Preparing to be a professional in another culture means not just wearing the right clothes and showing up on time (whatever that might mean in the host culture). It means understanding the mission of the organization and the role that interns play there - including how they are perceived by the local community. As an intern, you are an ambassador of your country, the IE3 program, your university, AND, although you may not feel ready for it yet, a representative of your host organization in their community.
The IE3 Handbook has many suggestions for preparing yourself professionally. A few you'll want to get started on right away include:
- understanding the dress code and packing correctly.
- exploring your internship site’s website (if they have one). Make a note of organizational lingo or foreign language terms that come up frequently.
- researching the organization's mission and work.
- talking to previous interns and reading final reports.
- keeping a list of vocabulary and acronyms that you will need for your internship.
- talking to people from that country or organization about expectations in a professional environment.