Getting a job

5 Types of People to AVOID When Interning Abroad

You’ve decided to go abroad to complete an internship; awesome! Besides getting psyched about the incredible learning experience you will have (and all those professional skills you’ll develop), one other perk of interning abroad is the number of interesting people you’ll meet (and become lifelong friends with!) throughout the course of your internship.

However, be warned – not everyone in your program will be someone you’ll want to befriend. Here are few people to avoid while you are interning abroad.


Life abroad can be difficult to adjust to, even if you have visited the country before. The only way to truly survive many of the daily frustrations will be to maintain a positive outlook on life. Everything is a learning experience, afterall. Don’t let the “Negative Nancy” rain on your parade. If someone you meet constantly brings attention to what is going wrong instead of what is going right, you’ll want to keep your distance; their negativity can be exhausting, and nobody got time for that.


You are here to intern, to have a challenging work experience, to gain and cultivate new skills, and most importantly, to bring to life all of those lessons you sat through in your university back home. If you take that sentence to heart, then you will definitely want to avoid anyone in your program who is not serious about the learning potential of the internship. They may try to talk you out of going to work for a day, or encourage you to slack off on a project. This “Why bother?” attitude is detrimental to the overall success and will severely stunt your professional growth.


This might be a handy tip for life in general, but you’ll especially want to avoid any tattle-tales when you are interning abroad. Are you taking a “sick day” to do some sightseeing? You don’t want your coworker to rat you out to your supervisor. If you got a little out of control over the weekend, you probably don’t want to live with someone who is going to call their program advisor the instant they can to tell them of your “bad behavior”.


Yes, we are here to have an awesome learning experience, but if you are constantly comparing yourself to your co-interns and coworkers, you might end up feeling miserable. Of course, a healthy dose of competition never hurt anyone, but if there is one student who is constantly one-upping you or sucking up to your supervisor over and over again, you should probably step away.


Some people just don’t have travel skills in their genes. These people end up getting lost 9 out of 10 times walking to the corner store, or repeatedly getting on the subway that’s  headed the opposite direction of their destination. These folks require a great deal of patience on your end, and will suck up a lot of your time and energy before long. Of course, being understanding and compassionate is important but if this person is constantly taking and never giving, it might be time to walk away from this relationship. You only have a few weeks here, after all.

So there you have it, a round-up of 5 types of people to avoid while you are rocking your international internship. What other types of people would you add to this list?

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Megan Lee

Megan Lee has been working international education for the past four years. When not trying to convince you to study abroad, Megan can usually be found Lonely Planet in tow at her favorite neighborhood coffee shop.