This blog post is intended for Western students interested in future Western Heads East Internships! I think the number one thing this internship caters to is a love for travel and desire for experiencing new people and cultures, in addition to wanting to gain work-experience abroad. The following post has application tips and insight into what you should expect as an intern:
- The application is a fairly straightforward process, and is found on Western’s portal for global experiences: Atlas, in addition to the application questions, you will also have to submit your resume and a cover letter! I would recommend highlighting reasons why you want to participate in a WHE internship and how it would impact your life/future career goals…
- The WHE program can cater to students of all faculties and even students who are wishing to gain experience in a field that isn’t necessarily their degree of study: Even though I am a Health Science student, I got many opportunities this summer to work in more of a business/public relations role which was very cool! Be open to trying new things and expanding your skillset!
- Make use of as many Scholarship opportunities as possible both from Western International and your respective faculty, a lot of upfront costs can be covered through these funding opportunities… https://www.uwo.ca/international/learning/go_abroad/funding.html
- MY NUMBER ONE TIP FOR STUDENTS CONSIDERING AN INTERNSHIP ROLE WITH WHE: REACH OUT TO PAST INTERNS!!! Their firsthand experiences are invaluable in deciding whether this internship is right for you – Feel free to message me anytime on Facebook, email or even in the comment section of this blog post – The interns from past years were very helpful to me this summer, and I am very grateful for all their input in answering my questions, so I would love to be able to do the same for future interns!
- The 90-day WHE internship commitment seems long, but once you get accustomed to life in your host country, you’ll be wishing you had more time for travel —-On that note, plan out trips and things you’d like to do while you’re in that country in advance; since you’re so far from home, you might as well take the time for travel! This year we found time during weekends and added an extra 8 days after our 90 days of work to travel to Serengeti, Moshi/Kilimanjaro, various parts of Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam.
- There will be many opportunities to get out of your comfort zone – Embrace the challenge! Whether it is work-related or not: Being in a different country with new people that you just met can be intimidating at first but opening up and making new friends will make this experience all the better!
- Bring a USB stick/hard drive with you, WIFI is not reliable especially if you need to send an important document to someone right away, trust me you’ll be wishing you had one in those moments!
- Hand-washing laundry is a pain: bring stain remover sticks to make your life somewhat easier!
- Don’t be discouraged by changes in initial goals – or slow timelines; find ways to put your energy elsewhere when things don’t go as planned – TRUST ME, it will happen! If anything, take advantage of the fact that you’re in a new country where there are a billion new things you could be doing at any given point in time!
- Pack light – this way you have room for more souvenirs to bring back home and you will probably only end up wearing half of what you pack! Your friends and family will thank you for it later too!
- TRAVEL as much as possible!
- Impromptu meetings often work better in Tanzania than planned ones – just show up and see if they are available to talk! On that note, be aware of TFT – Tanzanian Flexible Time! Also try to learn as much Swahili as possible, even though you often will be working translator it’s nice to be able to communicate somewhat on your own as well!
- Find EXPAT friends: Not only will they know the city you are living in better and have recommendations of things to do/places to eat; they also provide good company 😊
- Even though I already mentioned this – I’m going to say it again: REACH OUT TO PAST INTERNS for literally any questions, concerns or even just to learn more about WHE and internship experience…
Thanks once again to everyone who supported me this summer, and asante sana to all the wonderful souls in Mwanza, who I already miss dearly. And if you are still reading this post and want to learn more – please do reach out at: firstname.lastname@example.org!