Within my masters program of Ethnicity and Migration Studies at Linköping University, we have the chance to pick elective courses. For these elective courses we can choose from actual classes within the department or choose an internship. Because I am a person who learns from being hands on, I decided to write and apply for an internship.
I first researched different organizations that I knew I wanted to work with and were related to my field. After finding who I wanted to work with I sent emails and applications to my interested organizations. Luckily I heard back quickly and the process was complete! I now had an internship in Sweden!
I have learned a lot of valuable lessons from having an internship such as how to be a professional young adult, the fact that language barriers can actually work, that I can do hard things, and that Sweden has so much to offer. A novel could be written about all that I have learned but I’ll contain it to a blog post for now.
- How to be professional
While I have had jobs in the past where I have had to practice being professional, it has not been in Sweden. This internship is my first professional experience in Sweden and working within the Swedish work environment. I have been learning through this internship even more of how to be a young professional especially in a new country. The Swedish work environment is more relaxed than in my home country of the United States.
- Language barriers can be okay
Even though the majority of Swedes speak english (more than 80%) it is good to assume not everyone does. In fact, the Swedish work places mainly speak Swedish as opposed to english. While working within a Swedish organization it has been hard to communicate with people as I know very little Swedish. However, the language barrier has not been too much of a problem and actually a great learning experience. By hearing Swedish frequently it has been confusing but also wonderful for me to be surrounded by and learn. If you are hesitant to complete an internship in Sweden because of the language, I would still encourage you to go for it. You never know how much you will learn!
- I can do hard things!
Within this internship I have been encouraged to challenge myself in ways that I never have before. For example, I was set with the task to present for a large group of people during an important event in my city. I was scared, felt inadequate to teach a group of people, and overwhelmed. However, my internship coordinator was encouraging and challenged me in the right way to do this daunting task. In the end it was a wonderful experience and taught me that I can do hard things!
- Sweden has so much to offer!
Overall, my internship has taught me that Sweden has so much to offer! There are so many incredible, hard working, and important organizations and companies working to do great things in Sweden and beyond. And within these organization and companies are wonderful people who are passionate, kind, and willing to help students learn.
If you are interested in how to get an internship read Nguyen’s blog on how to get an internship 101. I have learned a lot from just a short period of my internship and hope to see what more valuable lessons I can learn from it!