Most of all I love working with the students. I’ve been in this field for 2 ½ years, prior to working here I was working at a university. With this job I really get to focus on one area of the world, as opposed to advising everywhere. I get to work with amazing colleagues in a job I love!

How did you come to focus on Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii?
I studied abroad in NewCastle, Australia in 2011. I fell in love with Australia and the whole study abroad experience after my junior year of college. I studied abroad three times while I was a student. Most of my time was in Australia and I loved the culture and made some great friends who are still there. It was just a natural fit for me to focus on this region.

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On site with Australia Site Director Jackie C.

Where have you traveled/studied abroad?
Along with studying in Australia, I did two short term programs in Córdoba, Argentina and the Dominican Republic. I have traveled to 16 different countries and lived all over the world my entire life. Travel has been an important part of my life since I was really young. It’s been really great to help other people experience that. I am asking people who have never been out of the country to take a pretty big leap of faith and travel for 30 hours to get to their destination. I think that’s pretty amazing.

Number one thing you have to do while in Australia?
Heading to the beach is a given! You have to try a meat pie from a street vendor. If you have the opportunity you should go to any type of street fair, they occur all over the continent. If you can, definitely do something where you’re experiencing aboriginal culture whether that is a guided tour, a festival, or a lecture. When I was in Australia, the best course I took was an aboriginal culture and society course. It was taught by this amazing professor who really had the odds against him because of his background. Taking that course was incredibly inspiring.

What do you do in your spare time?
I love to be active and outdoors, and luckily Northampton is wonderful for that. I love running, cooking, biking, kayaking, and of course traveling. Whether it’s a weekend trip somewhere local or going international, I’m always looking for new places to go!

 

Tim Tam Slam Lessons from CISabroad Staff

Have you ever traveled to Australia or New Zealand?

Then you’ll know the art of the Tim Tam Slam! If you haven’t, keep reading, you don’t want to miss how to eat this gooey treat! This morning two of CISabroad’s Customized Faculty Led Program Coordinators, Alyx Raffo and Sarah Bradhsaw gave a small lesson to CISabroad staff in our office “living room.” Sarah traveled to New Zealand in 2008 and Alyx went on the CISabroad Semester on the Gold Coast program in 2011, she’s #cisabroadalumni! Enjoy, mate!

Tim Tam Slam with CISabroad Staff! #cisabroadstaff #cisabroad #instagood #timtamslam

A video posted by CISabroad (@cisabroad) on

Are you a #foodie and love to #travel? Comment below with your favorite finds from traveling abroad! #gnamgnam

Nine Foods to Try in New Zealand

This post was contributed by Amanda Zetah – student at Colorado State University, world-traveler and travel writer.

While studying abroad, I encountered many cultures and was excited to learn about each and every one of them. When I got back to the United States, I was a little heartbroken that everyone talked and looked the same as I did. That’s why I decided to be an exchange mentor for a student that was coming to study abroad at my university. I have been mentoring Rebecca, who goes by Beks, for a few months now. She’s taught me more than I ever thought possible about the culture of New Zealand, being that she is a native of Christchurch.

She always raves to me about how much she misses the food back home. She complains that our milk and bread in America tastes weird and that she would be ecstatic if she could find a store that sold tim-tams or pineapple lumps that she could munch on while studying. If I ever find myself in New Zealand, I’ll be sure to try these nine foods, because she can’t seem to stop talking about them:

1. Tim-Tams

According to Beks, tim-tams are a heavenly treat best served with a side of hot chocolate. She explained that a tim-tam consists of two chocolate biscuits separated by chocolate filling and coated in even more chocolate. Beks told me that dipping the tim-tam in hot chocolate loosens up and melts some of the chocolate, making it absolutely delicious. At first, it sounded to me like a complete chocolate overload. But, she made her mom mail us some and I got to try it — needless to say, I’ve found my new favorite dessert!

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2. Afghans

Because she is living in the dorms while studying abroad, Beks always asks to borrow my kitchen. Last time she came over, she whipped up these cookies called Afghans and they were to die for. Afghans consist of double chocolate cookies with corn flakes mixed in, topped with chocolate icing. I would have never thought to include corn flakes into my cookie batter, but it was a nice touch and added the perfect crunch every time I took a bite.

3. Pineapple Lumps

The name caught me off guard with these ones and I was hesitant to try some. Beks had her friends mail us some and she begged me to try just one. I took my first bite of the chewy pineapple lump coated in chocolate and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Pineapple lumps come in a bag, similar to a bag of gummy bears, but they are coated in chocolate. The sour and sweet made for a delicious combination.

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4. Savory Pies

Beks became excited when I mentioned that there are loads of different pies at the bakeries in town. She said in her town of Christchurch, people eat pies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That confused me a bit, because I only eat pumpkin pie once a year at Thanksgiving. After explaining to her that we only have sugary, sweet pies, she became deflated. She said that there is a pie shop back home in New Zealand that has over 500 varieties of pies — they stuff the pies with chicken, beef, pork, vegetables, etc. They treat it as a meal, instead of a holiday dessert.

5. Biscuits

When I think of biscuits, I think of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls at Thanksgiving dinner or at Christmas time. Biscuits, in New Zealand, are something completely different. Beks refers to cookies as “biscuits” and brings a sleeve of them whereever she goes. To me, they just seem like chocolate chip cookies, but to her, they remind her of home. Either way, I’ll be sure to try them when I make my way down to visit her.

6. Chips

Beks and I went out to dinner at a burger joint last Friday night. By no fault of her own, she asked the waitress for a tray of chips with salt and ketchup. After the waitress left, I asked Beks why she would ever put ketchup on potato chips and she looked confused. Apparently, chips are french fries in New Zealand. Before we could correct the mistake, the waitress brought out potato chips doused in ketchup. I feel like I would get confused too, especially if I ever go to New Zealand. Apparently, French fries are New Zealand chips and crisps are American chips. Makes total sense, right?

7. Wine 

I had no idea, but New Zealand is home to many great vineyards and they produce a great deal of delicious wines. Our personal favorite is Matawhero chardonnay. They also make a great merlot and an even better cabernet. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go back to drinking California wine again.

8. Green-lipped mussels

New Zealand is separated into two islands: the North and South Islands. Both are bordered by water in some shape or form, so their seafood is absolutely to die for. Beks told me that the green-lipped mussels are the best — they are meaty and succulent and delicious if paired with the right sauce and spices. Being that we are land-locked in Colorado, she can’t seem to stop talking about the fresh seafood she gets to eat back home.

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9. Marmite

On our last ski trip, Beks brought a can of Marmite along as a snack. She dared me to try some on my finger, but warned me not to take a lot. It was like eating a whole carton of salt and I only had a little bit! She said it’s perfect on toast and is definitely an acquired taste. It might take me a bit longer to get used to this one, but I’ll be sure to try it when I go to New Zealand.

Have you ever been to New Zealand? What was your favorite food over there? Leave a comment below! 

Travel Tip: How to Have Fun Outside While Studying Abroad!

If you’re the adventurous type already, you’ll be surprised how much more adventurous you’ll tend to be while studying abroad! As the travel bug bites, it seems to also infect you with an itchy sense of adventure. You will likely find yourself uninhibited, eager to try new things, and exceptionally vulnerable to taking off on a trip at the drop of a hat. We’ve written a prescription for your “adventure fever” and it includes CISabroad sponsored excursions, as well as highly recommended activities we’ll gladly help you execute.

Here are just a few examples of ways that you can get your outdoor adventure fix on some of our CISabroad programs:

  • Zip-lining in Costa Rica: Explore the rainforest from a birds-eye view on a high-flying zip-line canopy tour. Participants strap into a harness attached to a cable and glide over miles of forest and river terrain at speeds of up to 100 mph.
  • Scuba diving in Ecuador: The Galapagos Islands are a world-class scuba diving and snorkeling site, often referred to as one of the “Seven Underwater Wonders of the World.” Swimmers can mingle with sharks and sea lion pups alike, while threading through schools of brightly colored fish, Manta Rays, and barracudas. A protected and largely pollution-free environment, the Galapagos are perfect for anyone looking to experience marine environments in their purest form.

    study abroad excursions zip lining in Costa Rica

    Zip lining in Costa Rica – heart-racing adventure with a view!

  • Wildlife safaris in South Africa: South Africa has over 600 parks and reserves, one of the most famous being Kruger National Park. Whether taking a drive across the savannah or camping out under acacia trees, you’ll see the “Big Five”- lions, leopards, elephants, Cape buffaloes and black rhinos, among other exotic wildlife.
  • Hiking the Southern Alps in New Zealand: New Zealand was used in filming each Lord of the Rings movie, and it’s no wonder why. With beautiful beaches, grassy hills and majestic mountains, New Zealand has it all. There are tons of amazing hiking trails on the South Island and are perfect for camping and fishing.
  • Surfing in Australia: You can find surfing is most places along the Australian coastline where you will have access to the Great Barrier Reef, not to mention enough miles of beautiful beaches to keep you happy for a very long time.

So whether land, sea, jungle, or mountain, there is so much to see and do on your travels abroad!

If you have traveled abroad, what was your favorite outdoor adventure or excursion? Share with a comment below!

For more information about CISabroad programs and what types of excursions they include, please contact an advisor.

Travel Tip: Getting Your (Unusual) Sports Fix Abroad

With the “March Madness” of the NCAA basketball tournament in full swing, you may be wondering how you could justify missing such thrilling competition if you were to study abroad or intern abroad. While we certainly hope television programming wouldn’t keep you from the life-changing experience of traveling overseas, we understand a lot factors into your decision to go or not, and where and when to go. Below, you’ll find some unusual sports abroad that may or may not satisfy your inner competitor but will definitely leave you a bit perplexed.

Cheese racing
Courtesy of The Black Azar, Flickr

England
Cheese racing
Let’s start with cheese racing. Yes, you heard correctly. In England you can take part in the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake. It is a surprisingly dangerous event with participants chasing a 7 pound wheel of cheese down a steep hill. The person with the first cheese wheel across the finish line takes home a lot of cheese and other cash prizes.

Shin-kicking
If a large cheese prize doesn’t motivate you, head down the street to try your luck at shin-kicking, or “hacking,” a strength and endurance challenge similar to martial arts. The prize here we suppose: not getting your shins kicked…as much.

Ireland
Road bowling
A long-standing tradition in Ireland, road bowling involves hurling a small lead ball down country roads in as few throws as possible. Spectators gather along the road in hopes to get the best possible view without being on the receiving end of the lead ball.

Australia
Sheep racing
Every April, a small community in the Australian outback swells with tourists and sheep racers. It’s a fun, family affair and there’s even a prize for best dressed (sheep, of course).

Apple racing
Chuck an apple off a bridge and hope it floats down the river faster than the others! This fundraising event takes place on the island of Tasmania.

Zorb ball
Courtesy of Juan Guthrie, Flickr

New Zealand
Zorb ball
Zorbing, or rolling downhill inside a massive inflatable ball, has gained momentum recently (pun intended) as a new extreme sport in New Zealand. If you’ve ever wondered how your clothes feel in the dryer, this is your chance to experience that feeling yourself.

France
Parkour
You may not have guessed that the stunts performed in movies such as Casino Royale and The Bourne Ultimatum originate from the decades-old French discipline of “movement and holistic well-being.” The Office’s Michael, Dwight and Andy have a different interpretation of parkour, as they chant “hardcore parkour” while stunting around the office. Recently, parkour has even been included in the training of various military branches in the U.S. and Britain.

Have you observed or participated in any wild and whacky sports abroad? Leave a comment here to share your experience! 

CISabroad Featured Student: Hayley, Semester in New Zealand

Hayley NHayley N.

Hayley N. is a 20 year-old University of Maryland, College Park student who studied with us in the Spring 2010 on our Semester on the North Island, New Zealand.

What classes did you take while abroad?

Philosophy and ESOL Education

What was your favorite class and why? Theories of Existence, because I had an amazing professor who was really dedicated to teaching. He was a man in his seventies who would bring tea, coffee, and snacks to the students every week, and would host review sessions on Saturdays!  He said that he was planned to dedicate his entire life to his students, and that’s exactly what he did. It was a humbling and lucky experience to have him as a professor!

What type of accommodation did you have? Did you like it?  I lived in University Hall, which was individual houses for study abroad students. I thought it was really neat to have a kiwi mate, which was a person who was from New Zealand, because she was able to guide us through our adjustment period.

What extracurricular activities did you participate in?  I participated in meditation club, which was really neat! We got free vegan food each week as well, which was certainly a nice perk.  I also participated in intramural soccer, which was a great chance to meet New Zealanders and brush up on my otherwise rusty soccer skills.  My favorite activity in Wellington was volunteering at Kimi Ora School, which is a special school for children who have profound cognitive and physical disabilities. I had the chance to learn about the educational system in New Zealand and compare it to the US, and really loved experiencing the alternative methods they used in their classrooms that were so sucessful.

What were the most noticeable differences between your home university and your host university while abroad?  The level of independence expected of the students was certainly the most drastic difference, although I suspect most people who go to a school outside the US find that contrast to be hugely apparent. Students commuted to school, were less involved with clubs and activities, and were expected to do more independent study for their courses.

Did you travel while abroad? If yes, where did you go?  I definitely traveled while abroad! It was one of the best parts of the trip! I went all over the north and south islands, primarily visiting wildlife sanctuaries and natural landmarks like Mt. Tongariro or Milford Sound! I absolutely loved encountering so many different types of wildlife that don’t exist anywhere else in the entire world except for New Zealand, like the kea, kaka, and kakapo birds, as well as the tuatara!

What do you miss most about your host country? I miss the peacefulness of most people, their patience and civility, their deeper connection with the environment, and the lower level of stress they encounter. I also miss the cats who hang out on the side of the street, because I made good friends with lots of them! But to better answer the question, I actually made a list of all the things I would miss during my last journal entry online HERE.

What was your most challenging travel experience?  My most challenging travel experience was actually returning to the US, where I had to reconcile my changed identity with the cultural and societal demands of the bustling US way of life. I just felt like I wanted to go back, and that I wasn’t quite as comfortable here in the US where people don’t know how to slow down.

What are five things you packed that you wish you hadn’t? 

Nothing!!!

What are five things you didn’t pack that you wish you had? Luna bars (they don’t have protein bars like we do in the US), American school supplies (in NZ, it’s a red standard notebook or no notebook at all), glad that I packed lots of vitamins and medicines because they don’t take up much space and cost a lot to buy all over again, better clothing for camping/hiking including a sleeping bag, medicines for stomach aches (they just don’t have them, really!).