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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.

Amanda Barone – London Internship – Management Track

Amanda in Kensington GardensInterned in finance on the London Internship Program in summer 2015.

Internship: I was an Analysis Intern for a company called CMD, which tracks the performance of thousands of fixed income securities and uses this information to provide money market analysis to industry insiders.

Because the company is quite small, I was given a lot of responsibility right away; by the end of my first week, I already had four articles published to an audience of about 20,000 market professionals! I primarily wrote articles about Movers & Shakers in the financial industry and weekly bond market reports for SSA, FIG, and corporate bond markets.

As someone who is studying both Business and English, this internship enabled me to learn how to analyze the bond market and gain professional writing experience. Through this internship, I was also able to gain a truly international work experience; there were only eight people in my office, but each person was from a different country!

I Learned: Between take-out, my Mom’s homemade meals, and BU’s dining halls, I don’t have much cooking experience. It was a bit of a reality check to have to prepare all of my own food, but I feel that being thrown right into it really helped me to learn how to plan dishes, grocery shop, and make delicious meals on my own.

When my English class read the works on the topic of World War One, we supplemented the reading with a field trip to the Imperial War Museum. It was so insightful to see history through the eyes of another culture, and I realized that I actually had a passion for learning about the World Wars.

What Surprised Me: What surprised me most about going abroad was how quickly you make friends with the people on your trip! Going into the experience, I did not know anyone who would be in London at the same time as me. Luckily, I met an amazing group of people. We became very close very quickly because we were all learning how to adapt to a different culture at the same time. I am very grateful to be going back to Boston with a new circle of friends that I may have never otherwise crossed paths with!

Hardest Part: I knew going into the experience that London was one of the most expensive cities in the world, but I was still surprised to see just how expensive everything was! The exchange rate was quite shocking. Although it seemed normal to buy a coffee for 3.50, I had to remind myself that I was using the British pound rather than the American dollar, which meant that my coffee was actually costing me closer to $6.00. I realized almost right away that I would need to stick to a budget if I did not want to burn right through all of my savings. Although it was really difficult to resist the temptation of all the amazing London shopping and eating, I know I spent my money on things I really cared about which made me and my wallet much happier!

My Tips: BU’s London campus is so close of the South Kensington museums (the view out my window was of the Natural History Museum), which are some of the best museums in the world. But by the end of the trip, some of my friends still hadn’t been to many of them even though they were literally across the street! Most British museums are free, so my best tip is to pop in whenever you have a free hour. Going to the Victoria & Albert museum for 45 minutes a few mornings before class really broke the museum down and made the entire experience more enjoyable!

Hidden Gems: Anyone who knows me knows that I have a serious coffee addiction. Because the Brits are so obsessed with their tea, I had to do some serious exploring for a great cup of coffee. I researched the best coffee places in each area and worked my way around the city. Some hidden gems included Monmouth Coffee, Brooklyn Coffee, Notes, and Workshop Coffee Co. It was so nice not only to have an excuse to see most of the city, but also to escape from the hectic city and relax with a cup of coffee.

Best Part: The last night of my trip coincided with one of my roommate’s birthday, so my entire friend group decided to have a huge celebration meal at Ottolenghi. The food was some of the best I’ve had in my life, but even more incredible was sitting around with a bunch of people who had been strangers just weeks ago and talking about all of the amazing adventures we had in London.

Reserve Bank of India Reflections: Week 5

As we reflect on five weeks spent in India, a number of emotions are evoked. Many of these emotions we have touched upon in the previous installments, and I fear it would not do to dwell on these. It is, however, coming towards the time when some among us look to the west, and the impending journey back to our respective homelands to be with our kin. Alas, such thoughts should be pushed to the back of one’s mind, a flicker in the darkness, for we have time enough. Time enough to laugh, time enough to love.

group-photo“I can see the Shire. The Brandywine River. Bag End. Gandalf’s fireworks, the lights, the party tree’’. (Tolkien, 1955)

The euphoria of finishing work on Friday was directed, in typical fashion, towards Koregaon park for a night of turpitude. There was however one notable absence, that being your humble narrator, who the gods had seen fit to incapacitate with a fever. Nevertheless, the gallant survivors soldiered on. Uniting with friends both old and new, a great night was had by all, but for one exception. As it turned out, the night proved very much to be a tale of two cities, for a second among us found the euphoria he was searching for ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times’. The following morning started early for those in a fit state to travel. A short number of miles away lay the Symbiosis Institute, a glorious campus set back in the hills, unsullied by the spread of urbanisation. After a number of fascinating conferences and a sumptuous feast, the day was done, and the weary travellers returned home.

The next day, awaken by a burning desire for adventure and a relatively clean bill of health amongst the group, we departed for Lonavala, a hill station nestled between Pune and Mumbai. Having purchased a return train ticket for Rs 30 (or 30 pence to you and me), we seated ourselves in the cramped compartment and trundled down the tracks, the light patter of rain accompanying us for the duration. Upon our arrival, we were met with a daunting 12km to reach the famous Lohgarh Fort, situated precariously on the precipice of a sheer face. En route we passed a number of caves and waterfalls, each presenting an opportunity to breathe in our immense surroundings. After weaving our way up the changing path, we finally reached the bottom of an exposed set of stairs, made treacherous by the deluge that was now falling from the heavens. By the time we reached the higher sections, the stability of the rock beneath us had given way to a torrent of water, threatening at any point to sweep us to swift demise on the jagged rocks below. We pressed on, however, our spirits buoyed by the raucous chanting of our Indian counterparts ‘Jai Bhavani, Jai Shivaji’ they sang, as far as we could understand, paying homage to the once King of Maharashta who had occupied the fort. Upon reaching the summit, we stood victorious. I fear the expression soaked to our skins would not sufficiently describe our condition. For many of us, the suspicion was that we had in fact absorbed water, the monsoon actually permeating into our very souls.

pic2Needless to say, the prospect of the return journey to the station did not fill us with any particular relish, and as such we found a willing driver, who (this being India) allowed us to ride standing up in the back of his pick-up truck down the undulating mountain roads. This proved a source of much hilarity for those who were still making the climb, many finding themselves unable to contain their glee. The chanting continued for the entirety of our journey ‘Jai Bhavani, Jai Shivaji, Jai Bhavani, Jai Shivaji’ following us down the mountainside.

That evening, having returned home, we found ourselves deserving of a hearty meal and decided to venture to the Hard Rock Cafe. Hoping against hope that this would be the night that we would find the dark meat that our stomachs so craved. Our prayers were answered, and each bite of the tender, juicy, succulent burger was all we could have dreamed of. The work week continued as it is inclined to do so, broken up only by a trip to Mumbai to see various offices of the Reserve Bank. We were able to ‘interact’ with several important members of the banking world and learned a lot about the stability of the economy and the process of the destruction of money.

Epilogue: On our inability to encapsulate our surroundings and the ferocity of the monsoon.

For we are but simple men with simple words, and for such things we must look to those who possess the necessary verbal proficiency, lest we pass up the chance to embody our experience through the written word. On this occasion, it is through paraphrasing Coleridge that one might best project our intentions, ‘Where oft the sacred river ran, through caverns measureless to man’. For here the artistry of the words flows as do the rains down the luscious green valleys. And one need look no further for an estimation of scale, for ‘measureless’ embodies all that is India. The majesty of the landscape that greeted us at the summit was matched only by its vastness.

For ‘measureless’ was the queue of well wishers, waiting for an introduction. As were the miles covered by foot and by wheel. ‘Measureless’ was the deluge that did cover our brow, that weighted our garments, and did steel our determination. Is not the power of the monsoon measureless? Does is not giveth and taketh away? A force beyond measure, its fingers reaching across the horizon; arteries breathing life into a barren land.

But in our reverence, prey that we forget not its apathy to the plight of man, for one can hope alone to avoid its wrath. Its appetite for destruction stretches indefinitely, its roots of malice stretch deep. But measureless are the bonds that join us. Sacred and immortalised ‘we few, we happy few, we band of brothers’. (Shakespeare, 1599)

 

 GEO RBI interns

Illicit Cheeseburgers, Monsoon Rains and Self Help Groups: Week 4 at RBI

Thirty-four. That is the number of malaria tablets Chris has left, and also how he has been counting down the number of days we have left in Pune.  Since we are only here for 15 more days, Chris has devised a complex formula for calculating how many days remaining, where he takes how many malaria tablets he has and subtracts 19 (he has 19 extra tablets plus another 9 tablets at home as he has to take the malaria tablets for 4 weeks upon arriving home which is 28 days). That should give the days that we have left.

The relentless deluge over Pune this week heralded not only the coming of the long-awaited monsoon rains but also marked for us the passing of our internship’s halfway point. Though the frequent downpours threaten the Americans’ continued education in cricket, we refused to let the grey skies dampen our spirits. As such, Saturday evening saw us head for the delicious food promised by a bastion of traditional Indian cuisine, the German Bakery. Almost unanimous approval resulted, although one of us was devastated to order the Arrabbiata only to be presented with what was, indisputably, Bolognese. However a return seems inevitable, due to the whispered promise of some illicit bacon cheeseburgers, a luxury we have only dreamt of these past three weeks. After consuming outrageous amounts of Banoffee pie, German Sachertorte and Baked Cheesecake for dessert, we journeyed across Pune towards the High Spirits Café, where at least one of us found greater leeway in his Indian relations. A relaxing Sunday closed the weekend, though Liam and Ollie still succeeded in soldiering to next door’s Frozen Monkey for an afternoon gin and tonic.

The highlight of our week was a field trip taken on Tuesday to visit Chaitanya, an NGO dedicated to building the capacity of the rural poor, particularly women and children, by promoting self-reliant and sustainable institutions to enable them to lead the process of development for a better life. This mission is achieved through the promotion of self-help groups (SHGs) which allow for group saving and borrowing in small villages. (Yes I did say self-help group, and yes I did abbreviate it.) Chaitanya facilitates these SHGs and their formation into local Clusters and larger Federations of 200-400 SHGs. Since being founded by Dr Sudha Kothari in 1989, Chaitanya has grown to have a reach of over 116,000 women across the state of Maharashtra! As well as providing these women with opportunities for saving and borrowing, they also provide training in a range of areas including legal, healthcare, financial literacy and improving livelihood. The women who go on these free training courses then return and share their knowledge with other villagers, contributing to the village’s capacity to sustain itself without outside assistance. We were taken to visit one such village where we were invited to the self-help group’s monthly meeting. Through Ashwini, our translator from the RBI (our Marathi is unfortunately lacking) the group was revealed to be a well-organised and professional institution, and our conversations with the villagers showed us the confidence and independence they had found through the SHG and the friendships that had formed in the process.

Chaitanya’s work in that one village, replicated in thousands more throughout Maharashtra, has improved the lives of countless women and their families. The good that has come from one woman’s belief in developing the capacity of others was inspirational for us all and is reminiscent of the words of Nelson Mandela:

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead”.

James Wright, GEO RBI intern

Jewel of the East: Week 3 at RBI

As we near the halfway point in our internship, we have started to become accustomed to the daily routine at the RBI. Friday evening rolled around, the working week was over, and it was time to celebrate the two birthdays in the group. The Wari pilgrimage was making its way through Pune, reducing the city to a standstill; we found ourselves bound to the local vicinity. Forced to travel on our weary legs, we managed to stumble to our oasis: the Frozen Monkey. Sweet relief flowed through our bodies as we supped from the golden nectar filled chalice that is the frozen monkey beer tower.  As the GEO team will be able to testify, a night of revelry was had…

James departed in the early hours of Saturday morning to meet his parents, who had ventured across the plains on holiday. In losing James, we had also lost our silent guardian, our watchful protector. Without the group’s self-appointed tour guide, we were distinctly lacking in cultural knowledge and thus, found ourselves jumping into rickshaws and heading to the local sports shop. After a successful shopping spree, we returned kitted out in our ‘replica’ Indian cricket shirts and armed with bat and ball, we were ready to educate our American counterparts on the beautiful game of cricket.

After a long and lazy Sunday morning we set about exploring what the market streets of Pune had to offer. Pungent aromas tickled our nostrils, the hustle and bustle commerce spilled onto the streets. We wove our way through crowds, industry and enterprise greeting us at every turn. Marvelling at the rapid progression of the genetic modification of animals in India, two herds of cattle waltzed lazily past us, a fifth limb emanating from the nape of their necks. We ventured into a ‘tailors’ with the intention of leaving with a made to measure suit. The reality found us, marred by the language barrier, with no such luck.

As the start of the working week raised its head, we awoke from our restful slumber and were once again greeted by the resident yoga master press ganging unwilling volunteers into bodily contortion. Work progressed at a rapid rate, with minimal distraction and a level of intensity in the office unmatched by even the most motivated of workforces. The only relief we allowed ourselves came on Brent’s birthday when we descended upon BBQ Nation for a feast of heavenly meats: fragrantly spiced prawns, succulent chicken, melt-in-the-mouth cod. It is safe to say that we left thoroughly satisfied.

We now leave you to dwell on the sombre words of one of our own, a reference to our dwindling time here in paradisiacal Pune:

“Weep not for what you have lost but for what you are yet to lose” (Desimone, 2015).

Indian Immersion: Week Two at RBI

Given the previous week’s laid back approach to work, the RBI interns wondered if the whip would be cracked on our exceptionally flexible backs (thanks to the continued 7am yoga). However, it has become apparent that this internship is really about exploring India and the culture rather than spending hours working in the office. At the time of writing (Thursday midday) we have only spent one day in the office this week. (This travesty occurred on Monday.) Since then, we have been exploring Pune with great enthusiasm.

Saturday 4th: Although we woke up with sore heads, our desire to make the most of our weekend quickly put self-inflicted illness aside. We made our way to the Shaniwar Wada: a palace fort which is a central feature of Pune. However, on the suggestion of James Wright and his encyclopaedic knowledge of Pune, we made a quick detour to the Pataleshwar Caves first. In the 8th century, a temple was carved out of the solid rock of the caves. Well worth a visit although our cultural naivety was highlighted when we walked anti-clockwise instead of clockwise around the temple. When we arrived at the fort, we were greeted by an intimidating set of gates – the walls are the only remaining structure of the palace; however, it’s actually a very peaceful way to spend the afternoon.

Sunday 5th: This was a down day with not much to comment on except for the arrival of delegates from SAARC countries from other parts of Asia. The previously uninhabited hostel (which is much more like a hotel) was suddenly filled with government advisors and CEO’s from Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Monday 6th: Back to the daily grind.

Tuesday 7th: We went to visit the Aga Khan Palace, a site of historical significance as Gandhi was imprisoned there for 2 years (1942-44) during India’s struggle for independence. This was a majestic building, contrasting with the conditions in which many people in the surrounding area live. It was Jake’s 26th birthday; however as it was a school night celebrations were put on hold until Friday.

Wednesday 8th: We woke early in order to make a field visit to a women’s self help group (early enough to earn a respite from yoga). Face daubed with red paint and anointed with rice we received a traditional greeting and a very informative talk. This field trip truly put into perspective the difference people coming together can make.

Thursday 9th: To honour the SAARC delegates, there was what only can be described as a feast. Waited on hand and foot, we witnessed a cacophony of different harmonies.  Although not a word of the lyrics was understood, the sentiment was much appreciated. To wrap the evening up we were treated to traditional Nepalese wind dancing.

Friday 10th: This is James Wright’s birthday, and we will also celebrated Jake’s birthday earlier in the week. Consequently, Friday evening will be enjoyable (provided Pune isn’t at a standstill because of the pilgrimage which is passing through).

Reserve Bank of India: The Start of the Special Relationship

RBI-group-shot-meal2

As we nervously descended on the canteen for our first meal, it suddenly became apparent that this was to be our first meeting with the American half of our entourage. From our very first encounter, it was clear that the special relationship had begun. With a symbiosis on a level that we have never before experienced, our eight hearts beating as one.

This spiritualism was demonstrated when we found ourselves unexpectedly taking part in the Hindu culture, with an early morning knock at our door by the campus’s Zen master. Morning yoga has brought peace and tranquillity into our daily routine and our instructor has showed us that frequent meditation relives stress and will reduce the risk and likelihood of cardiac arrest. Sessions run an hour long, Monday-Saturday, and are filled with unique routines to jumpstart our days. Although we are just beginners and learning the correct poses and proper breathing techniques, we believe that six-weeks of dedication will mold us into life-long yogis.

RBI-group-shot-park5With confidence brimming one evening after a couple of days of acclimatization, we ventured out for our first journey into downtown Pune. With rickshaws our chariots, we raced through the streets. A cacophony of horns accompanied us en-route to our destination Koregaon Park, a cosmopolitan district which provided a multitude of bars at which we sought to quench our near insatiable thirst.

Our time outside of the long slog of the work hours are spent doing a variety of activities. Long, mild evenings are spent playing cards on the roof terrace in the company of a hoard of resident Indian short-nosed fruit bats. Outside of our Yoga workouts, we also play football (occasionally joined, and ultimately shown up by members of the various training programmes run on campus). Recently table tennis tournaments have become incrementally more competitive in a similar vein to Wimbledon, which some of our party follow religiously.

RBI-office3The work aspect of the internship started slowly. After being shown to our office for the next 6 weeks, we took our places to begin preliminary research for our projects. Our education is however not solely limited to bank function. The members of faculty have all been determined to ensure that at every turn we are well looked after, but also gain an understanding of the history and politics of India. A communal screening of Richard Attenborough’s critically acclaimed ‘Ghandi’ gave a harrowing account of India’s fight for independence, as well as providing a sense of perspective, allowing us to see how the country has grown and developed. For many of us, this has evoked a period of reflection which is perhaps best encapsulated in the words of Robert Holden:

‘Each of us is called to do something in the name of love, to make sure that humanity comes to understand itself and is able to choose love over fear’.

MJ Vasquez, London Internship

IMG_6731Interned at Union Investment Management in Spring 2014.

Internship: I worked for a small investment management firm called Union Investment Management located right in the center of London. At my internship, my main project I worked on was the creation of the firm-wide compliance manual offered to first time employees. In addition, I worked on creating summaries for client portfolios. The raw data was provided to me and the other interns, and it was our job to create an easy to read one page summary of what the data was showing. I greatly enjoyed my experience at the firm, not only because of the work we were assigned, but because I was really able to experience what working for an international company was like.

I Learned: Studying abroad taught me that there are so many beautiful places in the world that are just waiting for young students, like myself, to go explore and that aren’t necessarily the tourist “hot spots.” I have always loved traveling within the US, but having the opportunity to be out of my comfort zone and visit cities I had never even heard of before, truly brought a different meaning to the word ” exploring.” Because traveling around Europe is very accessible from London, picking my travel destination was always a challenge!

In addition, studying abroad also taught me the value of creating international friendships. For one of my weekend trips I decided to fly out to Skopje, Macedonia and then take a 4 hour bus ride to Ohrid. On the way back from Ohrid to Skopje, I sat next to a young girl, who helped me figure out the ticketing procedure on the bus after she saw my confused face when the bus driver spoke nothing but Macedonian to me. For the whole bus ride, she and I spoke about the differences in culture between Ohrid and the rest of the world, along with our travel experiences and school life. She and I still keep in touch via Facebook, and I am extremely glad she was able to help me with my challenge that day! I was able to develop plenty of other friendships from similar situations throughout my whole study abroad experience.

I Was Surprised By: What surprised me most about my time abroad was the amount of free time I had. Without having to attend club meetings, office hours, or work, I suddenly found myself with a lot of free time on my hands. After a while, I made sure I took advantage of all my free time. I started exploring all the different places that London had to offer!

The Hardest Part: The hardest part of my experience was finding time to keep in touch with friends and family from home. With the time change and with the different activities I was doing, it was difficult to find a time to update my family on everything I was doing. After a while I was able to balance my activities with my down time, and I ultimately always found a couple of minutes each day to catch up with my parents.

The Best Part: The best part of my experience was meeting wonderful English friends with whom I still keep in touch. During my time abroad I was able to develop a friendship with them that I know will last a lifetime. We did a variety of events such as cooking a “Sunday Roast” together, as well as having picnics at Hyde Park filled with typical English biscuits and snacks. My favorite activities included just hanging out at our flat with them and learning about the differences between American and British culture.

My Tips: 

  •  Don’t stay inside! Enjoy every single day by doing something outside your flat. You’ll thank yourself when the time comes for you to go home.
  • If your internship is close enough to campus, walk. It will save you a lot of money, and you’ll get to explore parts of London you normally wouldn’t have a chance to explore.
  • Enjoy all the food London has to offer. There are plenty of places to eat delicious food – you just have to find them.

Reserve Bank of India – Fourth Week

DCIM100GOPROWeek four had a slower feel due to the lack of a mid-week adventure for the whole team, but it was just as exciting as the others. While the beginning of the week was rather uneventful, we were lucky enough to have our first hands-on experience with the Indian wildlife on Wednesday without even leaving our office. It caught us by surprise – we originally mistook the squeaking in the wall as a sign that our air conditioning system was failing us, until we saw a head pop out. It was horrifying and humorous, and nobody was sure how to handle it. What we thought was a rat soon spread its wings, and as it left the comforts of the wall, we left the comforts of our office, confused and amused. It was a bat, and nobody knew what to do until a brave local managed to corner it, capture it, and release it back into the outside world. Everything was well again until another bat flew out of the wall while a maintenance team was trying to fix a leak in the room.

DCIM100GOPROOther than Chris and Courtney conducting surveys and field work on Thursday, the team’s first outing of the week occurred on Saturday with a visit to Symbiosis International University’s School of Banking and Finance on the outskirts of Pune. Symbiosis was unique compared with the other universities in the area because of its very diverse student body with people from all around the world. During our visit, we observed many presentations from faculty members about their research on financial inclusion while many of the graduate students presented their field work on the issues of microfinance and financial inclusion. During the Q&A session, Vicki raised a question about whether or not India could adapt a similar system to Kenya’s mobile banking system. To our surprise, a Kenyan graduate student at Symbiosis was in the audience. He got up and spoke about Kenya’s system, mentioning how their decision to adopt mobile banking technology wasn’t based on extensive research and collected data; instead, people asked the mobile companies for the technology, and they made it work. In his opinion, India has the capability to do this as well, and he said that people just needed to act on it and make it happen. In other words, his philosophy was best summarized with Nike’s company
motto: Just Do It. Everyone in the room was very impressed with the way he spoke, and we were glad to hear his perspective on an issue relevant to financial inclusion in India. After the presentations, we were asked to come to the podium and speak about our own experiences in India and at RBI. We were asked about the differences and similarities between our homes, education, and life experiences, though as a member of the audience stated at the end, “we’re all human.” After all of this, we were treated DCIM100GOPROto a fantastic lunch at the Symbiosis guest house on top of a mountain
with fantastic views of the surrounding landscape.
At this point in the trip, we are beginning to realize just how little time we have left. We hope to make the most of it by continuing to immerse ourselves into the Indian culture, and it’s safe to say that we’re all very excited for Thursday’s visit to meet RBI’s Deputy Governor and see the DCIM100GOPROcentral offices in Mumbai.

Roshni Patel, Sydney Internship—Hospitality Track

Australian BeachInterned in revenue management at Hilton, Sydney, Spring 2014

I studied in Sydney, Australia on the Hospitality Track as I am pursuing a dual degree with both SHA and SMG.

Internship: I was the Revenue Management Intern at the Hilton Sydney and concentrated in their Food and Beverage operations. One of the main projects I had was to develop a SWOT analysis for their five food and beverage outlets. I also worked closely with the Assistant Director of Revenue Management to help develop Excel templates that would help forecast F&B revenue and covers more accurately as well as identify need periods for potential marketing opportunities.

I Learned: I’ve always placed a high priority on academics, but studying abroad showed me how to balance both life and academics, having fun while working hard. I found that learning another culture is just as important as learning in the classroom. I’ve realized that my perspective on life has changed, and I now remind myself not to stress over the little things and am better at enjoying life in the moment.

Also, studying abroad opened my eyes to a new world of different perspectives. Living in the USA, we often get caught up in our own lives and view work, life, and many other things with a perspective similar to that of our peers’. We forget that there are billions of other people living their lives just a little bit differently than we do, people who have different priorities in their lives than what we’re used to. Although it seems like common sense, the realization is hard to come by unless you experience a new culture first hand. The realization that there is so much more to life than just going to college or work is very important nowadays, particularly in a world as global as the one we live in today. There is so much to learn on this planet: its people and their cultures.

Australia Groupat HarborWhat Surprised Me: How much culture Australia has. It may not be as diverse as the States or be considered a melting pot, but the lifestyle is still very distinct. I was surprised at how difficult it can be to understand Aussies even though they are speaking English. They also have many slang words, and it can feel overwhelming trying to keep up at first.  For example, their language is different. They have slang words for everything from afternoon (arvo) to breakfast (brekkie) to McDonalds (Macca’s).

Hardest Part: I think the hardest part to deal with was how expensive Sydney was. It’s so easy to fly through your budget because you want to do everything and try new things, and everything starts to add up very quickly. It definitely helped keeping a budget and keeping track of all my expenses.

Best Part: Queenstown, New Zealand. I also went sky diving and bungee jumping (Nevis Bungy) here and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.

Another amazing part was the scenery of Sydney; there are lots of coastal walks and beaches to go to, so make sure you take advantage of them, especially in the during the summer months (towards the end during fall semester and the first few months during spring semester).

My Tips: 

  • Keep a budget! It will help you space out your spending appropriately.
  • Shop at Coles for money-saving grocery trips.
  • Take out is a few dollars cheaper than actually eating at the restaurant.
  • Take advantage of the weather in the first few months and with your long weekends. It gets much harder to do things in April, especially with the weather and working full time and taking a class.
  • Use backpacker’s world or other backpacker travel agencies for your trips! They give pretty decent deals, especially when going with a group of friends.