10 tips to make the most of your Internship Program in Canada.
April 3, 2014
Posted in Study & Work
“I tell you and you forget. I show you and you remember. I involve you and you understand.”
Starting your internship program in Canada is an opportunity that will provide you with hands-on international work experience, help you gain practical skills, industry knowledge and it will open the door to future employment. The main point to take into account during your internship is “you will only get out of it what you put into it.”
We asked our interns in Vancouver what they think is the most valuable advice they could give to candidates that are planning on doing an internship abroad and getting international experience abroad. Below we summarized their advice in 10 tips
Of course it is great having done an internship with a big corporation, whose name is going to look good on your resume, however, the most important thing is to learn as much as possible obtaining insight knowledge about the business. This invaluable information will be critical during your future career. Many times small and medium-sized businesses in Canada will actually give you more practical professional experience and your work will more closely resemble real life situations. We work with some of the most dynamic host companies in cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary.
2. Be Enthusiastic about your internship in Canada.
You are starting a new internship or professional experience, so it must be something to be excited about. Be enthusiastic and professional. You need to show that you are able to give your full attention, have the skills to be part of the team and show a positive attitude as a young professional in a North American setting.
3. Have Initiative and gain trust early on.
Learn as much as you can about the industry of your host company. Seek out opportunities to learn and try to help with a project that interests you most. Don’t wait for someone to ask you to do something. Do the work given to you, but don’t stop there. If you think of ideas that may improve the operations of the business then bring these forward to your supervisor or during team meetings as it will show initiative and that you are enthusiastic about making a difference during your international working experience in Canada.
4. Ask Good Questions
Questions are not about quantity. Firstly, ask questions to yourself and then to your coworkers or supervisor. If you think your questions during your internship or professional experience are not getting the correct response or if you are missing guidance in the company then you can talk to your supervisor to resolve this issue. Communication is really important while doing an internship abroad but you need to prove that you’re able to think and act independently as well. Host companies in Canadian cities seek interns who are well able to work independently or as part of a team.
5. Know your limits
Being a good intern doesn’t mean being able to do as much as work as possible, it is about the quality of the work you are doing. You need to know when you have to say no to a project because accepting many projects may mean losing quality results. Be forthright with managers and co-workers about your workload, talk to them about the projects you’re working on so far and create self-imposed deadlines to stay on track. Once you get into your internship in Canada you will quickly learn various North American business techniques, which will assist you in spreading out your workload effectively.
6. Work as an actual employee
The best way to stand out during your professional internship is to be eager to learn and respectful to your work collogues. Remember that your supervisor needs to know that you are capable of small things before they can trust you with more important tasks. Your performance as an intern on the daily tasks will be noted and can earn you more responsibility as time passes.
7. Ask for feedback
Once the internship gets going ask for feedback. Make it easy for your co-workers to give you input that will help you grow. Your co-workers can be helpful to you by telling you about job leads, recommending you for a job and helping you consider various international career choices. Though most people are happy to offer this kind of help, they might not offer it if you don’t explicitly ask.
8. Networking in Canada.
This is one of the most important results of your internship abroad. It is an excellent opportunity to develop a professional network in Canada, make international contacts, impress professionals who have connections in the field you are interested and get a good international recommendation. Don’t be embarrassed to contact your former supervisor in Canada for advice or help looking for your future job. It is also crucially important to not forget that your current supervisor/colleague will become a reference, even when you come back to your home country after your international work
experience, so you need to first a foremost make a good impression on them as they could make a difference in your future professional career, either in Canada or in your home country. Host companies in cities like Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary operate on the basis of networking and see it as one of the strongest skills to acquire in order to succeed in Canadian business.
9. Finish your internship in Canada with completed projects.
The main objective of an internship abroad is to leave with tangible results so you can show the proof of your international experience on your resume. Create a portfolio about what you’ve achieved during your internship in Canada. Take pictures, keep copies of your work products (asking before always for permission) and ask for letters of recommendation.
10. See your internships as a trial in the industry.
Every internship will be a learning curve for you but also a process of elimination as you get insight knowledge of the industry, both the positive and negative aspects. Maybe you will end up in a completely different field but you gained the knowledge of this industry to realize what kind of activities /tasks you are stronger at or what you prefer to do in your future career.
Can you think of other advice that you don’t see here? Let’s us know about your experience in the comments below.
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