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Jessica Chen – Sydney Summer Internship

ICONIC_InternsInterned in marketing at THE ICONIC in Sydney in summer 2015.

Internship: I interned in the Buying Department of THE ICONIC, Australia’s leading online fashion retailer. My responsibilities included managing order information between internal inventory systems and Excel, analyzing sales data, and writing sales reports. I also sat in on my manager’s showings, where representatives from different brands would introduce next season’s line. For someone pursuing a career in fashion, this experience opened my eyes to the processes that take place behind the scenes of a retail company. On slower days, I would head to the Productions Department and help out with photo shoots. I loved my workplace because everyone was welcoming, and I was given the opportunity to observe other departments.

I Learned: I learned about the prevailing influence that the United States has abroad. American media is everywhere from magazines to movie screens. Every song you hear a bar or club is played in the States as well, so you will have no problem singing along. Australians have an impressive grasp of our pop culture and politics since everything that happens in America has a ripple effect on other countries. Ironically, working at a foreign company gave me a better understanding of the American workplace and why we are such a dominant economic power. While the Australian workplace has an easygoing “work to live” mentality, the American workplace has a much stricter “live to work” lifestyle that is more efficient but at the expense of employee happiness. Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses.

Studying abroad also challenged me to be a functioning adult in a short amount of time. Between class, work, exploring the city, and travelling across the country, I had to find time for basic tasks like laundry, grocery shopping, and cooking (if you want to try it, kangaroo steak is best prepared medium rare). While balancing all of this may seem overwhelming, it becomes second nature before you know it.

What Surprised Me: Australia has a vastly different culture from America, but after a few weeks of living there it almost felt like home. Experiences may vary, but I found it surprisingly easy to adjust to the Australian lifestyle.

Hardest Part: The hardest part was going home after two months. Packing all the cool things you’ve accumulated after two months. The lack of authentic American food (namely pizza and brand name cereal).

Best Part: The best parts were the people you meet and the places you go. Watching Australians’ eyes light up when you tell them you’re American never gets old.

My Tips: Save money and leave the apartment as much as possible. Every neighborhood in Sydney has a different atmosphere that’s worth discovering at least once. Also, don’t be afraid to explore by yourself! Australians will be impressed by the independence. As long as you practice good judgment, it’s an exhilarating learning experience to wander around a new country on your own—it’s the best way to break out of the American bubble.

Hidden Gems:

Sydney – Manly Beach and the Bondi to Coogee walk for quintessential Australian beaches; Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for the most stunning view of the Sydney Harbor; Mary’s for a good burger Newtown; Paramount Coffee Project for Instagram-worthy brunch; Emperor’s Garden for famous Chinatown cream puffs; World Bar for boozy teapots; Standard Bowl for drinks, dancing, and bowling; Pancakes on the Rocks for 24-hour breakfast food; Paddy’s Market for cheap groceries; the Glebe and Rocks Markets for all of your outdoor shopping needs.

Melbourne –
The graffiti in hidden alleyways (check out Hosier Lane); Brighton Beach bathing boxes; St. Kilda pier for wild penguins!

Rachel Harrison, Dublin Summer Internship

The Burren, the coast of Ireland

The Burren, the coast of Ireland

Interned in the marketing department of Gourmet Food Parlour, a small restaurant chain, after freshman year, summer 2015.

Internship: For my internship in Ireland I worked in the marketing department of a company called Gourmet Food Parlour. Gourmet Food Parlour (GFP) is a small restaurant chain in the Dublin area that focuses on fresh, local and sustainable food with a great price point. Working in their head office in the marketing department, I got assigned a variety of tasks, small and large. A daily task I completed was sending out the daily specials menus to all 4 restaurants. With this task, I had to pay attention to detail for spelling and word choice along with marketing these dishes to the best of my ability. A larger task I completed was creating a database of all the local businesses in a certain area that we could target for catering orders. This was a tedious job but could potentially get GFP many more catering clients. There were also fun, creative tasks like designing new bakery tags and posters. No two days were the same in the GFP office.

I Learned: Working at GFP and being able to compare it to my parents local business in Virginia gave me great insight into just how similar small companies are around the world. Every entrepreneur has the same dreams and aspirations for their new company and will work hard until they’re achieved. GFP was just as focused on locally sourced produce and healthy food as my parents’ company is in the US. These similarities might seem obvious, but I was surprised at how much small companies are similar across the world. Living in another country and initially not knowing anyone really makes you depend on yourself and be self-sufficient. I think studying abroad made me grow up even more than moving to Boston did. There was no meal plan, so cooking for yourself, grocery shopping—all those simple tasks that you now have to do in a different country—make you more independent. Also, taking the initiative to research cool destinations and booking flights makes you realize that there are so many opportunities out there to take advantage of.

What Surprised Me: Traveling to Ireland, an English speaking country, I didn’t think there would be much of a culture shock and for the first week that was true. However, as you live in a different country, all the minor things they do differently (driving on the opposite side of the road, the faucet turning in opposite ways, different words for things) really start to surprise you. I was surprised about how much I kept discovering was different and new, but this also made the trip that much more of a great experience

Hardest Part: The hardest part of my experience was the internship. Having just completed freshman year I had never had an internship before, so I didn’t know what to expect much less at an Irish Internship. The commuting was a struggle at times. I worked in Swords which is a little bit away from the DCU dorms, and my commute sometimes took an hour and 15 minutes including all the walking. Prepare for a potentially long commute to work on the public transportation. Also, the Irish workplace runs a little differently, than the American, so prepare for a different work culture (not a bad culture, just different).

Best Part: The people and the relationships I formed were the best part of the trip for me. The best friends I made on this trip were from Villanova, UNC and Williams, so having the opportunity to meet people from different colleges was great. Also the locals that I met at work were so open and friendly and wanted to make sure I was enjoying myself. Ireland is a country full of immigrants, so not only did I meet Irish people but also a lot of the individuals I worked with were from all over the world (Hungary, Spain, Slovakia). Talking to them about their cultures was a great experience.

My Tips: First of all, don’t make the same mistake I made. Get a credit card/debit card that does not charge you $32947392487 in international transaction fees. Remember, it’s Ireland, and the sun might not shine. Pack some sweaters even in the summer. Take advantage of every opportunity. If there’s a group of students traveling someplace, go with them and enjoy your time!

Hidden Gems: 

While you’re in Ireland take some weekend trips to other European destinations (Copenhagen was amazing). Try local coffee shops and local pubs (finally a 19 year old can drink legally!). Dawson St has great restaurants, Harcourt St has fun night life and the Temple Bar area has good local pubs.

Katya Gonzalez-Willette, Washington, D.C. Summer Internship

Katya outside the White House

Katya outside the White House

Interned in Television Production at the Voice of America and in Marketing at El Mundo al Día, Summer 2015.

I studied abroad during summer ’15 in Washington, D.C. as a part of the Summer Internship Program. During this summer, I interned for both Voice of America and The Dining Traveler. Voice of America (VoA) is a government-funded international news broadcast service that provides objective news to countries throughout the world that may not have access to unbiased news. Throughout my time at VoA, I worked as a production intern with the Spanish service for all of Latin America. I assisted in the production of the live daily news TV show called El Mundo al Día where I created and edited video that was used for each show. I also worked with the food and travel blog, The Dining Traveler, where I managed social media outlets such as Twitter, FaceBook and Instagram and brainstormed with the blog manager on content for her posts.

One major thing that I learned from my summer in D.C. was how to adapt to a new environment. I had never lived in an apartment-style setting on my own before, so I had to learn how to fend for myself, i.e. cook and clean for myself. I also had to adapt to a new social setting by making new friends and putting myself out there—not to mention adjust to a different professional work environment from what I was used to working in before this summer. Another lesson I learned from living and working in D.C. was the importance of time management. Between two internships, taking classes and trying to explore the city as much as possible, it was a very busy summer! The hardest part of the experience was trying to juggle two jobs, classes and my social life. Although it was so exciting to have so many different things going on at one time and to always be busy, I was not used to having so many things on my plate at a time. Once I started to get overwhelmed, I realized that planning things out in advance and starting to work on assignments ahead of time made it a lot easier to balance my time between work and fun.

The one thing that surprised me the most about my time in D.C. was how much fun I would have in the city. I had been to the city once before when I was younger, and I enjoyed it but did not expect it to be as vibrant as it was when I came back this summer. Not only did I enjoy the nightlife and the social aspect of the city, but also I liked the atmosphere at my job, which was exciting and fast-paced, and the rest of D.C. As you walk down the streets, you can feel the energy of those around you, and everyone walks with a purpose, which was not what I expected when I first got there but ended up being one of my favorite parts of the experience.

The best part of my experience was the combination of having two great internships that I really enjoyed and also having so much fun in the city with the friends I made both in and out of the program. I learned so many new things from both of my internships that I used throughout the summer and will continue to use for the rest of life. I built strong connections with my coworkers and other people I met in D.C. that are irreplaceable and had so much fun with these people. Not to mention, the housing within the city was beautiful and the location was great for exploring the city and going out to have some fun during the free time we did get.

My tips for students who are considering the program would be to prepare for a very busy but exciting summer in a uniquely vibrant city. I would also advise that people wait to accept an internship that they think they would actually enjoy. I was lucky enough to accept internships that I really enjoyed but that was not the case for everyone who did the program. Some people accepted the first offer they received because they were worried that they would not be placed anywhere; although that is a legitimate concern, it is more important to accept an offer that fits your potential career paths or interests you have to make sure you can take something valuable away from this experience professionally.

The one somewhat hidden gem that I would say is a must-see are the national monuments at nighttime. It is beautiful to see the monuments during the day and to learn all of the fascinating history of the city, but it is even more spectacular at night! The monuments look even better when they are lit, and the sites are a lot emptier depending on how late you go. Of course, be careful and make sure you go as a group (which makes it even more fun to go with all of your friends and listen to music while taking in the beautiful scenery).

Yi Zeng, Dublin Summer Internship

IYi_at_GuinnessFactorynterned in marketing at KamaGames, a global game developer and publisher for mobile and social platforms like Xbox, Steam, PlayStation Network, and more in Summer 2015.

Internship: I worked at KamaGames, a global game developer and publisher for mobile and social platforms like Xbox, Steam, PlayStation Network, and more. As the Social Media Intern of the company, I was in charge of monitoring and updating the company’s social media pages (Twitter and Facebook), researching and analyzing competitors’ marketing strategies, and implementing initiatives to increase company exposure and audience engagement. Last year, KamaGames became the Official Social Casino Games Partner of Manchester United Football Club. Because of this, I worked closely with the Club trying to further expand its fan base in the Asian and European markets. One major project that I worked on was a social media contest where the winner would receive a signed Wayne Rooney soccer jersey.

I Learned: Studying abroad allowed me to discover an adventurous and spontaneous side of myself. I was always independent but never the risk-taking type, but my adventure abroad really opened my eyes to a whole new world. I realized how much I like to travel and try new things. From new food and music to new friends and connections, it was truly an unforgettable experience.

I also grew more mature and confident after studying abroad. I realized that life is short and that it is important to live in the moment. I found myself constantly looking for new adventures and wanting to communicate with the locals. Between schoolwork, internship, and traveling, I have learned how to be a more responsible adult.

What Surprised Me: I was surprised by how laid back and down to earth the Irish people were. Living in the U.S. for the majority of my life, I became so accustomed to our busy and fast-paced lifestyle; however, being in Ireland, a country where people embrace a slower lifestyle, allowed me to take a step back, learn about myself and appreciate my surroundings.

Hardest Part: The hardest part of my study abroad experience was leaving Ireland. I honestly had so much fun that I did not want to leave at all. I wish my program were longer because I felt like I needed more time to fully absorb the Irish culture.

Best Part: It is hard to choose the best part of my experience abroad because I loved everything about Ireland. If I had to choose one, I loved how Ireland has the perfect combination of traditional and modern. On one hand, the country has thousands of years of rich history; on the other, it is also one of the most vibrant cities in Europe, comprising of an abundance of young and ambitious people.

My Tips: My best advice is to be open-minded about everything. Always be willing to try new things and take risks because great things don’t come from comfort zones. Don’t knock anything down without trying it first. Also, Ireland is quite an expensive country so make sure you save up!

Hidden Gems: I would recommend that you definitely go to popular tourist attractions such as Howth, Cliffs of Moher, Giant’s Causeway, and Northern Ireland. I would also highly recommend you try out the less well-known restaurants, clubs, and pubs (The Back Page McGowans, Workmens, etc.)

Jillian Lau, Shanghai Internship

Jillian 4Hello! My name is Jillian Lau and I studied abroad in Shanghai, China spring 2015, the second semester of my junior year.

Internship: I did the Shanghai Internship Program while abroad and interned at a local social media marketing agency called Mailman Group. The agency is owned by an Australian man, and the office is made up of half locals and half foreigners. The office is quite small as there were about 50 employees. Because I was working at a small agency, I had a lot of responsibilities. Some tasks included writing original articles for the company’s two blogs, managing its Twitter accounts, and creating weekly internal newsletters for one of the company’s teams.

I learned: Shanghai is what you make of it. I thought that just being in China I would get that authentic China experience. That was not the case. It’s really easy to get by speaking all English or only frequenting Westernized restaurants and malls. The China experience doesn’t just come to you just because you’re living there, but it’s something you work for if you want it. If you want that authentic China experience, I would encourage you to try to speak Chinese as much as you can, interact with locals, and visit cities and villages off the beaten path.

I was surprised by: How close I became with my Chinese teacher. Everyone who studies abroad in Shanghai is required to take a Chinese language course. The class is every day for 1.5 hours four days out of the week. The classes tend to be small as Shanghai is one of the smaller programs and everyone is usually at a different Chinese level. Even though my Chinese teacher was my teacher, we became friends really quickly. We would go to the gym together, go out to eat, and even explore the city together. Meeting my Chinese teacher was one of the highlights of my study abroad experience, and I’m sure many of the other students who have studied abroad in Shanghai would agree.

The hardest part: Commuting to the office. Shanghai is a huge city. When you’re abroad in Shanghai, you study at Fudan University (the third best university in China or the best university in Shanghai). Most students have their internships in the city center; however, Fudan is about a 45 minute to an hour subway ride into the city center. Not only is the commute long, during rush hour the subways are packed full of people. Also, just to get to and from the subway from the dorms, you have to walk 20 minutes, bike it, or take a bus or cab. The commute alone could leave you exhausted for the day.

The best part: The food and the traveling. Food in China is very cheap and very good. At night, there are street vendors that come out and park outside the dorms. Some of my favorite things to eat while I was there were ròu jīa mó (肉夹馍), a bun stuffed with braised pork belly, má là tàng (麻辣烫), your choice of meat, vegetables, and noodles cooked to order in a spicy broth, and xiǎo lóng bāo (小笼包), steamed soup dumplings. You just have to be careful of what you eat because food is not always the cleanest. Also, China is a great place to travel. There are so many interesting cities within China that are easily accessible by bullet train or plane, or you could also visit neighboring Asian countries.

My tips: Be prepared – not only mentally but physically. It’s always good to mentally prepare yourself any time you’re going to a foreign country with a different culture just so you’re not overwhelmed when you get there. However, there are also precautions that you should take before leaving. These include medicine, toiletries, banking, and clothes. In China, it’s hard to find certain Western comforts that we’re used to so it’s better to be prepared and bring your preferred medicine (such as cold and flu, pain relievers, stomach, etc.) and toiletries (I’m talking to the ladies when I say this). Also, there are many banks and ATMs in Shanghai, but before you leave it’s best to check out what kinds of international services or charges your bank has. I was able to find a Chinese bank that partnered with my local bank, so I didn’t have to pay ATM fees while I was abroad. I also signed up for an international credit card which was great for buying train and plane tickets. Lastly, pack wisely. Shanghai can be pretty cold in the winter then get hot and humid really fast.

Hidden Gems: Definitely check out the South Bund Fabric Market if you want to get some clothes made. Bargain hard!

Erin S., Dublin Management Internship

ErinatInishmoreInterned in marketing at Marketing Network, Spring 2015.

Internship: I interned at the Marketing Network, an advertising, digital marketing, and PR agency. I loved my internship, especially the people I worked with. I was able to help with a variety of projects across the agency’s different businesses. I did research for current clients and new client pitches. I was also able to attend client meetings. One of the bigger projects I worked on was organizing the consumer press ads for the launch of Eircode (Ireland’s first postal code system).

I Learned: I learned to be more spontaneous while I was abroad. I booked my trip to Edinburgh about a week before I went. While planning is still crucial, I learned that embracing spontaneity is just as important and can lead to the best adventures.

I also learned to be more independent while I was abroad. I was away from my friends and my BU comfort zone, so I had to adjust to that. There were so many things that I wanted to do while I was studying abroad, so I learned to do things on my own and be more comfortable stepping out my comfort zone to get the most out of my experience.

What Surprised Me: As cliché as it sounds, I was surprised most by how fast my time abroad went. I was able to travel lots around Ireland and Europe, so time flew by. The program is longer than most at BU, but the time still passed quickly.

Hardest Part: The hardest part of the program was after UCD finals ended when my study abroad friends from other schools left and I still had to finish my internship. It was hard to say goodbye and watch everyone else leave before me.

Best Part: It’s hard to choose the best part of my experience because I enjoyed all of it. I loved meeting new people, from Irish students to other students studying abroad from different countries. One of my closest friends that I made there was from Australia.

My favorite trip was when I went to Galway with the international student group the Erasmus Student Network. When I was there we went to Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. We biked across the island to a cliff side. It was rural and beautiful. It was an amazing experience.

My Tips: One tip is to attend orientation events at UCD. I met some of my best friends from the program at the study abroad events. It was a great way to meet new people, and there was always free food.

Another tip is to join the two societies that cater to international students. They organize affordable trips around Ireland and provide a good community. In addition, I’d recommend joining at least one other society or club to get to know more Irish students. I joined the ski club and had a great experience with it.

Hidden Gems: In Dublin, one of my favorite places was Fallon & Byrne. It’s a specialty food store with a café in it and a wine bar in the basement. It’s in the city center and has great coffee, so I always loved to stop by when I went downtown.

In Ireland as whole, I would highly recommend making a trip to Kerry. It was the most beautiful county in my experience. There are a lot of great parks and beautiful scenery. I think it’s worthwhile, even just for a day trip.

Supriya, Sydney Internship

Interned in Marketing at Staples Australia, Spring 2015

Internship: I was a marketing intern at Staples Australia and did all kinds of projects. My favorite one was the time I organized an office wide event called “Friday Night Drinks” in which about 300 employees came to our cafeteria, paid $2 to get in, bought raffle tickets to win a laptop, and all proceeds went to an amazing charity that helped indigenous children get through high school/college. I organized all food and drinks, sold over $3000 worth of raffle tickets, marketed the event through both internal and external means, and more.

I Learned: The first thing I learned would be to make the most of your days. If you’re in a country where you may not ever be in again, take advantage of that: explore the museum you’ve been passing by, venture out to that beach that might be kind of far, and don’t waste precious time! The second would be to try to interact with locals as much as you can. If they speak a language besides English and you aren’t that fluent, you should try to learn. If they go to certain restaurants or activities you’re not used to, bring some friends and try it out.

What Surprised Me: Just how fast it ended. I had a giant bucket list of things I wanted to do in Australia, and I couldn’t get to all of them because I didn’t realize how fast the time went by.

Hardest Part: Balancing schoolwork and traveling and expenses all at once.

Best Part: The best part was definitely all the cool cities and countries I traveled to with my friends. It was so enlightening seeing other cultures and participating in activities that are famous to a certain place.

My Tips: If you can, try to go in Spring because Australia’s seasons are switched with the U.S., so you’ll have the best weather. Another is to visit as many beaches as possible- each one is unique and has its own beauty. Lastly, try not to spend too much time in your dorm/apt because there is so much to see.

Hidden Gems: Some places I recommend are Manly Beach, walking along the Sydney Harbour Bridge, taking a visit to the Shangrila Hotel top floor, and doing the Bondi to Coogee Walk.

Jana Amchin, London Internship Program

JanaBoroughMarketInterned in Marketing and Events at The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, Fall 2014

Internship: The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation was started by one of Britain’s most admired chefs, Jamie Oliver, to share his love of food and to educate people about the benefits of a healthy diet.  Interning at the Foundation was a wonderful experience from both a professional and a personal standpoint.  I learned so much about numerous aspects of a profession that I would love to become a part of.

The majority of the time, I was involved in the Kitchen Garden Project (KGP), where I became familiar with food education and policy for schoolchildren.  I was in charge of posting on KGP’s Twitter, as a means of communicating with our followers and promoting the important work of the Foundation.  Our objective was to attract more UK schools to the new Kitchen Garden Project website, so that they, too, could benefit from this wonderful program.  I also had the opportunity to work in other departments within the Foundation, doing various jobs such as researching and contacting young people’s centers and housing foyers across London to promote Fifteen Apprenticeship Programme’s upcoming recruitment period.  In addition, I had the chance to attend a cooking workshop and to help prepare lunch for a company meeting, as well as set up for a few of the Foundation’s fundraising supper clubs.

Interning at the Foundation only served to further my love of everything food.  From my experience here, I came to look at food from a different perspective than I had before.  I now appreciate food not only for the actual food itself, but also for what it represents- food brings people together in a way nothing else can.  I was very fortunate to have been placed at such a well-respected organization and to work with such an accomplished group of people.

I Learned: I learned not to limit myself and to step out of my comfort zone.  Living in a different country made me realize that I wanted to take advantage of all the opportunities around me- when else would I have the chance to spend four months in London?!?!  I pushed myself to explore the unknown – I went to places I didn’t think I was interested in going and did things I didn’t know I wanted to do.  Not surprisingly, I had some of the best experiences of my life!

What Surprised Me: What surprised me most was how a city that is so rich in history could be so young and modern.  London has always been considered very traditional and proper.  In reality, however, it is actually very contemporary and exciting!  It has so much to offer, including wonderful dining, shopping, and world-famous museums and theater.  Alternatively, you can choose to hang out at a local pub, walk along the Thames or explore the incredible architecture all around the city.

Hardest Part:  Fitting everything I wanted to do into my busy schedule!  Between classes and my internship, I very carefully had to pick and choose how to spend my free time.  London is a big city with many unique neighborhoods, so there were always fun and interesting things to see and do.  Of course, there are also many other amazing European cities to travel to on the weekends. There is still so much I want to do in London that I didn’t have time for.  I’ll just have to go back!

Best Part:  THE ACCENT!!  And exploring new places with my new friends!

My Tips: Definitely read Time Out London every week.  It’s filled with loads of useful information on free things happening throughout the city, good places to eat, and the best markets, bars, and shops to go to.  I enjoyed reading it on my commute to work.

Hidden Gem: It’s not really a hidden gem, but you need to go to Borough Market while you’re in London.  It’s so much fun to walk around and drool over all the delicious food at the hundreds of different stands.  It can get really crowded though, so it’s best to go during the week.  However, if you’re looking for less touristy, but equally as yummy food markets, definitely head over to Whitecross Street Market or Maltby Street Market.

Stephanie Gianni, London Internship

Westminster StephanieInternship: I worked as a Press and Marketing Intern for English National Ballet, one of the UK’s most renowned ballet companies. This experience helped me learn the difference between Public Relations and Marketing. My main ongoing tasks with Public Relations involved researching press contact information, and cataloging press clippings. Also, I was able to assist with dancers’ interviews and photoshoots for media outlets such as Glamour Magazine, The Evening Standard, and BBC News. For Marketing, I learned to use InDesign to create promotional fliers, analyzed ticket sales reports, created direct mail materials, and called local dance schools. The most exciting experience I had was representing ENB at opening night of a world premiere show by checking in guests and answering questions about the company.

I learned: My internship experience helped me learn the difference between Public Relations and Marketing, and gain further insight into working in the arts industry. Looking back on my abroad experience, I learned how important it is to take advantage of every opportunity presented. Four months may seem like a long time, but time flies much faster than you expect. I have to say I also became a savvy traveler after exploring Europe without having data or internet everywhere I went.

I was surprised by: How confusing it is to see cars driving on the opposite side of the road and get used to looking the right direction to safely cross the street. It was also surprising that, although the European countries are so close in distance, each can be vastly different in culture

The hardest part: I’m from California, so I know what it’s like to be away from home for long periods of time. However, when I first got to London it took me a few weeks to become comfortable being this far away from home, especially with an 8 hour time difference. Once classes started and things became familiar, I focused on the excitement of being abroad and by the end never wanted to leave.

The best part: Immersing myself in the city I lived in while having the opportunity to travel Europe with new and old friends. These trips, memories, and people made my abroad experience unique, and I can’t imagine a better way to remember my first times in Europe!

My tips:

  • Figure out the places you’d like to travel to most, then book your flights early.
  • Budget your expenses; remember the pound is almost double the value of the dollar.
  • Immerse yourself in London and all it has to offer (there are plenty of free activities).
  • Sign up for BU Social Program events for cool events at a discounted price.
  • Form relationships with your co-workers because it’s the easiest way to get to know locals.
  • Balance your time between traveling Europe and really experiencing the UK.

Thomas Tung, London Internship

London Bridge with crowdInterned at a company called Thriev, a start-up company that specializes in private chauffeur service.

Internship: Thriev is Kind of like Uber, but they use all electric vehicles and their target market is mostly corporate customers. I was a graphic design and social marketing intern for them. Projects included creating new websites, finding optimal solutions for the phone network, managing Google AdWords to promote job listings and the company’s services, etc.

I learned: From my time abroad, I learned to trust my instincts more. You go abroad to experience a new culture, create new memories and build new friendships. You’re living life and enjoying every moment of it, but you realize you should acknowledge that little voice in your head or that gut feeling. It can help you get out of sticky situations if you ever encounter them. Also, you learn to respect different cultures. Living in London for three months makes you realize that you’re not just a tourist in a foreign country.You’re living in a different country where there is a different culture than America. Traveling and studying abroad allows for a student to embrace the lifestyle of the community that hosts him/her.

I was surprised by: I learned that British people ‘work to live’ which is the opposite of Americans who ‘live to work.’ It’s not to say that British people are not hard working. They are extremely hard workers. They just understand that work is not what life is all about. They care about downtime, and spending that downtime with friends and family.

The hardest part: The hardest part was getting adjusted into the English culture. It is so different than what it is like in the States. Social norms are different in the UK. Currency is different and at a different value. For the first month or so, you forget that you have to convert all the values into American dollars.

The best part: The best part was meeting new people from the different colleges in the States as well as British people with whom you develop professional relationships. You get to learn and experience education and business from a different perspective. Traveling all over Europe was another plus.

My tip: Keep an open mind, but trust yourself. That is the best way to enjoy your semester abroad.