Written by Abby Melgren
I was rather tentative to study abroad the summer before my graduation in December. I was under the impression that the way to secure a job was to get an internship with a company you would want to accept a permanent job from. However, I also had always imagined that I would study abroad because of my love for travel and seeing the world. For a while this conflict weighed pretty heavy on me. In hindsight I can now see how my choice to intern in London for the summer prepared me for a world of jobs and experiences that have equipped me to enter the work force – international or stateside.
While in London I interned with charity organization Whizz Kidz, which provides mobility equipment and opportunities to disabled children in the United Kingdom. For the eight weeks of my program I worked with the Events Fundraising team and performed tasks such as research for marathons, and communicating with and recruiting event participants. The assignments at my internship were not only applicable to what I had learned in my journalism classwork, but also broadened my skillset and employment marketability. However, the best part of my internship was the opportunity to experience how international organizations do business including its workplace environment and the manner of communication with clients or other businesses. This understanding of international business opened my eyes not only to how the world works, but also to how the world lives and relates to one another.
Apart from my internship, my study abroad experience gave me the opportunity to learn the quirks of London that you wouldn’t be able to experience on a short vacation. Knowing that I would be in London for a longer amount of time, I really tried to acclimate myself to the ways of the city so that I could fully experience all London had to offer. Learning how to grocery shop in a store of foreign foods and brands, maneuver the subway system not only everyday during the rush hour but also to outlying parts of the city, and relate to local business owners or my coworkers’ foreign speaking mannerisms were some of the most challenging and exciting parts of my summer abroad.
Without a doubt, studying abroad in London was my best college decision and favorite memory. No matter how daunting the financial costs were before, during or after the trip, I have learned that experiences far outweigh possessions and cannot be constrained to a dollar amount. I have learned that London is one the world’s coolest cities that has everything to offer from prominent historical sites to leading fashion and exquisitely different foods. Having the chance to spend a summer in a city as breathtaking as London is something I cannot adequately put into words and I am grateful I did not pass up.