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2. On site - During the internship

2.1 Introduction to a new country

When you arrive in the country, you will be met by the coordinator of the hosting organisation. He will give you a short introduction to the area where you will live for the next few weeks and provide some basic facts about the local culture. Also bear in mind what you have already read in the before section.

Your coordinator might tell you something about the following topics:

  • your accommodation

  • tickets for public transport

  • bus stops

  • maps of the area

  • tips for how you could spend your spare time

  • fitness clubs, swimming pools, sports activities

  • special events

  • opening hours of shops and where they are

  • where you can do your laundry

  • banks and cash disposal machines

  • restaurants + pubs

  • tourist office

  • ...

Very often your coordinator will provide you with a handout summarizing all the necessary information. You will find some examples in the tools section.

2.2 The start: introduction to the company

On your first day at the company you will be introduced to a lot of new people and your new work place. You will get to know your boss and your colleagues. Further you will get information about working hours, safety regulations, and many other things related to your tasks. Often there is an introductory interview. Be friendly and motivated and don’t hesitate to ask questions if you haven’t understood some of the explanations.

Your supervisor might give you some information about the following topics:

  • The company, its products or services, contact persons, traditions and customs;

  • The roles and responsibilities in your team and if there are team meetings;

  • Working hours, daily tasks, times for meals and breaks;

  • House rules, procedures for reporting ill, for late arrival, rules about smoking, dress code;

  • Security and fire alarms, use of safety clothes and shoes, name badges, entry codes;

  • Documentation (driving license);

  • Risks related to your job, medical examination, things that are bad for your health;

  • Work procedures, confidential company, quality policies;

  • Equipment and responsibility for the equipment.

2.3 Learning at the workplace

Remember that the most important reason why you are on an internship is to improve your skills and your knowledge. The people in the company will help you to reach your goal.

What is expected from me?

When you are a trainee on internship in an industrial company, there are some key competences that are expected from you

  • You acquired a basic technical knowledge in your field of study.

  • You have learned certain skills to apply this knowledge: research skills, technical analysis and problem-solving skills, critical thinking, language skills, communicative skills and technical skills typical for your learning pathway.

  • You are also expected to be someone with these basic attitudes: orderly, punctual, motivated, respectful, positive, sociable, with a sense of initiative, flexible, creative.

  • Respect the work regulations;

  • Try to do nothing that could cause harm to the good name of the company;

  • Make sure you're always on time and report for being absent or late;

  • Keep your internship-logbook with you and hand in your internship reports;

  • Complete the instructions of your supervisor as well as you can;

  • Try not to damage products, tools or equipment;

  • Do your job in a safe and healthy way;

  • It’s better you go to your supervisor if you have a problem.

2.4 Writing daily/weekly reports

While you are on an internship your teachers at home want to share your experiences you have made on the workplace. But they are also interested in you spare time activities. Therefore you have to write daily or weekly reports about the things you have done.

What you have to include into your report varies from school to school. There are also different methods how you can hand in the report: e-mail, logbooks, ...

Bear in mind, that the daily/weekly reports are also the basis for your final report which you have to hand in at the end of your internship. So the better you prepare them the less work you have to do in the end because you have already collected a lot of facts.

Information your teacher would like to get:

  • Which tasks did you have to perform?

  • Were there any problems in the company?

  • Did you do any interesting spare time activities?

  • Did you feel good?

2.5 Getting new experiences

Exploring a new country

Although an internship is not exactly a holiday you have enough spare time to explore the country. Plan some trips and spare time activities for your weekends. Ask your colleagues at the company, students in your hosting organisation or the coordinator about different possibilities like sport events, concerts, local clubs.

Take pictures so that you can show the people at home what you have done and which experiences you have made. Let them take part in your life when you are abroad. A travel blog or a web album might be good possibilities for doing that.

Try the local food and beverages at restaurants but also try to cook your own meals even if it seems to be difficult at the beginning. Here you can find some easy and traditional recipes.

Some of your colleagues or students in the hosting school might have similar interests like you. Ask them if you can join them in their activities. You could also go out together in the evenings. If they don't invite you, invite them.

What if... - Coping with unexpected situations

Usually everything runs smoothly in your internship and there are always people who will help you. But if there is a problem, don’t hesitate to ask for help. If you have made a mistake, don’t hesitate to apologize . Nobody is perfect.

If there are difficulties on your work place your supervisor will be the person you have to talk to. For any other problems which you cannot solve on your own you can contact the coordinator in your hosting organization. So don’t forget to get his telephone number.