How to Make The Most Out of Your International Co-​​op

• from Meisha Swaby

Many North­eastern stu­dents are about to begin their first inter­na­tional co- op. To help them max­i­mize their expe­ri­ences, we asked six stu­dents who have done global co- ops to share the wisdom they’ve cul­ti­vated from having lived and worked abroad.

Evan Bruning, SSH’17, who worked on inter­na­tional co- op at the Office of the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Bosnia and Herzegovina:

Read up on the country’s cul­ture and the lifestyle, but be pre­pared to expe­ri­ence some­thing very dif­ferent from what you’re accus­tomed to. To make new friends and cul­ti­vate con­nec­tions, join a meet- up group or go out for dinner with your col­leagues. When I was working at the Office of the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, my col­leagues were really open and honest and gave me some fan­tastic career advice. And don’t be afraid to take the ini­tia­tive; two months into my inter­na­tional co- op, I began orga­nizing weekly meet- up ses­sions, which helped me get to know many other young people.

Aline Bis­sell, DMSB’17, who worked on inter­na­tional co- op at JVWEB, an e- marketing agency in France:

Talk with your col­leagues out­side of the work set­ting and see if your man­ager would be willing to be a kind of cul­tural advisor for you. But don’t put too much pres­sure on your­self and give your­self time to adjust to your new envi­ron­ment. Join an activ­i­ties group or ask the Global Expe­ri­ence Office to con­nect you with other North­eastern stu­dents who might be working or studying in the same country.

Mon­tana Fredrick, SSH’17, who worked on inter­na­tional co- op at Guest­ToGuest, a home exchange com­pany in France:

Develop a deep rela­tion­ship with your co- workers, and try to find one or two people within the com­pany who can advo­cate for you and teach you as much as pos­sible. When you’re out of the office, walk around and explore your neigh­bor­hood. Go gro­cery shop­ping and visit museums or other attrac­tions to famil­iarize your­self with the country’s nuances.