Why did you pick this program?
I chose this program to gain experience in the highly competitive field in which I wish to pursue a career. The program seemed like the complete package that would enable me to network and gain valuable hands on experience, while making me stand out to potential employers.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
My program provider arranged my internship, accommodation, and transport, as well as social and professional development activities. The only aspect I had to do myself was the visa application and dealing with the sponsor, though my provider assisted where possible. I also organized additional leisure activities and sightseeing.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
I wish I knew how difficult the visa application process is and how long it takes. I would have done things even sooner, though I already applied 7 months in advance.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
My usual work day was 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., though this was flexible if I needed to leave early or take a day off. I was in the laboratory all day, as my work was all hands on. I performed many different experiments and assays, and had daily and weekly meetings to attend. Occasionally I was able to attend lectures and a genetics conference.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?
My single biggest fear was going overseas alone. I am a very independent person and love being alone, but the thought of traveling to the other side of the world where I didn't know anyone was terrifying. I overcame this fear by taking it head on! I went alone and made so many new friends and had incredible experiences. I learned an enormous amount about myself and I am very proud of myself for doing this.
What is some advice you can share for future international interns in New York?
Take advantage of every opportunity and get out of your comfort zone. In the early days of my internship I kept to myself a lot more and liked to stay in during the week, get my 8 hours of sleep, and go to the gym. Don't be so silly! Get out and meet strangers, go row boating, go rock climbing, see the Statue of Liberty, go to dive bars, do karaoke; you can sleep when you're dead! It is a fine line though, don't let a lack of sleep affect your work. But I feel much happier reminiscing about the fun, spontaneous evenings out than I did about my quiet nights in.