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Internships are a great way to gain practical work experience while gaining an insight into different kinds of occupations. Whether you’ve already decided to do an internship overseas or are still deciding, these tips will make sure you make a success of your working career.

Find accommodation close to your internship

Tardiness is never a good thing when it comes to internships, both in South Africa and abroad. If you are unable to find accommodation close to your internship, then ensure you are aware of all possible travel routes.  Also do your research about the cost of public transport and whether or not it is a viable option to ensure you get to work on time everyday.

Expect the unexpected

Often internships are not glamorous and may require you to get your hands dirty in the form of coffee making or errand running. These are standard jobs and duties of interns and its important that you keep an upbeat spirit about even the most mundane of tasks. Do every task to the best of your ability and always offer to help out on any and all tasks. Make sure that you do the jobs to the best of your ability too as this will help to build trust in your peers and possibly result in more difficult tasks and projects.

Research your company

Knowing everything about your company and the department you’re going to be working in is vital to your internship success. Have excellent knowledge of clients, company history and the senior members of staff. In your first two weeks be very observant and find out as much as possible about schedules and day to day activities of the department and business as a whole. This will put you in good stead to help out where necessary and problem solve business-related issues. By understanding a company, you will be better equipped to carry out tasks for the business and also enjoy the culture more.

Don’t abuse the time

Use your hours at the office wisely instead of wasting time on social media or other personal matters. If you find yourself with a bit of free time then research clients, the business or catch up on industry related news. Be proactive and keep your focus. Work on projects that you’ve overheard others talking about at the office and always let people know when you have free time to show them that you are willing to work.

Be honest

You are bound to make mistakes but make sure you know where you went wrong and most importantly, always own up to them. Never try to cover up your mistakes and ensure you show your superiors that you have learned from them. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice. Honesty also applies to asking questions. Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t understand something or that you are unsure of a task. Learn from your co-workers but also try to figure out some tasks by yourself before asking for help. Along with asking for assistance, ensure you ask for feedback on your work too- brace yourself for a bit of constructive criticism. Just remember, no matter how harsh the feedback, always remember your manners in the office.

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