3 Secrets to a successful summer internship

summer internship

Finding an internship can be hard. But getting the internship is only the first step. After your internship starts, it is up to you to make the most of it.  Even if you work for free, your internship could be worth a fortune. You will gain valuable job experience and make connections with people who can help you develop your career.  

The team at ELSA have worked in many internships, at both large companies like Microsoft and Google, and at unpaid internships.  Check out ELSA’s latest module content under Topic > Education > Consonant Cluster to find out what these top 8 tips are, and the four most common mistakes in your internship you should avoid.

Let’s take a sneak peek of some important lessons we have learned on how to succeed at an internship.

  • Meet and greet your coworkers

Internships are an excellent opportunity to meet people at the company.  Many of the people you meet at your internship will move onto other jobs, but if you stay in touch with them, you can help each other in your careers for years to come.  Invite your coworkers and other interns to eat lunch together.  Try to attend every company event that you get invited to. If there are other interns at the company, you can start a Facebook group for all the interns.  Finally, be sure to add your contacts into Linkedin so you can keep in touch.

One year, I interned at Microsoft in the United States. In that summer, thousands of interns from hundreds of universities around the world worked at Microsoft. I stayed in touch with several interns who I met that summer. Even though we worked together for only one summer, we remained good friends. Ten years later, we still referred job opportunities to each other and periodically share career advice with each other.

  • Ask your supervisor for feedback

Your supervisor can give you guidance that will help you succeed at your job and also in your long-term career. To make the most of your relationship with your supervisor, be sure to establish up front what they expect you to deliver. List out the top tasks that they’d like you do accomplish. Prioritize those tasks in order of importance, so you know what to focus on.  Then you should check in with your supervisor periodically to get their feedback on how you’re doing. You can simply ask: “Can I have your feedback on how I’m doing?” or “Is there anything I can do to improve?” and then listen to what they have to say.

The Microsoft summer internship program requires interns to meet with their supervisor once a week for feedback. Even if a supervisor has been working closely with their intern all week, they would still schedule time each week to give feedback to their intern.


  • Set personal goals


Spend some time thinking about how you want your internship to help your career. Do you want to keep working at the company after school begins? Would you like to come back again next summer? Do you want your boss to write a LinkedIn recommendation for you? Are you just exploring whether or not you like a particular role or industry?  Once you’ve established what your goal is, it will be much easier to find ways to reach those goals. Consider telling your supervisor and coworkers about your goals so they can help you reach them.

More more tips about internships, check out the ELSA app. From your ELSA App, go to the topic: Education. You’ll find 8 tips and 4 mistakes you should avoid, to make your internship a success!

ELSA – your world’s smartest English pronunciation coach


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[New feature] Refer a friend. Earn free ELSA


Want to earn free days of ELSA PRO?

ELSA has a new feature where you can now earn 7 free days of Pro for each Facebook friend you invite to ELSA! To invite your friends, just go to Profile and press “INVITE FRIENDS.”  7 days will automatically be added to your account when your friends sign up. This feature is currently available on Android only. Coming later on iOS.


Top 10 skills for customer service jobs (part 2)

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Thank you, everyone, who read Part 1 of 2 of this post and for all your great comments. I received so many user comments about learning customer service skills that I am writing a second blog post. Without further ado, here are 5 additional skills that are essential for a successful career in customer service. As you read each skill, ask yourself if you have mastered each one. If you are applying for a job in customer service, you’ll need to talk about how you have these skills so you can ace the interview. If you already work in customer service, you’ll need to develop these skills in yourself so you can succeed at work.

Patience [ˈpeɪʃəns]

People who work in customer service must be able to remain calm during stressful situations. When your customers are frustrated or are asking for something that you simply can’t deliver for them, you must have the patience to not become upset yourself. Remember not to take anything that your customer say personally, because their frustration and anger is not personal. They are feeling upset about their situation but that is not a reflection on how you’re doing at your job.

Problem-solving [ˈprɑbləm ˈsɑlvɪŋ]

For those who work in customer service, one’s problem-solving skill can often be the deciding factor between successful and unsuccessful employees. You are continuously challenged by customers who present their problems to you, and your job is to help them find solutions. The best way to be good at problem-solving is to practice solving lots of problems. If you’re new on the job, shadow your coworkers to learn how they solve the problems.

Positivity [ˌpɒz ɪˈtɪv ɪ ti]

Your positive attitude will not only help you succeed with your customers, but will also help strengthen your relationship with your coworkers.  A Stanford University study on “positive intelligence” showed that your positivity predicts how successful you will be in your career. Being positive can help those around you feel more positive.   Furthermore, when you feel positive, you’ll naturally notice more of the benefits of your company’s product and service, and you can, in turn, convey that to your customers.  

Conflict Resolution [ˈkɑnflɪkt ˌrɛzəˈluʃən]

In a customer service job, your job is to essentially solve your customer’s problems.  But there are times when you can’t find a solution to their problem. What do you do then? This is where your conflict resolution skills will be useful. You may need to soothe your customer by giving them a discount, pointing them to another place where they can get more help, calling in your manager. Whatever the resolution, remember to stay calm and think positively!

Persuasion [pərˈsweɪʒən]

Last but not least, a large part of your job is to turn frustrated customers into happy customers.To do so, you’ll often need to convince your customers of something you recommend. This is where your persuasion skills come in. To be persuasive, you must be able to speak from your customers point of view. The famous American businessperson, Dale Carnegie, recommends that you end your sentence by describing the benefit to your customer. When you are recommending a solution, tell the customer what’s in it for them. You can say to them “And the benefit to you is …”

ELSA – your world’s smartest English pronunciation coach


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How do Americans Celebrate Easter – Your Easter Vocabulary Feast!

Easter is upon us! This weekend will be Easter weekend for all Christians around the globe. Let’s celebrate Easter with ELSA by learning a bit more about this special holiday and how Americans celebrate Easter.

What is Easter?

Easter is a holiday celebrating the end of Lent and the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. Holy Week starts off with Palm Sunday the following Good Thursday the day of the Last Supper, Good Friday the day of Jesus crucifixion and Sunday the day Jesus rose which is now the celebration of Easter.

Is Easter a religious holiday?

Yes, but Easter is also a very popular cultural holiday in the United States.

Do all countries celebrate Easter in the same way?

No, around the world, different countries, cultures, and communities have different traditions to celebrate the Easter holiday.

So, how do Americans celebrate Easter?

Easter bunny! You can’t talk about Easter in America without talking about the Easter Bunny. The idea of the Easter Bunny originated in Germany. Rabbits are symbols of fertility and spring. The tradition of Easter Bunny is that the night before Easter, children would their build nests out of sticks and leaves (Easter basket) and leave those outside. Easter Bunny can then put eggs in (or chocolate eggs, or just candy) for the children to find the next morning

Every year, Easter is also celebrated by the President of the United States at the White House. It’s usually called “White House Easter Egg roll” – a visit by the Easter bunny, an egg roll, an Easter Egg Hunt, lots of fun and candy! Check out this video to see how Easter was celebrated at the White House in 2015

What are some of the fun facts of Easter in America? Hint: you can practice speaking these sentences on ELSA’s dictionary feature!!! :)

  • Easter is the 2nd largest candy-consuming holiday, after Halloween
  • More than 120 million pounds of candy are purchased for Easter every year. That’s enough to max out 4,615 dump trucks!!!
  • Every day 5 million marshmallow chicks and bunnies are made to prepare for Easter
  • 90 million Chocolate Easter Bunnies are made for Easter
  • Do you know when people eat Chocolate Easter Bunnies, what do they most often eat first? The EARS!!!!
  • 16 billion jelly beans are made for Easter. That’s enough to circle the globe three times!!!

Your Easter Vocabulary Feast!

Lent [lɛnt]

The 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern, and some Protestant churches as a period of penitence and fasting

Resurrection [ˌrɛzəˈrɛkʃən]

The rising of Christ from the dead

Crucifixion [ˌkrusɪˈfɪkʃən]

The crucifying of Christ. If a person is crucified (“to crucify” is the verb), then he or she is hung on a cross and left to die a very slow, painful death

Holy Week [ˈhoʊli wik]

The week before Easter during which the last days of Christ’s life are commemorated

Palm Sunday [pɑm ˈsʌnˌdeɪ]

The Sunday before Easter celebrated in commemoration of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem


Good Friday [ [gʊd ˈfraɪdi]

The Friday before Easter observed in churches as the anniversary of the crucifixion of Christ and in some states of the U.S. as a legal holiday


The Last Supper [ðə læst ˈsʌpər ]

The supper eaten by Jesus and his disciples on the night of his betrayal

Easter Bunny [ˈistər ˈbʌni]

The tradition of easter bunny that bring children Easter egg, or candy, or chocolate bunnies


Easter Basket [ˈistər ˈbæskət]

A basket of candy, toys, etc., that is given to children at Easter

Easter Egg Roll [ˈistər ɛg roʊl]

A traditional game played with eggs at Easter


Chocolate bunny [ˈʧɔklət ˈbʌni]

A piece of chocolate in the shape of a rabbit, usually stylized, and generally hollow.

Jellybean [ˈʤɛli bin]

A bean-shaped candy with a jellylike center and a firm sugar coating


Happy Easter,

ELSA – your world’s smartest English pronunciation coach


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Global AI Hackathon – Google San Francisco, March 2017

ELSA represents at the Global Artificial Intelligence Hackathon

Last week, ELSA’s CEO Vu Van was on the judge panel for the Global AI Hackathon, hosted at Google LaunchPad, San Francisco California. At the event, ten startups were selected to present their solutions to the panel of judges.

Upcoming Global AI Hackathon, San Francisco
Upcoming Global AI Hackathon, San Francisco

What is a hackathon?

For those of you who do not work in software development, the term “hackathon” might be new to you. Hackathons are events that bring together software programmers and designers to work in small groups on a particular topic. A hackathon usually lasts for one to two days. During that time, the participants build prototypes of their ideas.  At the end of the event, they present their projects to the judges and prizes are awarded to the winners.  At the Global AI Hackathon, the topic is AI. So the attendees built prototypes that involved AI technology.

What were cool AI projects at the hackathon?

Here are a couple projects that caught our attention:

Moo DJ is a mobile phone app that uses AI to detect people’s emotions through chat and voice conversations.  Moo DJ then plays songs that match the user’s emotions. Imagine it is after work on Friday, you’re chatting with your girlfriend about meeting for drinks. You then turn on Moo DJ, and which then plays you a soft Taylor Swift song, just in time to set the mood for a romantic evening.

AIDA is building an AI solution for babies. Infants between zero to six months old can cry a lot. Parents often have a difficult time interpreting what their baby is crying about. AIDA uses machine learning to decodes a baby’s crying voice for their parents. When the baby cries, AIDA can tell if the baby is communicating  “I’m hungry” or “My diaper is itchy” or “I just want you to play with me.” If AIDA becomes a reality, it can definitely remove some fear from being a new parent.

Hackathons are popular in Silicon Valley but are also becoming more popular in major cities around the world. Next time there’s a hackathon in your area, you’ll know what it means!

And if you are interested in Global AI Hackathon, the next event will be held on June 23-25, 2017 in San Francisco.

ELSA joined Google LaunchPad

Recently, the ELSA team was selected to join the Google Launchpad accelerator program in San Francisco, California.  If you don’t work in a startup, the term “startup accelerator” may be new to you. 

ELSA team at Google LaunchPad (San Francisco, 2017)
ELSA team at Google LaunchPad (San Francisco, 2017)

What’s a Startup Accelerator?

Startup accelerators, as the name implies, help startup companies grow faster. Well known accelerators include Y Combinator, 500 Startups, and Stanford StartX. Most accelerators programs last for a weeks to a months and provide mentors who can advise the entrepreneurs.  Some of the programs even provide funding to the startups. In the case of LaunchPad, they gave each startup $50,000, with no strings attached.

What do you do in a Startup Accelerator?

The ELSA team attended Google LauchPad, the program began with classes on various startup topics, such as how to find the right employees at ELSA and how to build features into ELSA that our English learn really need.

Outside of the classroom, we had the opportunity to meet with about a hundred different mentors, many of whom are experts in their respective fields. These mentors come from around the world, including India, Vietnam, Brazil, and Silicon Valley.  In two short weeks, as we met with these mentors, they gave us advice on many of the challenges that we’ve been working on. For example: how do we help our users practice for a few minutes every day? How often should we publish new lessons? How many free days of Elsa Pro do we give our users when they first sign up?

How do you get into Google LaunchPad?

Follow the application link on Google LaunchPad website. Deadline is April 21 for the next class!

Here are a few more tips to improve your chances on getting in.

  • Don’t be alarmed when you see the long application. The application is long because the Google Launchpad team will use all that information to tailor the program for your unique situation.
  • Do gloat about your startup. Tell people how your product is the best in your country, how your users love your product, how your team is here to change the world.
  • Find someone affiliated with Google to refer you to the program. When we spoke to startups at the program, we found that many of them got in through referrals by their investors.

How do you get the most out of a Startup Accelerator?

Once you get into a startup accelerator, here are some tips on how to get the most out of it.   

  1. Come with real challenges that you want to solve for your startup. Mentors can only be helpful if they know exactly what help you need. The more specific you are, the more valuable the program will be for your startup.
  2. Connect with other startups in your program. You’ll trade ideas with the other entrepreneurs on how to expand to their countries, commiserate with each other’s war stories, and even explore business partnership opportunities.
  3. Stay in touch with the mentors you meet, especially those who have direct expertise relevant to your company and can help you in the long run. LaunchPad didn’t just stop for us after the two week program ended – we continued to have follow up meetings with our mentors to get more advice.
  4. Last but not least, speak good English. To increase your chances of connecting with your mentors and batchmates, you need to be a fluent speaker so they can understand you. The fastest way to speak better English is to practice on ELSA. Just 10 minutes a day will make a big difference in your pronunciation skills.

If you get into LaunchPad, let us know, and we’ll give your team a lifetime membership to ELSA Pro for free! Good luck everybody! Don’t forgot to practice every day!

To read more about the LaunchPad program, check out this article on Business Insider where ELSA was honored to be featured: http://www.businessinsider.com/google-has-a-plan-to-engineer-the-next-silicon-valleys-2017-3