As someone who decided to make the journey halfway across the world (to Perth, Australia) without knowing anyone, one of my fears was definitely not becoming close with people and making bonds with people from different cultures. Luckily, it is much easier than one would think to connect, form bonds, and create friends to make unforgettable memories with. Some tips I have for future interns: connect with your co-workers, don’t be afraid to travel and try new things, and to explore locally.

Josh Wicker

Connect with your co-workers

I was fortunate enough to intern with the Athletic Institute, a gym in Perth, that worked hand in hand with the West Perth footy club, an Aussie Rules Football club in the West Australian Football League. Through this I met many great people, not only the trainers but many athletes as well. Making sure to go to work whenever requested, I soon became close with a lot of the staff. We started doing things together outside of work, whether it was discovering new restaurants or going out to bars at night. Aussies are definitely some of the easiest people to get along with and are all outgoing and willing to make new friends. After my two months abroad, I found that these co-workers had become some of my closest friends there and it was a bummer to have to leave such a great place so soon.

Bali | Josh Wicker

Don’t be afraid to travel & try new things

Second, I would always recommend traveling whenever possible and to be willing to try new things. Being on the other side of the world is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and you should take full advantage of it. I was lucky enough to travel all over Australia and additionally to Bali and New Zealand. Whilst traveling with my roommates, we made friends with people from all across the world and stayed connected to them throughout our journeys. This also connected my roommates and I even more, and we partook in incredible adventures such as surfing on the Western Australian coast and going on sunrise hikes up mountains in Bali. After these endeavors we all felt much closer and much more connected to each other and were friends throughout the experience. While traveling alone, I found that being flexible and staying in hostels was a great way to make friends. Hostels are typically great, low-cost, safe places that many young people stay in while travelling abroad. After doing the exploring that I knew I wanted to do, I would hang out in the hostel where I was staying and start conversations with other hostel mates and end up joining them in many adventures.

Kings Park | Josh Wicker

Explore locally

Finally, I would recommend exploring locally as well. There are a ton of great people all around you, that are always interested in meeting people from different cultures. Going to local beaches, parks, and clubs at night are all great ways to meet people, and it is more than likely that you will meet many people that you get along with. Also, when travelling with TEAN, always feel free to reach out to a program advisor to get connected with other TEAN students. I was lucky enough to go to an orientation with many other interns, and quickly became close with many through shared experiences. While interning abroad, you will more than likely be rooming with other TEAN students, so use this as an opportunity to connect and find some of your closest friends there.

Although it may seem to be a daunting process, making friends abroad is one of the easiest things to do. Especially being surrounded by other travelers, everyone is outside of their comfort zone and willing to say “Yes” to going on incredible adventures. I had so many incredible memories with great people, all because I was willing to put myself out there and embark on this great journey.

TEAN Alum, Josh Wicker, University of Florida interned abroad in Australia with TEAN.