The first day on your international internship can be slightly nerve-wracking to many of Leave UR Mark’s volunteers and interns. Here is Leave UR Mark’s advice on how to easily have your new Indian boss and colleagues warm up to you and help you have an amazing cultural and learning experience while in the country.
1. Ask Questions
While being introduced to your new boss and new work, it’s crucial to make a great first impression. Some questions to ask would be:
- How do you think I can contribute most to your organization?
- Are there ways that I can make your life easier by working on certain projects?
- What would you like me to do during the first week?
- What would you like to see me accomplish over the next (x) weeks?
- What Bollywood movie would you recommend I watch during my time in India?
- Who’s your favorite cricket team?
- How long did it take you to get to work today?!
- Do you like joint families or individual families?
- Do you have family all over India or do they all live in this city?
- Well have you thought about doing it this way?
- Has anyone ever done it like this?
Many of us are not used to working on Saturdays when coming to India from countries like the U.S., Canada, etc. However, in India it’s common practice to work some Saturdays (especially half days). If your boss says it’s not necessary, then don’t go. However, if it seems like there is an important event or meeting happening on that Saturday, make sure to check if your boss would like you to come in.
8. Don’t talk negatively or offensively about India
Although Indians may be constantly complaining about the state of politics, the corruption, the rising prices, the social stigmas etc., they are also fiercely proud of their country. Although they may constantly be busting on India, they may get offended if you join in and criticize the country. You may end up with colleagues who think you are the “stereotypical” foreigner.
9. Ask for Feedback
Bosses and colleagues may not be under the routine of providing structured feedback to their interns or volunteers. Don’t assume that they will simply provide the feedback to you automatically. Thus it’s important for you to schedule a time to chat with them and ask them things like:
- How do you think I’m doing so far?
- Do you think I handled this project correctly?
- What ways do you think I can improve or get more involved?