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To prepare or not to prepare

To prepare or not to prepare? That is the question about the upcoming operational internship, starting this summer for me. For the first time in my life I am going abroad for half a year and most of the time I will stand on my own. Unexpected things will happen to me, which I will have to deal with.

Of course, we all know preparing yourself is the best way to start an internship. But this subject does not pass me by without a few questions. What if you are too prepared? Or can’t you be too prepared? So you could ask yourself the following question: how explicitly do you prepare yourself? This question is running through my head all the time concerning my internship. Will I get an answer to this question or shall I have to find it out by myself?

There is one thing I am very sure about. You can’t be too prepared. Although there is a chance you might think you can. But all kind of situations might occur, like unexpected circumstances. You can’t predict these circumstances, so you can’t prepare yourself for that matter. By then you will have to find a way to handle the situation well. When I mention preparing myself for my internship, I am referring to the cultural aspects. With subsections like communication and lifestyle. Those are things you are supposed to adapt to in the relevant culture.

To which extent you’re willing to prepare yourself and to which level you’re able to prepare yourself? Of course this is your own choice. When I look at myself I have the intention to prepare myself maybe too well. To read as much as possible about the culture. Preparation is very important to me so very little things will come as a surprise. Thus minimizing the possibility of getting overwhelmed. On the other hand isn’t it just lovely to leave home without all that knowledge and just explore and experience everything open minded? To be thrown into the deep and explore the unknown can be scary and bothersome. But I am convinced this way is the most educational one. And isn’t this what it is all about?

For most students of my group it will be the first time going abroad for half a year on an internship. It can be very exciting and everyone deals with it on his or her own way. For some preparing themselves isn’t a necessity and he or she will manage to achieve the same result without preparation. For others a good preparation is a very useful tool. Everyone knows for themselves which one applies to them. You are the only one who can make the most out of your internship. A good preparation can make a difference. No matter how your internship will turn out, I am sure that it will be very educational whether you prepare yourself or not.

In my opinion preparation might give you an advantage, however its only the beginning of your internship and just a slight part of it. My recommendation is to start your internship open minded and not to worry too much. As Shakespeare would have said: when sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions…

Just enjoy!

Frederique Martens

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