Challenges of doing an internship abroad

a testimony from the participants of the PON project from the school Polo Tecnico Franchetti-Salviani

The difference between a problem and a challenge… are they actually really different things? No. Because every problem has a solution, therefore the real challenge is actually finding the solution to your problem.

For a student doing a work experience abroad, this always represents a great chance for both the scholastic and the human point of view. Particularly for a teenager, because he or she is faced to problems that he usually hasn’t. We asked some students who had this experience, in order to explain to us the issues and the challenges they had to face. For example Margherita, a seventeen year old Italian girl who went in Berlin for one month and she liked very much her internship: she visited a lot of amazing museums, famous monuments and iconic places; but even though – she had some issues to overcome her experience abroad. For example she told us, that taking the subway and using the public transport system in Berlin has been a big challenge for her, because she comes from a small city in Italy and she usually doesn’t use the underground transportation. Another challenge for her has been the communication: in fact she can’t speak German and not all the people in Berlin can speak English, even at the work placements, so it was very difficult to adapt to this situation.

Another student taking part in this experience abroad is Ayoub. He is 18 yeas old and he comes from Italy as well. He goes to the same school as Margherita, except that he studies Electronics. During his stay in Berlin he worked for an ICT shop called “Webspace Electronic” where the main tasks of his internship were: stocking in the warehouse, working with devices which had some issues in their software for example and changing some PC components. The main challenge for him was that he didn’t study ICT that advanced in order to do this type of job, so he had to learn something more. Dealing with the transportation in Berlin and the foreign language wasn’t that hard for him, because he had a good level of spoken English and he was used to using Google Maps, so he never got lost in this Metropolis. He got to love Berlin so much during his stay here, that he would like to come back one day in order to study Law or Economics at one of the universities here.

By the end of their experience, those two Italian students gave us some tips:

First of all, before coming to do an internship in Berlin, you should have at least a good level of English, like B1 or B2 (which is even better) because it will be the only language you will speak during your working hours and meetings at Berlink. Plus everything will be much easier. The other option is also to learn German – but the language is not that easy like English.

Second of all: ALWAYS BRING WITH YOU YOUR TICKET FOR THE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. If you DON’T bring it along, you will be fined 60 € by the authorities. In addition, you should always bring a map with you or better – use Google Maps or BVG Applications on your phone, which are user-friendly apps.

Or if you are facing any problems at your work placement, just follow our advice:

-​ If you feel sick , tell your employer about it , so that he knows about your condition and if it gets any worse – contact a doctor IMMEDIATELY.

​ You have to tell your employer if you are going to have some problems, related to the tasks you have to do​ (like the health problems that Ayoub was facing during his stay, so he can’t lift any heavy stuff for example).

And meanwhile, while you are dealing with all those challenges and problems, don’t forget to have fun and take part in the activities, organised by Berlink in the evening, like going out in the evening and getting to know the city better. Just have some goodwill and enjoy it!

Article written by the participants of the PON project from the school Polo Tecnico Franchetti-Salviani, Italy

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