Englishman Abroad: Packing up and Ready to Go?

Are you kidding?  Only a week to go, ticket booked (one-way!) and accommodation sorted so I’m committed.  Must sort out… insurance (essential); clothes and ‘stuff’ still to be packed, suitcase to be weighed, and the excess to be unpacked and left at home.  How light can I travel, really, for an extended stay? Guess I’ll just have to do the laundry more often.

Been brushing up on my Spanish because that’s where I’ll be spending time working as an entrepreneurship intern – the Adeje Coast of Tenerife to be precise. So am I ready?  Well… nearly, but I’m heading outside the comfort zone here, so I guess I’ll never feel totally ready, but surely that’s the point.  This internship will help me be ready for what comes after in the world of work, study and enterprise.

And it’s been quite a journey just getting here.  A whole load of forms, applications, comparing options, emails, phonecalls, Whatsapp and a good few sit-down ‘chats’ but it’s been worth it… or it will when I get there… I hope. The wheels of bureaucracy grind slowly but there’s a glimmer at the end… . If I’ve any advice at this stage for others, it’s to start earlier with the planning and approval process. Waiting for someone else to say ‘yes you can’ when you just want get going is soooooo frustrating.

The journey begins…

So what can I look forward to? Some separation anxiety – will miss the dog and maybe family and friends 😉 but hey that’s what WhatsApp, Skype and phones are for after all.  Expect some challenges and some surprises.  A different pace to the days, weeks and months ahead. New experiences and new people – not least that I’ll be living with 3 total strangers and I haven’t got a clue about them yet.  I guess they’ll be thinking the same of course!

At this point, I’m feeling like asking to ‘work wherever possible in Spanish’ could come back to bite me but, let’s face it, immersion’s one of the best ways to learn. I’m hoping that by the time I finish I’ll be more fluent in my spoken Spanish, and better ‘tuned-in’ to listening to it being spoken. More advanced vocab too – relevant for the areas I’ll be working in: tourism, hospitality, sport, business, education.

This is a great opportunity to learn how to approach work and communication differently and to be better at running my own business in future.  But it’s also an intentional, and I think necessary, step into the experience of an international internship.  If I’m going to help others get the most out of international working, the least I can do is ‘walk the walk’ – and try to ‘talk the talk’ in a second language! 

So here goes… let’s get packing!

Published by John Humphreys

Education and leisure industry professional with over 30 years' experience and a focus on delivering international experiences and employability development.

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