Monday, December 29, 2008

Internships open doors, especially when the economy is down

In the presence of a less than stellar economy, what can you do to make yourself stand out from your peers?

I was listening to a story on NPR the other morning about how fewer employers are recruiting on campus, and how much harder it is for students to get jobs and internships with US employers. It’s times like these that make it especially important to make an investment in your future, and boost your resume with as much professional work experience as possible.

The economy is forcing companies to make difficult hiring decisions, so why not make it easier for them? Having work experience directly within your field of study while still an undergrad may set you apart, but by showing the initiative and confidence that it takes to live and work internationally will show prospective employers that you are the right candidate.

While the above will get you in the door, it’s up to you to nail the interview. Employers want a candidate that is sure of him or herself, can work independently yet also work well in a team. Your independence, confidence, and self-reliance will grow as a direct result of, for example, figuring out the public transportation system in a new city or having to ask for directions in a second language. Having the experience of working within an international and multicultural team prepares you to work all over the world, or right in your backyard as the world comes to you.

In this global and tight economy, you can’t afford not to undergo an international internship. This is an investment in your career and your future, and your opportunity to assist the recruiter in making the right decision: to hire you.

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Working to Live

In an article found in the most recent National Geographic Traveler magazine there is an article comparing the U.S.’s vacation/holiday schedule to that of other nations around the world.

The Facts: The U.S. is notorious for the “Live to Work” mentality which would explain why there is a high employee burnout rate in this country. According to a study referenced in the article, the average American gets 9 paid vacation days and 6 holidays off per year and are encouraged to either not use the time, or if they do use it, not to take more than a few consecutive days off in one week. The number of paid holidays and vacations days an American receives is completely dependent on the policies of the company he/she works for, not on policies mandated by the government as is the case with 137 countries around the world. Most Europeans for example are guaranteed an average of at least 20 days of paid leave per year though 25 to 30 days is more common. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation in which its workers are not legally entitled to a certain amount of time off per year.

Here are the numbers:(*Number of paid vacation days and holidays mandated by the governments of the U.S. and our internship program locations):

Australia – Vacation: 20 days; Holidays: 7 days
France – Vacation: 30 days; Holidays: 1 day
Italy – Vacation: 20 days; Holidays: 13 days
Spain – Vacation: 22 days; Holidays: 13 days
U.K. – Vacation: 20 days; Holidays: 0 days
U.S. – Vacation: 0 days; Holidays: 0 days

The good news is that not all American companies hold back when it comes to giving their employees paid vacation time and holidays. Many companies have attractive vacation policies and are closed during the week between Christmas and New Year’s so that employees have a week to unwind and spend with family.

Something for Interns to think about: For those of you who are interning abroad, this will be one of the many differences you will encounter at the work place. A colleague may be on vacation for a solid 2 to 3 weeks during your time with the company or you may enjoy a long weekend here and there due to a holiday built into a country’s work calendar. It will be another cultural difference for you to take in. Who knows, maybe this along with everything else you will experience during your time abroad will one day take you back to the country for a more permanent situation!

The full article, Vacation-Deficit Disorder, can be found in National Geographic’s Traveler Magazine’s November/December 2007 issue. To learn more about National Geographic’s publications, visit http://www.nationalgeographic.com/.

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Internships – Not Just for Business Majors Anymore

Wondering what you’re going to do with that liberal arts degree after graduation? Well, you’re not alone. There is good news for students of the humanities: International Internships. Indeed, budding psychologists, international relations professionals, graphic designers, fashion merchandisers and many others are turning to international internships to give their résumé a boost and set themselves apart from their classmates when the ‘real world’ starts.

Foreign language majors are also finding great ways to utilize their budding language skills outside of the classroom during the course of an international internship. Speaking from first-hand experience, the linguistic and cultural immersion that an internship in a foreign language provides makes all those grammar and conversation lessons *click*. To say nothing of how it looks to potential employers, regardless of your prospective career area. So think about putting that foreign lit book down for a summer or semester and look into an internship abroad.

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Friday, September 7, 2007

PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD

One thing that we always stress to our participants and have mentioned here many times, is the fact that business in other countries is conducted differently than it is here. In many of our program locations, interns are required to have a small interview with the company once they have arrived in their program location. Here are some interview tips to help that first meeting go smoothly:

Be Respectful & Professional: It is extremely important that you act in a respectful and professional manner during the interview. You will be meeting with your potential supervisor and will therefore want to make a good first impression.

Dress Professionally: When interviewing, you want to be professional in appearance. The way you present yourself and care for your appearance will make a difference in the way you are perceived by the company you work for. You do not need to buy a designer wardrobe, nor do you need to wear business suits everyday – unless you work in a law firm or in an international business environment.

“Put your best foot forward”
: Remember, you are coming into an environment foreign to you. You may be a bit nervous, but it is extremely important that you put your best foot forward from the start. Colleagues will want to work with an individual who is outgoing and who shows interest in the culture, the internship field and the language (if applicable). If you are interning in Italy, Spain or France, speak as much of the language you know – everything from introducing yourself to why you want to intern in their country.

Posted by: Sarah

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Why Intern Abroad?

So you want to do an internship? Congratulations. You’ve made the choice to get hands on experience in the field you’re planning to make a career out of. Not only will you get experience you can’t find in a classroom, but you’ll learn valuable life lessons such as business etiquette, people skills, time management, etc.

Now, take it a step further. Do your internship over-seas! Why you ask? Here are just a few reasons.

1. Take the opportunity to learn a new language. By living and working in a foreign country, you’ll learn and retain far more of the language then you will from class. In an ever increasing global world, many companies are looking for employees with foreign language skills.

2. Show employers that you are adaptable and able to succeed outside your comfort zone. Yes, you can intern at home, but by going overseas and leaving your comfort zone, you show potential employers that you are willing to go above and beyond to gain new skills and improve yourself. Living in a foreign country is hard, interning in one simply adds new chances and opportunities. Your ability to adapt to a new country, new business practices, possibly a new language, and new customs shows that you are able to grow and adapt to your job and the needs of your company.

3. Broaden your network! Having the ability to network with people in your field outside your home country can help improve your ability to obtain a job in your field. Not only do you have a web of people to advise you in your job search, but amazing references for future jobs. Having an international network can help you obtain a job both over-seas and at home. In an ever globalizing world, many businesses either already have contacts over-seas and/or are looking to create more. Thus, hiring someone who knows how to interact with locals in a business setting will only help them, and possibly help you advance in the long run.

Yes you can intern at home. But can you learn international business etiquette and practices, establish life-long friendships, develop an international network, immerse yourself in a foreign culture, and see some of the most famous places in the world at home? Probably not. So get out there and learn, grow, and develop, you won’t regret it!

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Friday, August 3, 2007

Safety vs. Comfort

We often receive questions about safety abroad. How safe is it for American’s to travel to …? How safe is it for women?

These are very important questions and most answers can be found through sites like http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Usgresponse/Travel_Safely.shtml#vgn-international-travel-vgn

The point of this blog though is to discuss the difference between safety and comfort. It's frustrating to someone who has traveled a lot to hear someone refer to a location as unsafe simply because it made them feel uncomfortable or they are unfamiliar with the details of the culture. You can feel uncomfortable in a situation without feeling unsafe. Being unsafe however, inherently causes discomfort.

I’ve been in some very uncomfortable situations while traveling abroad – new language, new faces, new food, gun wielding men. Some would call these situations unsafe. However, because I had researched the area and knew what not to do, I felt safer there than in many parts of the United States.

The point is that you can feel uncomfortable without feeling unsafe. I was in a group discussion about China and the facilitator shared her experiences as a woman and said that she felt uncomfortable when she was stared at by men or when people spoke Mandarin to her. But she had studied the culture and knew the harsh penalties for crime, so she felt very safe.

It's ok to feel uncomfortable at times. It shows an opportunity for growth. Avoiding unsafe situations comes with research. Learn the safe and unsafe aspects of your journey and you'll be a global citizen in no time.

Posted by Marc

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Interns Going Global

A recent survey of U.S. students revealed that 40 percent had participated in an internship overseas. The survey, conducted by Vault in May, 2007 collected responses from 339 college students. 58% of the students surveyed stated that international internships are 'extremely important' for future career success.

The survey also revealed that 60% decided to do an international internship to 'experience a new culture' while 33% stated they 'would like to move to a foreign country upon graduation.' Four percent headed abroad out of a 'desire to learn a new language.' The majority of interns abroad worked 30-40+ hours per week in their placements.

To view the full survey results, visit http://www.vault.com/.

Global Experiences provides customized international internships, teaching English abroad certification courses, fashion experiences, high school service learning programs and other unique international experiences.

- posted by Mike

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

What am I going to Wear??

So you’re doing an international internship, congrats! What a great experience to put on your resume and make you stand apart from the crowd. Now comes the hard part: how to pack for your trip. We’ve all been there, wondering how to cram everything you need into 1 or 2 suitcases and not forget anything. Then there’s always the question of what to where to your internship. What’s appropriate in the country you’re going to be in? As a female, can you wear pants in a business setting? (Remember, in some countries it’s still not ok for women to wear pants)

Here are a few quick tips to help you figure out what to pack.

1. Pack suits/pants/jackets/skirts in basic solid colors that can be mixed and matched with many tops. Dress shirts/blouses/sweaters in solid colors will mix with many bottoms.
2. Remember to dress modest – bare skin is for the beach, not the office. Most Europeans dress more conservatively then Americans.
3. Punch up an outfit with accessories, a nice bag, purse, tie, scarf, or jewelry can make or break an outfit. Those black pants with a solid colored blouse will look even better with a nice silk scarf tied around your neck ladies.
4. Jewelry and makeup should be tasteful and subtle, save the layers of bracelets and the dark eye line for your evenings out.
5. Pack a good pair of dress shoes that will go with multiple outfits (usually black). Make sure they are polished and well-kept. If your outfit is professional but your shoes are scuffed and dirty you will automatically look less polished.

Please remember, you will be able to do laundry. You do not have to pack everything you own. Word of advice, pack items that don’t need to be ironed if at all possible as that way you won’t have to spend your first few days ironing everything in your suitcase after it’s been bounced half-way across the world. Also, basic pieces can be worn more often with more items making you feel like you have more options. Europeans dress conservatively, usually classic items in solid dark colors.

Your supervisor realizes you are a student or recent graduate, they don’t expect you to be in the top designer fashions. Nor do they expect you to be in a business suite 5 days a week. They simply expect you to be polished, respectable, and presentable.

Be sure to pack some casual clothes for your free time and exploring your host city. Just remember: jeans, tee-shirts, shorts, flip-flops, sneakers, and sweatpants/shirts are not appropriate business attire. Also, while exploring, remember that most churches around the world will not allow you inside if you are showing too much skin (this includes bear shoulders, knees, and sometimes heads). Keep a light weight sweater or shawl on you to avoid being turned away.

~ post by: kristen

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

We have a star in our midst! Danielle, a Global Experiences intern in Florence, recently did work with a television station that caters to tourists by airing cultural events, exhibitions, and other happenings in Florence. She was able to write and then star in a piece on a new art exhibit in the city.

Check out her video on You Tube. (Italian Version or English Version)

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The World is Flat

Recently Global Experiences exhibited for the first time at the Annual NAFSA (Association of International Educators) Conference in Minneapolis Minnesota. Over 7,500 people attended from 104 countries. There was an energy in the massive conference room enhanced by this coming together of one industry from so many distinct cultures.

Why does this matter in the grand scheme of things, you ask? How will working or teaching abroad effect my life or the broader world? As we enter into an age of “Globalization” which has been dissected in such books as Thomas L. Friedman's The World is Flat, we find that our world, while full of distinct cultures, is becoming more and more accessible and meshed. It is now commonplace to have a conversation with someone in Dubai on the same day as you surf the beach in California and listen to the BBC in the UK. In this increasingly “flat” world, where our boundaries are less separated by oceans and mountains, but rather connected through ever more intelligent technology, it is becoming essential to have first hand knowledge of other cultures, especially in a work environment.

Colin Powell, the plenary speaker at NAFSA, held the floor with a powerful speech about the importance of international education, not only in the education industry but to politics, the environment and our every day social lives. He once said:

"We live in a truly global age…. To solve most of the major problems facing our country today—from wiping out terrorism to minimizing global environmental problems to eliminating the scourge of AIDS—will require every young person to learn more about other regions, cultures, and languages." What better way to do this than to work in a foreign country, immersing yourself in the culture and learning first hand just how flat the world can be.

Photo from Thomas Friedman

Posted by Susannah

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Looking to Work in Spain? Better Bring a Watch.

While schedules for internships can differ, it may take a while to acclimate to the typical Spanish work day. With siesta’s still popular but not enjoyed across the board, Spanish businesses are beginning to flex toward a more “American” or “European” schedule. Still, it isn’t odd to see Spaniards working from 9 am to 1:30pm, taking a two or three hour siesta, and then it's back to the grind until 8 or 9 at night.


The most interesting schedule of business occurs with banks and government offices during the summertime. If you need to make a transaction at 3pm don’t be surprised if you find the door locked and the lights off. Many of these offices will set schedules between 9am and 2pm and may not be open in the afternoons, especially in August.

This leaves a lot of time for you to explore the cities before dinner – at 11pm!!!

~ Posted by Marc

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Things to Keep in Mind as you Prepare to Start your International Internship


So you’re getting ready to start an international internship, congratulations! You’ve made the decision to make your resume stand out from the crowd by gaining international experience. Maybe you’ve had an internship at home, maybe this is your first internship, either way, as with any new experience, you’ve probably got some questions running around your head. “How should I act?”, “How should I dress?” and other such questions.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Always dress professionally:
* Clothing should be clean, neat, modest, and of good quality. Never wear jeans, sneakers, or dirty/wrinkled clothes to your internship.
* a suit and tie may not be necessary, but dress slacks (for men and women) and a button up shirt/blouse, or skirt/dress and nice shoes (closed toe) are good things to keep in mind while packing
* Good rule of thumb: if you’d wear it to church or to a nice dinner with your 85 year old grandmother it’s probably ok, if you’d wear it to a nightclub, the beach, or the gym, it’s probably not.

2. Make sure you arrive to your internship on time and stay until your work-day is over
* you are there to gain valuable work experience, this includes building good work ethic
* the more seriously you take this internship, the more seriously your supervisor will take you, thus the better chance you have of being given more responsibility

3. Be positive and pro-active
* Have a positive out look and work hard at the tasks given to you
* If you finish the task given to you, ask for another or create one for your self

4. Network!
* Take advantage of the opportunity to make international contacts, they make great references for future job applications and are a wealth of knowledge in your career field – you can learn more from a conversation with someone then you can from your text books
* Take an interest in the company you work for and the people you work with, the more interest you show the more willing people will be to show you things and give you special projects/more responsibility

Most importantly, have fun and take advantage of every opportunity presented to you. This is a once in a lifetime chance and the more you put into it the more you will get out of it.

Post By: kristen@globalexperiences.com

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Friday, May 11, 2007

How A "Study Abroad" Bill Becomes Law

Remember that cartoon “How A Bill Becomes Law” from your junior high civics class? Me neither, but that’s ok. The point was that your voice matters.


Did you know that only one percent of all U.S. undergraduates study abroad each year? That amounts to just over 200,000 students a year. Not that impressive when you consider the breadth of international knowledge required in today's global society.

That’s why Global Experiences and other members of NAFSA, the nation's largest association for international educators, recently spent a day on Capitol Hill meeting with Members of Congress and Senators to talk about study abroad.

You can help too! The Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act will be voted on in the next few weeks in the House of Representatives and the Senate. An extremely important bill for anyone interested in study abroad, national security, language learning or international business, the legislation provides that, within 10 years of enactment:

  • Not less than one million U.S. undergraduate students will study abroad annually; and

  • The demographics of study abroad participation will reflect the demographics of the U.S. undergraduate population; and

  • An increasing portion of study abroad will take place in nontraditional study abroad destinations and especially in the developing countries.

Please help us to promote study abroad by writing your Members of Congress and Senators regarding the Simon Study Abroad Act (H.R. 1469 in the House of Representatives and S. 991 in the Senate)!

Click here to learn more about these bills and to submit an online letter of support to your Representatives.

- posted by Mike

Global Experiences provides customized international internships, teaching English abroad certification courses, fashion experiences, high school service learning programs and other unique international experiences.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Advice: Working hard or hardly working?

It doesn't matter what your reasons are for going abroad - an international internship, foreign language training, a vacation, or a crop circle convention in Wiltshire County, England - you're going to have certain expectations going into it.

For those of you interested in interning abroad, my best advice is to expect to work hard. International Internships are designed to give you the career exposure you need to differentiate yourself in the global marketplace. You will enjoy your experience, and there's no question that cities like Rome, Florence, Sydney, Melbourne, Paris and London are an absolute blast, but in order to get the most out of your time abroad, you will have to put in some hard work.

Of course since you'll be interning in a field that you love it won't always feel like work, but you need to remember that just like everyone who starts a new job, you'll have to cover the basics first. Take this time to learn how the company works and how they fit into the marketplace. Eventually, as you prove yourself to your bosses, you will be able to tackle bigger tasks and integrate yourself better into the company.


Posted by ~ Marc

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Sunday, March 4, 2007

Bring it on home...

You're guaranteed to return home with new skills, new friends, and memories following your time abroad. If your like me, you may also find yourself with a trinket or twelve.

You should know the rules ahead of time if you’re planning on returning to the US with an artifact or expensive souvenirs. For instance, some objects are banned from exiting some countries or may be banned from entering others. To increase your frustrations, these rules can even differ between states (just try shipping wine into Pennsylvania!).

For details on bringing souvenirs and artifacts home with you, or even shipping them, visit www.cbp.gov. Happy purchasing!

~ Posted by Marc

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Experience the Local Culture

My, my, last week was a busy week: Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras, Carnival, Ash Wednesday, and the Chinese New Year! That many major cultural events in such a short time period reminds me how important it is to take advantage of being truly involved in the local culture when you are overseas. Don’t just be a passive outsider watching everything that goes on around you, roll your sleeves up and get involved!

Whether you are doing an international internship, teaching abroad, or doing an immersion program to learn a foreign language, it is important to take advantage of every opportunity to learn about, and become a part of, the new culture you are experiencing.

Go to the festivals, religious services, parades, etc, be a part of them if you can. Eat the foods traditionally served on those days (pancakes and doughnuts on Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday anyone?) Take the time to talk with your new friends or host family and find out how they celebrate. Remember, you’re overseas to learn, but more often then not, the lessons that stick with you most are the ones you learn simply from experiencing the culture. Take the time to share with your new friends and family how you would celebrate these holidays at home. This is a great opportunity to share cultures and learn from each other.

Go out, explore, share, and learn! That's why you're abroad! You'll learn, make memories, and have a cultural experience you'll never forget!

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love Is In the Air


In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d post about one of the rarely mentioned benefits of “going global.” Whether you’re interning abroad, teaching English as a foreign language, or learning a foreign language yourself, you may just find that certain someone that you’ve been searching for.

I did, and I wasn’t even looking. I met my wife in Rome while interning at the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican. Our paths crossed for the first time just next to the fabled Spanish Steps. I was holding a gelato, she was pushing a stroller (she was an au pair, people). And the rest is, well…la storia.

(Semi-Legal Disclaimer: Global Experiences can not assist, guarantee, condone or otherwise predict the amorous outcomes that one may experience while abroad on a Global Experiences program.)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

~Posted by Mike

Global Experiences provides customized international internships, teaching English abroad certification courses, fashion experiences, high school service learning programs and other unique international experiences

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Friday, February 9, 2007

Show Me the Money

One of the top reasons many students choose not to study, intern or volunteer abroad is due to the cost. Most people don’t realize that companies, the government, non-profits and even their own schools are just itching to send students abroad to see and experience a world outside of their home university and have worked hard to provide funding avenues to make this possible.

Don’t give up on going abroad due to the cost before really taking a look at the options you have available. To go abroad, I myself paid a fourth of what my home institution would have cost me for the year. Not a bad deal for a priceless experience.

You can find funding everywhere from Private Funding and Scholarships to Government Funding, Institutional and University Funding, or even Public Funding. Not to mention Loans which you could pay back from a job you got using connections made on your internship abroad! Both Print Resources and Online Resources can guide you in your search. So, take heart; there is no lack of resources (or money!) available for going abroad.

Posted by Susannah

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Getting the Most Out of Your Internship

If you are thinking of participating in an internship program, Global Experiences is here to answer all of your questions about our program locations, accommodations, requirements, even what time of year is best for certain placements. One question that we’re not asked often, but are ready and happy to answer is: “What can I do to get the most out of the experience?”

We have a few pointers to keep in mind for that first day of work:

Keep your Eyes and Ears Open: From day one be aware of the environment you are in. You will surely notice differences between the business culture you know from home and the one of the country you are now in. Pay attention to how things are run, dress code, etc. Remember, the business culture will be unfamiliar to you at first, and you will need time to adjust. Keep in mind that it is different, not wrong.

Be Positive and Proactive: Have a positive outlook on the placement you have obtained. Make the effort to learn about your company. Be proactive in creating projects for yourself. If you have finished a task that was given to you, find a new one to work on or show interest in other on-going projects.

Be Responsible: Arrive to work on-time, complete tasks in a timely manner, and always put 110% into all of the work you do.

Learn the Language: If you are interning in a country where English is not the first language, you should take the initiative to learn as much of the language as you can prior to starting the internship. This will show your new colleagues that you are interested in immersing yourself in the culture, becoming a part of the team and that you are ready to learn.

Get Excited!: You are in a new country, experiencing a new culture! Remind yourself of this everyday. You may never have the opportunity to experience the country in which you are interning in the same way again.

And always remember to have fun!

Posted by Sarah

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Bazaar Bargaining


I’m not sure what it is, but the folds in my wallet seem to stiffen when I'm abroad, and the once stingy contraption remains open for the entirety of my trip, ready at the first hint of anything cool to cough up all its possessions on the spot. To combat the problem of overspending, I've written down a few ideas and tactics that help me keep my wallet relatively full, even if I am finding it open more than usual.

  1. Don’t buy anything right away! Even it you “just gotta have,” you can most likely “just gotta have it” somewhere else, and it might be cheaper. Take a walk through the entire market to see prices from a few vendors. Chances are that they sell similar things and have different feelings about offering you a lower price.
  2. Once you pick out the item and the place to buy it try to engage the owner in a general conversation. Shopping is more a social event than business transaction. If you can speak the same language ask how long he or she has been selling the goods and other questions about his business or the area. If you are unable to have short conversations then ask the price of a few items. Don’t look overly eager to buy any one thing or they will hike the price up.
  3. After you ask the price don’t be afraid to shake it off with a laugh or look of disbelief. Make a face like you just ate a batch of sour grapes. Ask the price of something else before returning your interest in the original item. If you’ve gauged the market price and know what you are willing to pay for the item, it’s perfectly fine to let the vendor know that you think he’s boosted his prices.
  4. Venders will not show you any respect or offer their best price if you respond to his initial offer with a ridiculously low number. Remember, you’re not trying to rip anyone off, just get a fair price. Keep your lowball offers at about 50%, maybe 25% if you're going to buy a few items.
  5. Lastly, don’t be afraid to walk out. But be sure not to just rush out in a huff. Take it slowly. Gived the vendor a chance to stop you or at least offer a lower price. Even hesitating just before you walk away to briefly inspect a different item works wonders. Always thank the vendor for his time and remember that you can always return if you realize that whatever the price, you “just gotta have it.”
Posted by: Marc

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Florence is the new Cancun

I first fell in love with Florence almost ten years ago as a study abroad student. I arrived ready to immerse myself in the culture, language and most importantly the food. I bonded with several other people (you know those first few intense days when you’re all in the same unfamiliar boat) that shared my identical goals for the trip. But then a funny thing happened when we settled in. Suddenly I was being invited to dinners at student apartments, American bar and Irish pub get togethers, Super Bowl parties, American student night at the clubs, and many of my “friends” who I thought shared my desire to understand Italy settled into an American life abroad. It’s nice to meet people with similar interests and have some homesickness prevention fun with compatriots but anyone coming to Italy should not lose sight of the opportunity to get to know Italian culture.

Florence is a study abroad hub with many university programs and thousands of students arriving every semester. With all of those Americans mulling around it’s easy to find yourself feeling as if you never left campus. Doing an internship forces you, in good way, to really get to know Florence. Imagine if you went to Cancun to work in a hotel for spring break instead of party. In no way is Florence comparable to Cancun but some spring nights at the Irish pub it can certainly seem like it. Through their internships, I’ve seen some of the participants I’ve worked with blossom into Italian fluency, make heartfelt friendships and become as attached to the city as I am. An internship is the key to a Florence that escapes many tourists and students, one that allows you to have a deeper understanding of the city, the culture and the language. I often tell people how I wish I had known about Global Experiences when I was a student, as I would have surely participated, but I’m glad that at least I get to spread the word and help others see the real Florence.
Posted by Danielle

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Monday, January 8, 2007

An Internship by Any Other Name...

Ever wondered what the difference was between a practicum and a co-op? How about an apprenticeship, field experience or service learning? And what exactly is an externship anyways?

Don’t be overwhelmed. Generally speaking, all of the above can be categorized under the umbrella term of “internship” and aim to provide an ‘out of classroom’ experience that complements or adds to one’s studies.

To help get you on your way, here is a brief description of the different types of internships out there:

Apprenticeship
No, I’m not talking about the Donald, here. Apprenticeship, probably the earliest form of an internship, is a system developed in the Middle Ages where master craftsmen took in young helpers for cheap labor and trained their charges in return. When I think of apprentices, Michelangelo toiling away as a boy in Ghirlandaio’s workshop in Florence always comes to mind. Apprenticeship is still thriving today, most often in “hands-on” trades such as the culinary arts, carpentry, clothing design, etc.

Practicum
Latin for practice (that's 4 years of Latin for ya). Practica are often undertaken by students in consultation with their academic advisors in order to gain real-world experience for an academic project or major.

Cooperative Education (Co-op)
Co-ops usually involve a partnership between a student, an employer and a university and are often taken for academic credit. Many universities are starting to require semester long co-ops with local businesses near campus. Co-ops are great ways for businesses and students alike to ‘test drive’ each other before officially signing on.

Field Experience
No, you won’t necessarily find yourself out in some field on this type of internship, but out of all the categories, it’s the most likely as field experience is primarily associated with practical experience in the world of science and sociology. In most cases, interns undertaking ‘field experience’ are observing and collecting data for research purposes.

Externship
Not ready to commit to a specific career field just yet? Or maybe you don’t have a whole summer or semester to devote to an internship? An externship is ideal for you. Really just a short internship, externships are often taken during summer or winter breaks from school. My externship in college lasted one week (they usually max out at 3 weeks) and was a great way to shadow an office and get a feel for a typical day on the job. But don’t underestimate the value of this abbreviated experience. I still keep in touch with the office where I ‘externed’ years ago. Make a good impression and treat this as a job. While they may not hire you, they might know someone who will.

Service Learning
Just like it sounds, this type of internship involves serving individuals or groups in a local community. For instance, we offer a service learning project in Ecuador where we send groups of high school and college students to work with underprivileged children in Quito, the capital city. Our students also perform service learning projects side-by-side with conservation scientists in the Amazon rainforest – a great way to learn while serving (and preserving!) native plants. This is where service learning and field work meet in the middle. You can learn a lot about yourself while helping others.

No matter what you call it, an internship is an invaluable way to complement your studies, boost your résumé and just plain figure out what you want to do when you grow up.
Most university and college career departments have resources that can help you determine which of the above (and maybe even some not included above) types of internships are best for you. And don’t think you have to just be in school to take part in an internship. In fact, we have helped hundreds of students who have recently graduated and want to get some real world, international experience.

There’s something out there for you and we hope we can help. Be sure to check out “5 Points to Understanding Internships Abroad,” a helpful article published by IIE Passport and written by our very own Marc Cappelletti.

Posted by Mike

Global Experiences provides customized international internships, teaching English abroad certification courses, fashion experiences, high school service learning programs and other unique international experiences.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

GE Interns Make the News

Afraid of going abroad and fetching coffee (err, caffe' ) on your internship? See what some Global Experiences interns have been up to this year:

  • Fashion Journalism intern, Anna, published her first article in Virtual Haircare Magazine in Sydney, Australia. [Click on What's New Section and article profiling the Joh Bailey launch.] And Anna tells us there's more to come.

  • Cassandra, a Public Relations intern in Florence has been published in the Florentine online magazine, Florence For Fun, with her unique take on La Dolce Vita.

  • Take a look at what Kristen, a Fashion intern in Florence, Italy has to say about Italian fashion in her article, Runway Rundown.

Are you making the news on your internship? Or maybe you're back home and doing something interesting with what you learned abroad? Drop us a line and let us know what you've been up to.

- Posted by Mike

Global Experiences provides customized international internships, teaching English abroad certification courses, fashion experiences, high school service learning programs and other unique international experiences.

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