5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Intern in Asia

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Intern in Asia

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why not intern in Asia


For many, interning in a place like Asia is a daunting prospect. Adapting to a new language, a new culture, and a new way of life is no small feat, and there are many roadblocks that arise along the way. Working while simultaneously figuring out how to live is a difficult thing to do for most people, especially if this is your first time doing so independently. Throw exotic Asia in the mix, and it’s no surprise that only the strongest survive.

If you’ve ever even thought about interning in Asia, let us be the first to tell you that it’s not going to end well. There are so many reasons why doing an internship in Asia is a horrible idea. Since we care about your well-being, here are our top 5 reasons on why you shouldn’t intern in Asia.


1. You’d have to leave your comfort zone

Unfortunately, interning in Asia isn’t going to be a walk in the park. Say goodbye to temperate weather and driving around with the windows down, and say hello to sweat showers, farmers tans, and a distinct lack of personal space. It’s hard to stay in your comfort zone when you’ll be pushing your limits and challenging yourself every day, consciously or not. Whether this is trying new, mostly delicious, occasionally stomach-turning foods and drinks, biking around in the “organized chaos” of the streets, trekking through nearby parks and hiking trails, visiting cultural monuments, or catching eyes at a local club, you will be constantly exposed to new adventures in your day-to-day life. Although it’s up to you whether or not you want to explore them, you’re going to have to try them all sometime to say that you truly lived in Asia. As a result, you’re going to be uncomfortable sometimes in Asia, usually for better, but sometimes for worse. You will constantly find yourself wishing to be back home in predictable and safe surroundings, instead of out here where surprises and adventures await around every corner. If you stay at home, you’ll never have to deal with all this discomfort -- whew!

Home: 1, Asia: 0.


2. You’re going to come back as a different person

Change… ugh. Change isn’t fun, and if you don’t want to go through it, don’t even consider going to Asia for an internship. If for some reason you do decide to, though, you’re in for a lot of personal and professional growth that you’re going to have to deal with for the rest of your life. You’ll have to deal with being a more interesting person with unique things to talk about, and are going to have to waste time blabbering to people who are interested in hearing about your experiences. Exhausting!

Some of the biggest consequences of interning in Asia are:

  • You’re going to be more confident in your abilities to adapt and learn - since you will be doing it every single day while you are in Asia

  • You’ll have a better understanding of the world, and will become more personable and open to people of different backgrounds. You might even find that you relate better to other people and that they in turn relate better to you. Your friend group will become far less homogenous as people from all over the world make their way into your life as you learn about different cultures.

  • You’ll pick up not only experience from your work, but street smarts from your everyday dealings with the new and unexpected: hard core negotiation skills from the markets, navigation skills from getting lost in tiny alleyways, communication skills from trying to carry a conversation with someone who doesn't speak your language, time management from attempting to do and see everything your host country has to offer in a limited time.

  • Employers will be interested in your unique, global work experience, and your application will stand out from the bunch. You have a degree? Not too special. You have done a summer internship in your uncle's office? Join the club. You had a paper route next to your studies? So what? Now tell them that you managed several project or launched a new product during your internship and that you managed to pick up a new language at the same time and we guarantee you that the recruiter will start paying attention. Not only these tangible experiences, but just the fact that you took a chance and did something new will impress a lot of people who are used to staring at the same applications day in and day out.

To avoid these unfortunate side effects that an internship in Asia will bring, close your application, toss your resume in the trash, and stay home where none of this can touch you.

Home: 2, Asia: 0.


3. Your friends won’t understand your mannerisms

interning in AsiaYou know Netflix and Chill, but how about Sherpa's and Chill? Or you might be used to Googling something but now you are Baiduing it. Your friends will have a hard time understanding what you are saying when you come back with a new and foreign vocabulary and your reputation as funny guy/girl quickly starts to crumble. If you spent time in Japan, you might give up and exclaim "American joke" to ease the confusion and save some face for your friends, which of course will not help since your friends don't even get that one (duh!). At this point you will realise that although you have evolved and gained a whole new way of expressing yourself, your friends who stayed home have not changed at all and you will need to adjust to their level of communication. 

Moreover, things that seem obvious and smart to you, are just plain weird for people back home. When you happily show that you brought toilet paper to a restaurant, that you have a portable charger for your phone or when you insist that any price is a little to high (come on my friend, give me the real price) your friends will shake their heads in disbelief of your foreign ways. 

Home: 3, Asia: 0.


4. Everything will seem more expensive when you get home

When you first arrived in Asia you were constantly in awe of how well you could live here on a budget. But pretty soon you got used to taking taxis everywhere, eating like a king and then going for a massage after dinner, have someone come to clean your apartment and in general just living it up like no student at home could ever do. Then you go back home and you have to settle back into your budget limitations. And it hurts! No more taking a taxi everywhere just because "it might rain", no more eating out every night because you still forgot to stock up your kitchen with basic utensils, no more parties at roof top bars in the middle of the week, and worst of all; no more delicious $1 street food at the end of a long night. 

Home: 4, Asia: 0.


5. You might not come back

It’s not uncommon for interns who study abroad to fall in love with the places they go. Especially in Asia, where the cities and cultures are so unique and awe-inspiring, you might be so captivated that you’ll want to stay...forever. Additionally, Asia boasts some of the world’s most dominant economies, and careers are often made overnight. People working in every profession under the sun are needed in Asia, from language teaching to software engineering to investment banking. No matter what field you’re interested in, there are countless positions for you all throughout Asia, as long as you are willing to look for them. But once you find something you like, try not to get too attached! You’ll find yourself trying to ship your apartment away overseas, one step closer to your next biggest adventure.

Home: 5, Asia: 0.

That's all. Don't say we didn't warn you. 



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