What to Expect from our Internships
International internships give globally-minded people access to international work experience. Learn, build your network, and grow as a professional. Internship placements are built around professional assignments of four weeks or more in developing countries, where interns get a sense of what living and working abroad is all about.
Living and working abroad can be a humbling experience that pushes you beyond your comfort zone. You learn to live like a local not just travel like a tourist. Most importantly, you meet all kinds of people from all walks of life—local professionals, fellow travelers, and expats living abroad… all of them from different backgrounds and experiences levels that help you broaden your horizons and world views.
Maximo Nivel is a local organization based in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. Our role is to bring structure, organization, and quality service to your internship program. We partner with local companies and organizations including small businesses, private schools, boutique hotels, tour companies, hospitals, clinics, and so on.
The Maximo Nivel team is multi-lingual, educated, and well-traveled. Our staff in each country is approximately 65% local people and 35% international people. This means, we easily manage the cultural and language barriers that often get in the way, and at the same time we’re familiar with both the local culture and your home country.
Maximo Nivel invests a great deal of time and money to build our employer and internship network, recruit interns, and manage logistics such as airport pick-up, accommodations, meals, embassy relations, emergency plans, and so on. We also continually monitor in-field conditions to ensure the safety of our program participants.
A Week in the Life of an International Intern
Airport pick-up is included in all of our programs. Maximo Nivel’s professional drivers meet you outside of baggage claim as you exit the airport—just look for the yellow smiley face flag. You receive a Welcome Folder detailing your accommodations, orientation time, and our Emergency contact numbers. Depending on your time of arrival, you come to the Maximo institute or go directly to your accommodations.
Your Welcome Folder tells you the exact time of your orientation. Your host family shows you the best way to get to/from your family-stay and the Maximo Nivel institute. Orientation is very important because we cover specific details about your program, a health and safety review, dos and don’ts, cultural activities and tours that are available, and a short walking tour to be sure you’re familiar with the area around the Maximo institute. During your orientation, you also take a Spanish placement exam.
You have breakfast at your accommodations. We have a lot to do on Day 1, so we expect you at the institute first thing in the morning. A Field Manager from Maximo Nivel shows you how to get to/from your internship placement and Maximo Nivel (e.g. buses, taxis, walking, etc.). Our Field Manager accompanies you to the employer site and explains the activities that take place there, and answers any questions you have so you’re fully prepared to begin working.
Your work hours are usually from 8:00AM to 3:00PM, with an hour for lunch. Note that times are approximate and vary by internship type and employer. People working in hospitality and tourism, may work on weekends and then have 1-2 alternative days off during the week.
Your internship program includes private, one-on-one Spanish classes 1 hour/day, Monday through Friday. Most interns will take their Spanish classes toward the end of the day, after their work schedule.
During the week, you start the day with breakfast at your host family, generally around 7:00AM. Most often, you eat with some of the family members or with other interns who are staying at the house.
From there, you make your way to Maximo Nivel or directly to your employer. In the afternoon, you join us at the Maximo Nivel institute for your Spanish classes. Most days, you have time to meet other students, socialize, and do some exploring. In your free time, you can spend some time with your host family, explore the city, take excursions, and hang out at the Maximo institute. Be sure to take advantage of the many free activities we have including salsa classes, cooking lessons, Tandem Conversation Program, and more.
There are plenty of great restaurant options around Maximo Nivel. Be sure to get out and try some of the local dishes and do some looking around.
In the evening, you have dinner with your host family. After dinner, families like to sit and talk about their day and hear about yours—remember, this helps you become more involved in the daily routine of your family and helps develop your Spanish language skills. If you won’t be home until later, or if you’re going out to a restaurant with friends, just let your host family know you won’t be there for dinner.
At night, your evenings are free to relax at your accommodations, study up on the company you’re working for, or to enjoy time with new friends. You have your own key to the family-stay house and you’re free to come and go as you please. However, we ask you respect the routine and house rules of the family. If you choose to drink, please do so responsibly! It’s important to follow the Maximo Nivel safety rules—we want you to have a fun and safe experience abroad.
In most cases, interns have weekends free to go sightseeing, traveling, or trekking. You can arrange tours with Maximo Nivel’s on-site travel partner or pool together with other interns and head out on your own. If you’re traveling, please be sure your host family knows where you’re going and when you’ll return. If you decide to stay with your host family on the weekends, you are welcome to get involved in their routine, go to church with them on Sundays, and in general spend quality “family time” together.
Departure day is always bitter sweet. Our program participants are excited to go home and share their experience with family and friends, but they also realize they’re going to miss their new
friends and colleagues in Latin America. Remember, you’re always welcome to extend your stay!
On your last Friday, make sure you come to Maximo Nivel to check-out, collect your Maximo t-shirt, get your reference letter, and leave us your feedback card. Client service is very important to us and we take your feedback seriously—this helps us improve our programs so and ensure a great experience.
On your last Saturday, you’re welcome to stay at your accommodations until 11:00AM, and breakfast is included. We’re always happy to help organize a ride back to the airport. Please note that airport drop-off is not included in your program fee.
Life at Maximo Nivel
At Maximo Nivel, we have lots of large common areas to hang out and meet up with friends and other interns. At the institute, there is free WiFi, a computer lounge, free Spanish tutoring, and free coffee and tea. During your program, you should definitely take part in the free Tandem Conversation Program to further improve your Spanish. Every month we have a calendar of free activities including salsa dance classes, cooking lessons, movie night, and so on.
At every Maximo institute, travel and excursions are easy to arrange through our on-site travel partners.
– MyJ Travel (Costa Rica)
– Eco-Expedition Guatemala (Guatemala)
– American Inca Trail (Peru)