By Allison Rumsas
I’m sure you’ve all done it- stared longingly at the hundreds of Instagram posts, Tweets, and Facebook albums of friends studying abroad. It seems that they are never actually studying, instead they spend their time traveling across the country or countries, taking pictures of various monuments and picturesque views that you have only seen in textbooks.
As Scripps Kids, our academic year is filled with attending class, working various jobs and being active members or leaders in multiple organizations. During the summer, our schedules are packed with working at an internship, sometimes even more than one. It is hard to find the time to go abroad, because no one wants to miss out on their precious time in the beautiful Athens, Ohio or miss out on an internship opportunity over the summer. However, by finding the right program you can enhance your resume while also enjoying your time abroad.
I recently was accepted onto the Hillel Onward Israel program and will be spending two months in Jerusalem, Israel this summer interning at BOMAH, the Brand of Milk and Honey. Here are some tips I learned while preparing for my trip and trying to make the most out of my experience abroad!
Google is your best friend. We are lucky to attend a university that encourages students to travel abroad as well as provides a variety of programs and program lengths to fit into any student’s schedule. However, your research shouldn’t stop here. Don’t be afraid to search for different program providers that may offer you an opportunity that the university can’t. There are hundreds of different programs out there, whether you are looking to receive class credit or an internship, you just have to find them!
Never settle. When getting ready to start a brand new and exciting experience it is easy to get carried away and commit to the first program or internship opportunity you find. Make sure to really take the time to research the program, both the expectations before and after you arrive, before making any commitments. If looking for an internship program, take the time to be picky about what you want your duties to be and the type of company you want to intern for. The more active you are in your search for a program or internship, the happier you’ll be with the outcome.
Take advantage of all opportunities. Besides just doing the basic requirements of your program while abroad, whether it be just taking classes or working a certain amount of hours at your internship, there are most likely more opportunities waiting to be taken advantage of. Offer to write blog posts about your and the other members of your group experiences while abroad or create a social media account that family and friends can all have access to. Doing something as simple as writing a blog post once a week can give you great portfolio material to supplement your program responsibilities.
Explore. Don’t forget to take the time to explore the city or country you’re living in. It’s easy to get carried away and focus solely on your internship or classes abroad. Get out and meet people in the community and within your group. Networking and making these connections will prove to be as valuable as the internship or classes taken once returning home!