Internship: I interned for yoomi, a small start-up that created a self-warming baby bottle. Yes, you read that correctly. I was a marketing intern but was able to get involved in a lot of different projects since the company was very small. For my first project, I researched and created a list of independent stores and boutiques in the UK that the company could potentially sell to. This project helped the company prepare for a trade show.
I also worked on the new support page that was launching on their website. The support page is intended to be a resource for new parents with helpful advice. I was given a list of topics, then researched and wrote the articles for the page. I really enjoyed the chance to be able to work on a project that involved more creativity. I learned the importance of maintaining a concise marketing message.
The internship was one of my favorite parts of the entire abroad experience. I learned a lot and was able to get to know my co-workers.
I Learned: I learned that it’s really easy to stick to your American ways even in Europe, but that doesn’t mean you should. It’s possible to get around without knowing a word of another language. There are McDonalds and Starbucks in most cities. You can only truly experience another culture if you make an active effort to go outside your comfort zone.
Comparing/Contrasting My Work Experiences: The biggest difference I noticed is that British people are not as straightforward. I was accustomed to supervisors directly telling me what to do or what not to do. When giving instructions, my co-workers at yoomi were much less direct, often asking, “Could you do this when you get the chance?” or, “You could work on this project, if you don’t mind.” I think this says a lot about the differences between American and British culture.
I don’t know if this is true of all British offices, but my co-workers were much less rigid with time than people I’ve worked with in the US. Meetings were often pushed back or scheduled at the last minute, which meant I had to throw away my type-A tendencies and be a little more flexible.
I would say that British people have a similar work ethic to Americans. Though some aspects of my work environment were more laid-back, my co-workers definitely put a lot into their work.
Hardest Part: The hardest part for me was being so far away from my family and friends. I learned that I could no longer just call up my mom on a whim (unless if I wanted to spend a fortune on minutes). Skype is a beautiful thing.
Best Part: I loved being able to travel all around Europe, experiencing language barriers and cultures that are vastly different. This was my first time abroad, which made it all the more exciting!