In anticipation of the applications for our new intern within the Edinburgh Study Centre, I wanted to follow up with all of the lovely ladies who have held my position before me! Hannah Bloom was our second intern in our London office (check back on our blog to see our previous intern’s posts and check below for a video about our internship!)
“I first studied abroad at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England for the whole 2013-2014 school year. I went back to UC Davis for a year to graduate and then my internship in London was from 2015-2016.
What inspired you to apply for the internship position? Did it match your expectations once you began? I was inspired to apply for the internship position because
1) I missed England and wanted to move back, for me one year was not enough.
2) Study abroad was so life-changing and exciting for me that I wanted to see what it was like to work for a study abroad program, and I wanted to meet study abroad students and find out about their experiences.
When I was a study abroad student the internship program hadn’t started yet so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I think once I began the internship exceeded whatever expectations I did have. I didn’t know I would have so much interaction with students both through social media and through planning and attending events, so that was a pleasant surprise. And although it’s called an internship, it felt like a real job with much more responsibility than the word “internship” connotes.
What was the most challenging aspect of the position? The most rewarding?
The most challenging aspect of the position was probably the fact that it was my first real full-time job out of college, and it just happened to be in another country too. As any recent graduate will know, that transition from school to office is certainly an adjustment but I was proud to make that adjustment in a different culture. Because of this, I was more confident in my abilities once I moved back to California and began applying for jobs there.
More specifically, the most challenging part was writing blog posts. Writers block would definitely hit so I was glad to have a variety of assignments to work on when it did.
The most rewarding aspect of the internship was getting to know the students. Everyone has a different experience when they study abroad and I loved getting to know the students and learn about what their experiences were. I was especially excited to help pilot the Student Rep Program because that was such a great opportunity to hear directly from students.
What are the differences you experienced between studying abroad and working abroad?
Living in London was very different than living in Brighton. When I studied abroad, I lived on my Host University’s campus which was outside of the city. All my friends lived in the same building as me so I constantly had people around me and there was always something going on. During the internship I lived in London’s Zone 2, so for the first time in my life I was living in a total urban environment. I had a commute to work and this time I was surrounded by pubs and museums. Although I was lucky and became good friends with a fellow UC alumna who happened to live on my street, I had a lot more time to myself than I did when studying abroad. While for me, studying abroad meant lots of freedom and few responsibilities, working abroad was much more structured. Through study abroad I felt myself becoming more independent (that’s what living in a foreign country and traveling will do to you); working abroad truly tested this independence.
What are you doing now?
I work for a school in San Francisco in their Advancement Office, which pretty much means I do fundraising, events, and communications. I was initially attracted to this job because of the events portion of it since I learned that I liked event planning while at my internship in London. I also wanted to continue working in education, so working at a school was a good way to stay connected to the field.
Do you have any words of advice for future applicants?
My advice to future applicants is to do as much reflecting on your study abroad experience as you can, whether while you’re still there or after you return. I was constantly thinking about the ways I was changing by studying abroad, and it reinforced my passion which I think was important for getting the internship. Reflecting also helped when it came time to write blog posts, because I could think back to my study abroad experience and give advice or recommendations to current students.
Also, remember that this is a real job and not just an opportunity to live in the UK, so get whatever job or internship experience you can while still in California and build a good resume.