According to The economist the business world is going through the internships boom. Larger graduate pools and stagnant world economy are the main reasons of growing number of internship placements. Almost every graduate has an internship in the CV already before graduating. How to differentiate yourself from others? How to make your CV standing out among the thousands of similar CVs that HR departments are reading through?
One of the possibility is to do the socially responsible internship abroad, in one of the developing countries for example internship in Brazil.
Another boom which takes place currently is a rise of social responsibility in business. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) departments appeared in the companies to take care of the impact of company’s activities on the environment or at least to create an image of doing so. The CSR becomes more and more integrated in the corporate cultures. You will increase your chances to fit in the corporate culture if you show that you profile is socially responsible too.
If you are dreaming about high management position the experience of working and living in a multicultural environment is a must. And the more different is the country of your internship placement from yours, the more outstanding and valuable is your experience. But why is it so important? Why to go to other side of the world, to some undeveloped unorganised country? The answer is that this way you will drastically improve your social competences. Modern leaders not necessarily need to be good technical professionals but need to be successful in dealing with people. Observing people doing their internships in Brazil I distinguished several social skills which are getting evolved.
Brazil is a country of high social inequality like many other developing countries. The chance is very high that you will have to deal with the people of different social levels, and face the awkward situations you never faced before in life. Brazilian are extremely direct; that direct that in Europe considered as unethical. Sometimes it is very hard to interact with humiliating and ignorant people and still maintain your level of ethics. But going through this experience you learn to control your emotions and react calmly and restrained. The qualities highly desired from employees working on the management positions.
The way of live and work in Brazil is chaotic, which make you prepared to unpredictable working situations. It permanently puts the interns in the situation of taking the desicions in changing conditions. What should you do if there is a bus drivers’ strike (happens very often in Brazil) and you are late for a business meeting? You finally managed to the meeting on time, just to find out that your business partner did not appear/forgot/have something else to do. Everything goes not as planned during your internship. In the beginning interns (especially those from Western Europe) who are used to good organisation and structure get frustrated and desperate, but with the time they learn to deal with it. Somebody faster somebody slower. They become prepared take sudden decisions under the changing conditions – one more skill important for the leaders
Those decisions are often creative and made in Brazilian way. There is even special term which describes it – “jeitinho Brasileiro”. This way is characterised by high level of creativity and improvisations. The leader who can take creative decisions is a good mean to differentiate the company from competitors.
This Brazilian way is often imply using your network of contacts. Honestly I did not believe in networking, thought of it as a way of using people in a bad way. Here in Brazil I understood its value and meaning. Asking friends, strangers, colleagues, is often the only way to find out what to do and where to go. During this process your make new friends, not only by asking, but also giving the answers. And it makes fun! Of course you need to use your freshly learned Portuguese, which gives you one more nice bonus – improves your language skills.
If you are still having doubts do your own internship in Brazil and discover your own benefits.