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

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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, 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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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

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 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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Friday, June 8, 2007

Guide to International Greeting Customs

As you prepare to go abroad for your internship program, it’s worth taking a moment to study up on the regional greeting customs so you can avoid any awkward encounters with new friends and acquaintances.

UK: You will not encounter much physical contact in London. A handshake or nod of the head accompanied with a “hi” or “how are you” is all you’ll see here.

Australia: Greetings are usually informal, “hello”, “hi”, or “g’day”. In formal situations such as business settings, shaking hands and a “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon” are traditional greetings.

Greeting kisses are the norm among family and friends. When meeting someone for the first time, you usually stick to a handshake. You might end the conversation with a kiss on each cheek. Some say right cheek first, others say no rule, but don’t go in too hard or you could have a clash of sorts.

Spain: Greeting with 2 kisses, strictly right cheek first, is acceptable at all times.

France: Within Paris 4 kisses have been adopted as the standard greeting between friends, left cheek first. The rest of France generally sticks to 2 kisses.

~posted by Jennie

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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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