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Vicky Liao – London Internship – Management Track

Vicky at Big Ben

Vicky at Big Ben

Interned in accounting and finance at the Crowne Plaza’s London Docklands on the London Internship Program in fall 2015.

Internship:  I interned at Crowne Plaza London Docklands’ Accounts Department. Every day I posted credit, commissions and remittance invoices on Crowne Plaza’s internal server for payment processing/documentation. Additionally, I collected cash from all hotel cashiers to verify the amount matched with what was reported. I also checked daily credit card reconciliations to ensure zero variance on the balance sheet.

I Learned: From this experience, I learned both cooking and how to adapt to a country with a different culture. It was difficult in the beginning because the London campus was not as big and convenient as the BU campus. It was hard to find food and stores near to the London campus. One cultural difference I found was that most British don’t like to stock up on groceries the way that most Americans do. Instead, they prefer to buy groceries every day or every other day. Eventually, I started to get used to it and buy supplies at the grocery store in the train station every day after work.

Hardest Part: The hardest part for me was finding time to focus on studying. I had my internship, and I wanted to spend weekends travelling to other places. As a result, it was hard for me to keep my mind focused on studying because traveling and my internship used up most of my energy.

Best Part: Traveling to other cities in UK and to other European countries were the best experiences ever. It was great to see all those places and learn about their cultures.

My Tips: If you are planning to travel a lot, then plan it way ahead of time and be aware of the timing of your courses. Also, I took the course AH381. It was a London Architecture and Urbanism class. It was the best class I had in London because the class was half lecture and half field trip. In this class, I learned a lot about London’s history and got to go to many famous attractions. I would definitely recommend this class to students who are interesting in learning more about London.

Ugne Vaiciulyte – Madrid Internship

Ugne in Retiro Park

Ugne in Retiro Park

Interned in accounting at a small firm in fall 2015.

I studied abroad in Madrid during my Senior Fall. Although pretty it was pretty unconventional to go fall semester of my senior year, my thought process was “When will I ever get to live somewhere for 4 months and not have to give up any responsibilities?”

Internship: I had an internship with an accountant that worked with small to mid-size companies. My internship was pretty limited: filing, alphabetizing, data entry and similar tasks. There was not much substance, and I can’t say that if I were to do this program again that I would choose to the internship program. I understand for a finance concentrator it can be pretty hard to find an adequate financial internship, especially for a foreign student for only 3 months. In Spain, it is very unusual to have such a short-term internship.

I Learned: While in Spain, I learned not to take myself too seriously in terms of my professional career (aka enjoy myself a little bit more). Over there, they place a focus on enjoying their meals, their time with their family and friends. They don’t rush through those moments and really make sure to be present. Also, in Spain, they don’t include their jobs as part of their identity. This was a huge revelation for me, as here, when we meet a new person, the small talk usually revolves around “What do you do?” “Where did you go to school?” and “What did you major in?”. In Spain, it is considered rude to ask people about their careers or studies, and a bigger emphasis is put on a persons identity being composed of their likes/dislikes, their hobbies, and their personalities. I think we sometimes forget, and it is important, to differentiate who we are as people versus who we are as professionals.

What Surprised Me: What surprised me most about my time off-campus was how interesting the classes were. I love numbers and math and finance, and the classes I was taking were literature, anthropology and cultural ones. However, I found myself really enjoying the material we covered and the essays we had to write. I thought the academic aspect would be such a drag for me, but it really wasn’t.

Hardest Part: So my hardest part of study abroad is a little different than for most people. I took a weekend trip to Paris the weekend of the attacks and actually ended up being right in the middle of all the action about 10 minutes after they happened. I was very lucky, but it was still a pretty stressful experience which made my time thereafter in Spain a little harder. I found myself really missing my family and friends. I stopped traveling. I stopped going out with my classmates, etc. Which just leads me to speak about the BEST part of this experience: my host family. I became so close with my host family, sharing with them not only my daily experiences but really opening up to them about my personal life back in the States, introducing them to my own family and friends via Skype, planning future visits, etc. Having the family there for me as a support system every day was something I was not expecting, but I am so happy with the family that I got. We still keep in touch to this day in our group chat, still sharing our little every day routine moments. This program has given me people that I became so close with that I can truly call them my second family.

Tips: Bring a comfortable cross body bag. You will need to stuff a cardigan, an umbrella, camera, water bottle, etc. almost every day and walk everywhere, so being comfortable is very important. Bring LAYERS for the crazy weather. Take care of your electronics EVERYWHERE as it seems Madrid just breeds pickpockets. Try all the food.

Karli Abshier, Paris Internship Program

Interned in public auditing with JPA International, Spring 2013

Internship: I interned at JPA International, a network of independent public auditors that spans across forty countries.  JPA International is headquartered in Paris and serves clients all across the globe with audit, consulting, and corporate finance. Their major clients are French corporations, specializing in French culture and the arts, as well as international companies desiring to expand their business into the French market.

I Learned: From living abroad, I was able to experience French culture to the fullest by living with a French host family. There I was able to live like a Parisian and begin to understand the utmost importance of French culture and cuisine.

From studying abroad, I learned typical French sayings and common phrases that I would not have been able to learn from an American professor. My French professors taught me practical French, not textbook French, that I was able to apply to my internship as well as my daily life in Paris. Additionally, I was able to experience and utilize what I learned in the classroom daily, which was especially rewarding for my art history course where I was able to visit the museums that housed the pieces I studied in class.

From interning abroad, I learned the importance of learning a second language. It is one thing to study French in a classroom, but it is completely different speaking French in a work environment with French colleagues. Learning French gave me the opportunity to experience the French work culture and international business, something I now have a passion for.

Comparing/Contrasting My Work Experiences: Working in France I learned how much the French value a work-life balance. My lunch breaks were normally an hour to an hour and half long, where I sat and conversed with my colleagues about their lives, French culture and life in Paris. My colleagues knew the balance of working hard during the day to enjoy their evenings and weekends, which I know is not always the case in the US.

Hardest Part: The most difficult part of my experience was getting to the point in my French speaking where I was able to comprehend everything that was said to me and also be one hundred percent comfortable speaking French with locals, not just my American friends.

Best Part: The best part of my experience was experiencing French culture and being able to use what I have been studying for the past four years. Also, my internship was an unforgettable experience that was extremely helpful for my future career.

Brent Donenfeld, London Internship Program–Management Track

Interned as a Governance and Control Analyst at Barclays, Spring 2013

I Learned: From my experience at Barclays, I learned to deal with cultural barriers that exist in diverse workplaces and grew to find cultural differences as competitive advantages.  Additionally, I learned to balance a myriad of professional commitments, as I was enrolled in studies, traveling around Europe and working nearly full-time.

Comparing/Contrasting My Work Experiences: The major difference that I noticed while working abroad was the large amount of diversity that existed in the workplace. I worked with people of different ethnicities, professional backgrounds, and countries of origin which really enhanced my learning experience in the workplace.

Hardest Part: Overcoming cultural differences that existed between the US and UK office place.

Best Part: Meeting life-long friends, traveling around Europe, and refining my professional interests as I look to enter the full-time job market.

Alec Fong, Madrid Management Internship Program

Alec’s Homestay location

Intern in Accounting and Hospitality in the Restaurant and Hotel Industries, Spring 2012

Internships: I had a pretty interesting experience with the internships. At first, I was placed in the accounting department of a company that owned a group of restaurants. A lot of the work was basic, but that’s because the company wanted to ensure that I had a good work ethic and could prove myself before giving me other responsibilities. I had a previous internship in accounting back here in the United States, so I asked to be put in another accounting internship.

My second internship was helping out the manager of a restaurant and learning about running a restaurant. That included verifying bills, helping customers, and the like. Due to complications with management there, I was moved to a hostel where I was a receptionist. That was by far my favorite job as I got to interact with many different travelers from different parts of the world. I even checked in a guest in on my own and explained all the rules of the hostel. Maybe the only down side to this internship was that I spoke a lot of English since it is a very international language. Although I had these experiences, the internship placement team over in Madrid will always work with students to make sure they’re content with what they’re doing.

I Learned: In the Madrid program, we were all placed into home stays, unlike other programs where students were all bunched together in a dorm. For this reason, I learned how to be extremely independent and not afraid to ask questions to get where I needed to be or to find out how to do something I needed to do. This ranged from cultural interactions to asking which train to take to get home. I also learned how to communicate effectively in another language (expressions, study terms, slang, etc)! There is no other substitute to being surrounded by those who speak the native language.

Comparing/Contrasting to Other Work Experiences: Spain was very different. A lot of the technology was older than that in the United States. People there were generally more relaxed about their jobs and followed tradition. Smaller shops opened around 9/10am, closed for a long lunch from about 2pm-4/5pm, and re-opened until closing time at around 7pm or earlier. Banks closed around 2pm every day and were rarely open on the weekends.

Hardest Part: Studying at a university level in Spanish was probably on the top of my list. Learning finance terms in Spanish wasn’t easy, but some parts were easier since numbers are the same in every language. Professors were generally more willing to help international students, but it was still difficult since some class grades were based off of one cumulative final exam. (I believe this system is getting changed next year.) Study hard!

Best Part: Adjusting to the Spanish culture and living in Spain for five whole months was the absolute best part of my experience. I learned to study in another language, explore the city like a local and know the transportation system like the back of my hand. Being in Europe for that long also meant that I got exposure to a variety of different cultures as well as the opportunity to be able to travel to neighboring countries.