From honing in on a communication style to adapting the way you learn on the job, CAPA alumnus Jackie Chmiel shares what she picked up after interning in London. Is an internship on your radar? Don't be afraid to jump at the opportunity!
Hi there! My name is Jackie Chmiel, and I was a CAPA Student Ambassador this past semester. I went abroad with CAPA this past summer for six weeks to London. I had an absolute blast! My program was a hybrid of a couple classes and a part-time internship, a great combination in my opinion. As a business major, being comfortable with global business is essential in today’s ever-connected world, so this opportunity to gain experience learning abroad was something I jumped at! I wanted to share a few of the things I learned during my internship in London:
1. Openness to Learning is a Must.
As a business major, being comfortable with global business is essential.
I came into my internship knowing virtually nothing about digital marketing, but I had something that helped me succeed: a willingness to learn. Like a sponge, I soaked up all the new information thrown my way. My best friend during the first week of my internship was Google and YouTube videos. I came to work with an open mind, ready to learn something new each day!
2. Ask Questions is not a Bad Thing!
Since I was trying to navigate this new subject matter and learn the basics and necessary tasks of my job, I made sure to ask plenty of questions. I was able to rely on the other intern who had been at my job previously and was also not afraid to go to my boss with anything I needed clarification on. However, I always made sure to try things on my own before looking for help.
3. Interact with the Locals in Your Office to Learn More About Your City.
I always made sure to ask my coworkers about cool places to visit and fun things to do on the weekend! It was fun to build relationships that I have been able to carry back to the States with me. Furthermore, this builds cultural intelligence and your ability to communicate with diverse people, which will definitely help in the future.
4. The Commute is a Great Time to Explore Your New City.
Gloucester Road tube station.
I loved having the opportunity to commute to work every day, where I got to live like a true Londoner on the Tube or on the bus; this was a great way to explore the city. Oftentimes, I would take the long way home or even walk back to my flat, so that I could see some of the different boroughs and neat areas.
5. Adaptability is a Great Skill to Have.
Being abroad and independently living in a new city brings new challenges and adventures. The same is true even more with interning in a foreign country. I had to adapt to new customs and workplace environments. For example, sarcasm is quite common in London, so it took time to get used to this as a normal communication style.
6. Explore Communication Styles to Find Out What Works Best.
Determining the office vibe took some time to get used to. For example, in time I figured out that my boss gave me freedom to do my work and trust that I would come to him with questions as needed. I learned from this and adapted to diligently do my work and come to him when I had a good finished product, which worked well for what I needed to do.
7. Reflect On Your Experiences.
Last day at my internship.
Lastly, I found it extremely important to reflect on my experiences abroad. In terms of my internship, I had a journal where I jotted down ideas and skills learned at work, such as communication styles, interacting with international clients, and being adaptable to change. I found that taking time to reflect on everything I was learning, both hard and soft skills, has helped me articulate all I have learned to tell my friends and family and even in interviews.
I hope these ideas help, and if you are thinking about doing an internship abroad, I recommend that you jump in and go for it. You won’t regret it!
Jackie Chmiel is a junior at University of Dayton studying business. She studied abroad with CAPA in London during the summer of 2019.