Internship: Billings & Account Management and Credit Control Intern at Venn Group (www.venngroup.com)
I Learned: Concentrating in Accounting and Finance at SMG, I never thought about taking a class on the E.U. All that ever mattered was the American government. Learning about another system really opened my eyes to methods other than “the American way” (similarities, differences, pros and cons, etc). Also, the class trip to Brussels was an amazing experience that introduced me to the E.U facilities and allowed me to listen to first hand accounts on what working in the E.U is like.
Additionally, working with British locals, allowed me to experience the different methods they use to carry out what may be the same tasks as in the States and to get a sense of what they consider humor. (They can be very blunt sometimes. I learned to not take anything too personally or offensively.) Working with the Brits was a blast. (Believe it or not, I started to pick up the British accent!)
Comparing/Contrasting My Work Experiences: The Brits like to take their time and check things over and over again. I feel like when Americans are given tasks, we would like to finish it as quickly as possible, get things done, then move on to whatever comes next. Also, the technology where I worked was not as fast as I experience in the States. (I once had to wait a good ten minutes for a program to start up, only to have it freeze in the middle and have to restart my computer.)
Another thing which I noticed at the office where I interned was the level of friendliness. Everyone was very comfortable with each other and top level managers were not hard to reach or “scary” at all. I met the CEO of the company my first day there, and the CFO sat at his desk 10 feet from where I sat. If someone had a question, he/she would simply ask the question out loud and whoever had the answer would just shout out the answer.
Another unique aspect was the amount of motivation provided by higher level managers to the employees. The last Friday of every month a party would be thrown from 3 to 5pm at the office. At each party, there would be a competition between four groups of employees put together randomly. One competition, which I judged, required each team to invent a mobile device from everyday household items. Whichever team created a device that could travel furthest across the office floor won a free lunch with our CFO and 50 Vennture points, company points that could be redeemed for prizes – movie tickets, weekend trips, etc. Although everyone was very competitive (they bribed me with sweets and coffee), people laughed and mingled throughout the party, which included free cheese and crackers and champagne. Where in the States can you find something like that happening?
Hardest Part: Being so far away from home for such a long period of time. At the beginning, I would listen to my roommates complain about how homesick they were, and I would not understand why they would want to go home when they just got to London. By my 3rd month there, I couldn’t wait to come back to the States. Although I Skyped with my family once a week, I still missed them greatly. I still do not regret going abroad for a semester. It was an experience of a lifetime!
Best Part: Getting a chance to explore not only London but also some of the amazing cities in neighboring countries as well. I traveled to Brussels in Belgium, Paris in France, Barcelona in Spain, and Rome, Florence, and Pisa in Italy. Seeing and experiencing the different cultures and historical aspects in all locations was priceless. Going to all these places while studying abroad was only a taste. It made me promise myself that I would definitely go back to experience all the other things which I did not have a chance to due to time limitations.