Want to intern abroad but don’t know where to start? Choose Cusco! Danielle Meuret, from Southern Utah University, shares experiences from her 14-week semester abroad Marketing & Communications internship. If you’re an enthusiastic Spanish language speaker (or at least, in the process of working on it) and seeking a fantastic opportunity to develop professional skills, an internship in Peru may be for you!
Hi Danielle! Why did you choose to do an internship abroad?
I chose to do an internship abroad because I wanted to expand my skills in my professional career, experience a foreign culture, and learn Spanish.
When I started college, I planned on finishing my education by participating in a study abroad program. I dreamt about studying my curricula for Journalism Studies on the coasts of a foreign beach, in the ruins of an ancient city, or in the mystic mountains of a far away land.
Lucky for myself, I finished most of the credits needed for my degree before I decided to go overseas. So, I had more freedom to choose between a study abroad and an internship abroad!
I decided to choose an internship abroad over a study abroad because I wanted exposure to a foreign job market. I cannot overstate the value of doing an internship abroad. With an opportunity like this you get the chance to develop your professional skills in a foreign country, learn a new language, and show future employers that you have the capacity to work in a challenging environment.
Why do you think Cusco, Peru is a top destination for internships abroad?
You should choose Cusco. It’s amazing.
I think one of the biggest worries (for any student looking to do an internship abroad) is will they be safe and will they have a good time. Well, at least that was my number one worry! Thankfully Cusco, Peru is as safe as it is fun.
I cannot stress enough how incredible this city is. I used to walk around the city most afternoons waiting for the sun to set on the cobblestone streets. It was like magic. The sun would disappear behind the Andes Mountain and the lights of the city would flood the streets illuminating the people going about their daily lives.
At night my friends and I would frequent the bars and clubs located in the main plaza. The rhythm of salsa would draw us in and we would enjoy a few spins around the dance floor before walking back home to sleep.
If I could go back I would take advantage of the free salsa dance classes that are held at Inka Team. During my last night in Cusco I was at Inka Team enjoying a mojito and watching my friends on the dance floor when I noticed another intern being spun round and round by a local. And my god, she was amazing. She told me after that she learned how to salsa dance at Inka team in just a few weeks. Incredible!
How did the internship contribute to your personal and professional development?
For my Marketing & Communications internship in Peru, I worked as a marketing intern in Cusco, learning how to adapt to a team environment that differed from the environment of my native country.
I believe that this benefited me because I had to get out of my comfort zone. I had to adapt to small things like the way my co-workers greeted me each morning, and to big things like how to work with a foreign team in a foreign environment.
But, I also learned how to create friendships from around the world and having the ability to connect with others, especially those with different cultures, is invaluable.
What challenges did you have and how did you overcome them?
I hit a car. Yup, basically I caused a car crash by opening up the passenger door to the street and hit an oncoming car. And it just happened to be the most expensive car in Cusco! Man do I have bad luck or what?
Anyway this was a huge challenge because I had to figure out how to fix this person’s car, in Spanish which is my second language. As you can imagine, the tension was really high. Basically I broke a cultural (and a safety) rule that you must exit the car to the side of the street where there is a sidewalk, instead of exiting the car on the side of oncoming traffic. So, the drivers were really mad.
Thankfully the local team in Cusco is amazing and the Program Manager from my internship came to save the day. I called him of course so this is how I overcame the challenge. But also, I chose to be kind and understanding in this situation and decided to do whatever was most beneficial for all parties involved in the accident.
What were your most significant learning points from the experience?
I learned that no matter where you go, you can find people who care about you, and you can create a support system away from home. During my time in Cusco, I made incredible relationships. The people were there for me in times where I needed them, like the car crash, and just in general.
I will never forget the kindness the locals extended to me and I will carry that with me for the rest of my life. I can only hope to be as kind and as welcoming to people like they were to me.
What advice would you give to others who are thinking about joining?
Just do it! Take that leap of faith. It’s okay to be nervous because anything that is worth doing is scary!
Ready to start planning your own internship abroad? Here’s how to started!
Our step-by-step guide on how it works provides you with more information on how to get started. The process is user friendly - just submit your application to get the ball rolling. It doesn’t cost anything to apply and won’t take more than 5 minutes. However, your formal expression of interest provides the foundation for us to help you take the next steps.