Internship Relocation Challenges: Part 2 Socially Relocating

By: Kirsi

Challenges relating to physically relocating for an internship were explored in my last blog post – finding the internship, locking down a place to stay, and navigating a new city. Sounds like a pretty concrete problem right? Exploring these tangible physical aspects addresses the bare necessities of relocating, but what about your social life? Netflix binge-watching, experimenting with Pinterest recipes, and re-re-rereading the Harry Potter series sounds appealing for a bit, but lonely after a while. How will I connect with people in and outside the workplace?

Person gazing up at night sky; text: internship relocation challenges socially relocating

Meeting Co-Workers
Start by getting acquainted with your mentor, boss, and office mates. Office mates are a one-stop shop for getting questions answered. Everything from questions about your project to “how do I connect to the printer?” Some teams may provide a handbook or on-boarding checklist with suggestions of who to meet first. Team leads may encourage to meet team leads from different disciplines. Your team may be big/small, multi-discipline/hyper-focused, or compromised of professionals from many different walks of life. Some teams request interns to give an introductory presentation sharing your major, where you study, and what you want to learn. Get comfortable with reaching out to others and saying hello!

Group of people on motorized cart tour large warehouse building.
by Kirsi, touring NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility

Meeting New Interns
You are likely not the only one relocating for an internship. Depending on your employer’s size, there may be a handful, dozen, or dozens of interns eager to meet new people. A great time to meet fellow interns is during the lunch hour. Most employers have a common dining area where employees buy lunch or eat packed lunch. There may be interns from outside your team and discipline to chat with and form an “intern table.”

Highly developed intern programs leaders coordinate networking events for interns to participate in, such as tours around the work site, group lunches on and off-site, and lectures from experienced professionals. Depending on how organized the interns themselves are, interns may schedule events outside of what program leaders coordinate. I have personally participated in things like laser tag, weekend trips to nearby cities, video conferencing with interns from the employer’s other locations, and fancy dinners. A week without three meals out was rare! Some intern groups are so organized that student made committees and bylaws are handed down from intern class to intern class.

Person sitting at desk watching 3 computer monitors
by Kirsi, video conferencing with interns from other locations

Professional Networking
Many employers offer professional development opportunities such as workshops, “brown bags,” volunteer/outreach groups, and meet and greet events with management. A brown bag is a more informal presentation when a topic is talked about over lunch. Sometimes during brown bags, a talk is given by a co-worker, someone from industry, or a video lecture is watched.

group of students with laptops listening to a presentation
by Kirsi, hosting a “How to LinkedIn” workshop

Co-workers are likely working on things related to what you are interested in pursuing professionally. Interview managers, group leads, and new hires around the organization. Ask about why they chose that company, why they are interested in their work, and what are they most proud of working on. Don’t be afraid to ask management about their work or to shadow them for a day.

If you would like more advice on relocating for an internship schedule an appointment with one of our career counselors.

Be bold, be friendly, and meet new people!

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Photo Sources: Unsplash | Greg Rakozy & Kirsi

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