Starting an internship in a new city can bring together a melting pot of emotions – excitement, fear, nervousness – much like any new chapter in your life. While the internship itself depends on the company and day-to-day work, the experience depends on everything else you do when you’re off the clock, and a new location brings with it a world of opportunities. Not every city is going to be your idea of a city – there’s only one New York, Chicago, or San Francisco for every thousand normal, average, suburban towns. It’s important to be open to trying new things wherever you go, so that you can learn to be adaptable and happy wherever you are! Here are some things to keep in mind as you start your new journeys.
1. Groupon everything.
Groupon kills two birds with one stone. You can explore multiple new areas and things to do, and you’ll be saving money! Take time to plan out which deals look good to you, and try out something from every category – a local nature preserve, wine tour, arcade, spa, restaurant. It’s a great way to explore interesting businesses in the area.
2. Use Meetup.
Meetup is a social networking platform that, for a change, actually focuses on real life social networking! The name of the game is to find large groups of people with common interests, and meet up with them! It’s probably the easiest way to make friends in a new city and not look lame doing it (let’s leave Tinder out of this one). You can look for groups by age, activity, or literally any hobby. You could also use this to find other interns in your area.
3. Look for hidden gems in addition to tourist attractions.
I work outside of Chicago, so on my first few weekends, I obviously went to see the Bean, in addition to other standard, big, perfect Chicago tourist locations. But I also like looking for hidden gems in my local suburb, as well as in the city. It’s quite rewarding to be able to talk about and recommend activities that people might not be aware of. To get these ideas, talk to your coworkers or any hipster friends you may have, as well as using apps like Scoutmob. Cut the tourist lines and find out what that no-name burger place or antique bookstore is really like.
4. Plan out your weekends wisely.
I’ll admit, there’s some weekends this summer where I will probably just sit around and do nothing; we all deserve those kinds. But it’s best to plan ahead to make the most of the city that you’re in, even if there’s not that much to do. You should also budget time for spontaneous adventures, like a road trip. An internship is a sneak peek of what adult life will be like, so you’ll want to get used to managing time and exploring on your own to get a feel of what your surroundings are like and how you’ll adjust if you end up moving to a similar city after graduation. You’ll want to look back on this summer and reminisce about spending your free time well!
5. Decide if you can see yourself living there.
You may be spending a lot of time figuring out what there is to do around your area, but also try to picture your future there. There are often a lot more factors to consider when picking a place to live, besides just how big or wild your neighborhood is. When the time comes to make your career decision, it will also be a life decision.
The best thing to do when starting an internship in a new city, whether you’re solo or with friends, is to keep an open mind. First impressions can tell you a lot about how you’ll adjust to that place, but often, a move is not easy and it takes time for the change to grow on you. For the time being, have fun exploring!
Have any other tips on how to adjust to an internship in a new city? Comment below!
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Anu is a senior at Georgia Tech, studying Economics and Business. Anu loves music, writing, travelling, laughing, learning languages, and being outdoors. At any given time, you can find her watching The Office or laughing at her own jokes. She is super stoked about sharing her thoughts with other college students on Society19!