During my semester in New Zealand, I had an internship with a small IT company in Auckland, where I was lucky enough to work in different areas, from applications development to research.
1. How I Found My Internship
It was not difficult for me to find a company to work for, as the internship was organised by the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), as a part of the academic semester for international students. AUT along with INTERNeX New Zealand will match students and internship companies. So, after a skype meeting to get to know my skills and my goals, they were able to find the best company for me.
2. Kiwi workspaces
The first difference I noticed immediately, compared to my home country, was the relaxed working environment and the flexible schedule, which reflects Kiwis' easy-going mindset. Perhaps a reason for this relaxed atmosphere was the size of the company (a larger firm may possibly require more “discipline”).
In New Zealand, there are many small and medium sized companies rather than large firms most of which are concentrated in Auckland, the most populated city.
Working closely with my boss helped me to understand the way the business was organised and managed, which made me feel a part of it. Perhaps the real drawback of working for such a small company was the fact that I needed to have my own hardware (computer). So be aware that you may want to have the most appropriate one for the job! Asking for more information from the boss during the first meeting could help you. In addition, many companies, especially start-ups, don’t have an office, so they may prefer to meet via Skype.
3. Is it Worth it?
Taking part in an internship while studying required extra personal effort to complete university work. For instance, alongside the office work I had to study further material by myself to achieve academic goals which was a full-time commitment. Therefore, free time was almost null, and for me, there was little or no time to travel around New Zealand unless for just one day a week when I was lucky.
However, I have been able to gain valuable working experience and to extend the vision for my future. It gave me to opportunity to consider different ideas that I hadn't thought about before, which I am starting to realise now that I am back in Italy.
In conclusion, taking an internship while studying in a foreign country is the best experience you can have if you want to open your mind to different prospects and if you are still thinking about which roads your future might take. Be aware that it could be a full-time effort and it may require a little “sacrifice”. So, to answer the question: is it worth it? Definitely, yes.
The first difference I noticed immediately, compared to my home country, was the relaxed working environment and the flexible schedule, which reflects Kiwis' easy-going mindset.