There may be times during an Erasmus+ or Turing mobility when things might not always go as smoothly as you’d expect but that's OK! Bumps along the way are quite normal, especially if it‘s your first Erasmus+ or Turing placement abroad and you have no previous experience with Erasmus+ or Turing projects abroad.
Below are some of the challenges you might come accross during your Erasmus+ or Turing placement and how to deal with them:
What happens if you’re uhappy with your accommodation – if it’s not clean enough or the transport links poor? Perhaps the walk from your accommodation to your workplace will be too long or maybe you won’t feel safe in your neighbourhood? Perhaps you won’t like your host family’s food or you’re unsure what to do if you’re sick and need a doctor?
Remember one thing in advance! Part of the goals of an Erasmus+ or Turing mobility is to set yourself challenges and be pushed out of your comfort zone.
The easiest solution is to speak up so talk it out and contact your TravelEdventure’s group support. Our group supervisor is available almost 24/7 by phone or Whatsapp to help with any problems, no matter how small – they‘re there for you! 😊
Do you not have enough to do? One of the most common challenges of an internship is the feeling that there is no work to be done. This can lead to you sitting around the office for hours bored and feeling completely useless in the company. You may have been given some simple tasks that took no time to complete and maybe you already asked what else you could do quite a few times and don't want to ask again. Maybe the staff at your company are so busy with their own jobs that they have completely overlooked what to do with you?
The solution is to take initiative! The Erasmus+ or Turing internship is only what you want it to be. You can sit and wait to be told what to do and run the risk of being completely forgotten, fading into the background. Or you can step forward and do things without being asked.
So, why not read some articles on the main funciton of your company, maybe even write some articles, observe how the company works and take notes on how everything works. Internships are not a one-size-fits-all job, they are tailored to your needs and skills. So see where your specific skills and strengths could be used. As an example, if you are a strong editor, offer to edit any documents the company might publish. Or if you find that their social media presence is lacking, offer to manage one of their pages. Or simply ask if you can attend important meetings. Remember not to be shy in your presence! Be confident and make the most of your time there.
Managing expectations is a good habit for almost everything you do, not only in an Erasmus+ or Turing placement. Failing to meet expectations can lead to disappointment but that could be avoided. This doesn‘t mean that your internship will be a terrible experience, but if you do an internship and expect it to be amazing, you will certainly feel a bit disappointed when you start your first day at work. Internships give you the opportunity to experience the working environment of a company or organisation but like any other job, there will be good days and bad days.There will be busy days and not so busy days. Keeping in mind that maybe not every day will be an amazing, enriching experience will save you a lot of disappointment later on so as a tip, simply lower your expectations a little.
There may be times, especially on very stressful days, when your Erasmus+ or Turing placement supervisor may forget to talk to you about your tasks and responsibilities, or perhaps you are unclear about something you have been asked to do. If your co-workers speak English as a second or third language, some things may have been lost in translation, leaving you a little confused. Without doubt, lack of clear communication between you and others in the work environment can be problematic for your internship. However, it is your responsibility to make sure that things are clear. This means going to your colleagues or supervisors and asking questions. It is understandable that you may feel afraid to ask too many questions but remember that this is one of your main responsibilities as an intern. You are there to learn and you need to ask questions to learn! Once you have taken this first step to approach your boss and co-workers with questions, it will be easier to establish clearer communication. This is a very good habit to adopt and will benefit you greatly in your future career.
Moving "on short notice" to a new country that is drastically different from your home country can be a little daunting at times. You may experience culture shock at the beginning of your Erasmus+ or Turing placement, as work ethics and culture are likely to be completely different in comparison to your home country. You may even feel a little homesick. These factors can definitely make settling into a new internship a Herculean task!
Try building friendly relationships with your co-workers as this will certainly make your Erasmus+ or Turing placement more enjoyable. Go out for lunch together and try the local specialities as the first step to a good and successful Erasmus+ or Turing internship.
Remember, an Erasmus+ or Turing placement abroad does not guarantee that every day will be the best day of your life but lowering expectations, taking initiative, asking questions and being friendly with your colleagues will definitely make your Erasmus+ or Turing internship the best it can be. Our TravelEdventures group supervisors are available to help you with any problem(s) "almost" 24/7.
We hope we have been able to help you with some information and prepare you for the problems you may encounter during your Erasmus+ or Turing internship.
Browse our blog for more information, especially if you would like to find out more about the responsibilities of a Traveledventures group leader on-site. To help you with your accommodation needs, read Accommodation Options During an Erasmus+ or Turing stay.
For information regarding the Erasmus+ application process you can read our guide for Erasmus+ funding applicants or our Handbook for Erasmus+ Project Management & Execution.
If you want to learn more about the difference between Erasmus+ and the new Turing Scheme, read our article Erasmus+ vs. Turing.