Use the following 15 top tips for making the most out of your internship in Argentina and ensure that your experience turns out to be as wonderful as you had imagined.
1. Research into Other Argentine Locations to Visit You are likely to have time either before, during or after your internship for travel. Research a little into the places you would like to see before you go so that choosing is not so difficult once you arrive. If you’re going to travel all that way to get to Argentina for your internship, you might as well see as much of the country as possible during your stay.
2. What are the National Holidays during your stay? Do some research into this and arrive knowing why there is a national holiday during your stay and what it means. This will make you feel more of a part of your surrounding environment and will make Argentines warm to you too for having taken an interest in their culture and history.
3. Pack Light They’ll be things you will want to take home with you, so it is best to carry the real essentials and nothing else. Try to have a packed bag that is only three quarters full when you leave home to leave space for things you want to take back with you later on.
4. Arrive Knowing a Little Spanish Even if you are a real beginner when it comes to speaking Spanish and part of the reason for being on an internship in Argentina is to learn Spanish, it is important for you to arrive with a basic knowledge of some Spanish phrases. Learn how to say “please” and “thank you” so that you can be polite at all times and it is a good idea to learn how to order something at a restaurant or how to ask where something is when you are out and about alone. Please = Por favor Thank you = Gracias I would like to drink a coffee = Me gustaría tomar un café Where is the station? = ¿Dónde está la estación?
5. Accommodation Options Always opt for home-stay or shared apartment with natives. Immerse yourself in the culture and the spirit of the country by surrounding yourself with all things Argentine for a truly sensational experience.
6. Organized Social Programs Always attend every single social activity organized for you as part of your internship experience to take full advantage of getting to know the other people who are also interning or the people with whom you are staying. The more you integrate yourself into the experience, the more fun you will have.
7. Money Don’t worry about how much you spend as this internship might be a once in a lifetime opportunity for you. We all have to watch the purse strings, but throw caution a little to the wind in this instance and get involved in all that you can without worrying about cost. Worry about recuperating cash when you get back home!
8. Embracing Culture Take a tango class if you are in Buenos Aires or a Folklore class if you are in the north of Argentina. Learn how to prepare and drink mate (the traditional Argentine hot beverage). Get used to eating dinner at 10pm or later. Try out everything that Argentina has without question. If you try to hold on to the way you do things back home during your internship, you will experience a clash of cultures and your time in Argentina will not be as fun or as fulfilling.
9. Food Customs Learn to share your food, learn to love the sharing mate ritual, order dishes that everyone can dip into at the table and try everything that Argentina has to offer from meat and tamales to chipa and locro. Sharing your food is important in Argentina. Even if you are walking down the street with a bag of chips, offer, share and accept with a huge smile when you are offered food in return.
10. Take Photos or Document your Experience by Writing a Blog To best remember all moments and all emotions, document something every single day, perhaps in the form of a blog post that you write and upload daily for free on sites such as WordPress.com. Photos (online and print albums) are also a great way of recording what you saw and felt. What’s more, you might start to get passionate about writing and taking photographs and even manage to get others to buy or link to what you create in the future. Anything is possible!
11. Be Spontaneous Be spontaneous and open to the idea that, during your internship, someone might offer you a little paid work (cash in hand), or a trip to another part of the country, or a way of altering the focus of your internship. Be open to these natural developments. In Argentina, new projects and new ideas are invariably born in the moment and through word of mouth.
12. Stay Longer Be open to the idea of extending your stay and taking up an opportunity that might just arise from nowhere. You planned the internship, but what comes after it might be a direct cause of the internship and if you stick to a plan that you already had in mind of how it was going to be for you, you might end up turning down or missing out on opportunities that really could have been your true calling in life.
13. Encourage Family or Friends to Visit
If you return home and you really cannot even begin to share what you experienced on your internship, because your friends and family weren’t there and they don’t know Argentina and nothing about its customs, it can be quite hard. All the enthusiasm you experienced from your internship cannot be shared with others and it can make the return to “reality and your real life” a really tough transition. Get someone to visit you and share just a little moment of your experience with you and you will find that you are always able to go to them when it comes to smiling about your Argentine internship and the wonderful things that happened to you while you were there.
14. Souvenirs Choose your souvenirs wisely. They’ll be things that you buy for friends and family and they are likely to be fairly standard gifts, but try to take something back with you that really holds a lot of memories. It might even end up being a lump of dirt from the ranch you worked on. Who knows? What’s important is that you have something to look at that will always really help to take you back to your internship experience whenever you’re feeling nostalgic.
15. Share Find ways of sharing your internships with others to really get the most out of it as possible. Send your story to online travel sites, write about your experience for us here at Connecting Worlds so we can publish it on our blog, recommend the experience to friends or people you know who happen to mention that they are looking for a challenging and fun experience. If you share your Argentine internship experience enough, it will always remain alive.