I’m 1 time zone from family, 1,300 miles from home, 1,500 miles from my academic home. And, surprisingly, the distance hasn’t affected me how I thought it would.
As cliché as I feel saying it, I’ve always wanted to travel. Maybe that’s evident through my love of foreign languages, or the fact that, of all of the research programs I applied to this summer, only 2 of them sit on the east coast. I think I also wanted to explore an area of the US where I’d never previously been before, complete with everything from a unique climate to a characteristic landscape. Texas correctly fit the criteria; if I didn’t have a map, I wouldn’t guess it was on the same continent as Pennsylvania.
I remember the day I flew here from home. I wasn’t afraid of being away from home, but I was afraid of not knowing how to solve dilemmas by myself that I knew my parents would know answers to. Once I realized that I could take care of myself completely by myself, however, that’s when things became fun.
I think living far from home is a worthwhile experience for interns because it’s a short term assignment that gives one the opportunity to practice self reliance and independence. It also allows you to explore somewhere you wouldn’t otherwise have much reason to travel to; if it wasn’t for work, I likely wouldn’t have had a reason to come to College Station this summer.
I think this is also a great experience because I like to think of it as allowing you to test out the area with little commitment. If you liked where you interned, you can always return later and more permanently for school or work. If you decide that it isn’t the place for you, there’s no need to fret– it’s a short term assignment, and the remaining weeks will end before you can blink twice. I like how, with interning, there’s little pressure to fall in love with the location.
Ultimately, from my experience so far, I highly recommend that, given the opportunity, students intern somewhere different and where they might not typically visit–a different city, a different state, a different time zone, a different country, a different continent–however far you wish to travel.