3 Language Barriers
Interning abroad can come with a few challenges, a main one being the language barrier. Surprisingly, while I interned abroad in Melbourne, Australia, I encountered more language barriers than I was expecting. They speak English, right? So there should be no problem communicating... I learned I was wrong to expect that.
Aussie Slang/Culture. If you have ever met an Australian, you might think they are speaking a whole other language at times. The amount of slang that is part of their culture is amazing compared to other cultures I have encountered. A tip for anyone traveling to Australia: everything is shortened, and more often than not words will end in “o”.
Some of the phrases and words I had to learn were:
“Servo” – gas station
“Brekkie” – breakfast
“I’ll suss it out.” – I’ll figure out what’s going on.
“Fair Dinkum” – true, real
“Arvo” – afternoon
One of my projects was editing the white papers for the company before reprinting them to send out to potential clients. In order to make the required changes on the digital documents, I collaborated with the Head of Design, who was from Venezuela. Since his first language was Spanish, a lot of the grammar and changes he encouraged me to explain to him to improve his english. This added a bit of a challenge since it made me second guess the changes that we had. However, it did help with my Spanish, since we often times compared the English grammar with the Spanish grammar.
Besides this, I was able to discuss the differences in culture that varies with my Venezuelan, Puerto Rican, English, and Greek coworkers. Many lunches were spent discussing the differences in our childhoods and how some of us were familiar with some brands, while others weren’t because of our differences in cultural background.
Digital Marketing Lingo. Considering I hadn't yet taken a marketing course at that point, I knew coming into my internship that I was going to have to learn a lot about Digital Marketing.
My first sales meeting had me lost because of all the acronyms: SEO, CVO, UX, CPC, KPI, SERP and many more. Although I had heard of some of these phrases, due to the fast pace of the company, I knew I had to become more familiar with each acronym. Luckily, my company gave me access to Digital Marketing Certification courses online that allowed me to familiarize myself with the content.
I learned a vast amount about Digital Marketing, but that could have been learned at any company around the world. An international internship allowed me to learn even more about how business is conducted differently in Australia and how to communicate with people from all around the world. Each internship has the opportunity to learn even more than expected, it is just up to the intern to find those aspects.