CAPA Study Abroad Alum Interview: Kyle Dombrowski
Meet Kyle Dombrowski, a CAPA London alum and accounting major from Siena College. Kyle had a memorable internship experience that fit perfectly with his major and allowed him to go home with new skills and two refrences. Below, he talks more about his tasks as an intern, what academics were like in London and how he came to love his Camden Town neighborhood after some initial reservations.
CAPA WORLD: Tell us a bit about yourself.
KYLE DOMBROWSKI: I am Kyle Dombrowski. I am a junior Accounting major at Siena College. I am from Rome, New York. I studied abroad in London during the Fall 2015 semester. My hobbies include boating, fishing, traveling, and watching college basketball. Go Saints!
CW: Why did you decide to study abroad in London? Also, how did you choose a program? What was most important to you?
KD: I studied abroad in London because I wanted to live outside of my comfort zone. I wanted to live in a big city that was full of cultural diversity. I chose to study at CAPA London because of the internship component and the fact that I was able to live in an apartment, rather than at a homestay. Although I took Spanish in high school, I wanted to go to an English-speaking country. Once I was in London, having everything in English made it easy to get around and communicate with others.
CW: Tell us a bit about your internship that you completed while studying abroad, your duties and accomplishments.
KD: The internship was my favorite part of the learning experience that CAPA London offered. I was able to interact and build professional relationships with my coworkers. I worked diligently to complete tasks and left with two letters of recommendation. I interned for WorldRemit, a start-up company in the online remittance and money transfer business who has competitors such as MoneyGram and Western Union. Working at WorldRemit allowed me to put to use the skills I had learned in the classroom back in the United States. Originally, I worked on the Business Intelligence Team performing data analysis to develop overall business strategy and growth. One of my greatest accomplishments and strengths I developed was my ability to communicate effectively in business meetings. I pitched an idea at an advertising meeting and part of my idea was used in a commercial to market our services to our French speaking market in Africa. As the semester continued, I also worked on the Finance Team with Accounts Payable. I processed vendor invoices and payment runs and assisted in implementing a new accounting software.
CW: Walk us through a week in the life of a CAPA intern.
KD: The typical week as a CAPA intern was very fast paced and hectic, but I still had the opportunity to have a lot of fun throughout the process. Interning through CAPA forced students to become real Londoners. Every day I woke up and had a one hour commute on the Tube via the Northern and Piccadilly lines from Camden Town to Baron’s Court for work. Sometimes, I was the first person on my team to arrive. Londoners do not seem to stress about arriving to work on time like Americans do. I would complete tasks that were given to me by my supervisors. We would usually have a tea break around 11am each day and head out for a quick lunch which we would return to our desks to eat. Usually, on Fridays, we took an extended lunch break and walked to the Hammersmith market. I would always update my supervisors before I left work so they knew what I was working on and how I would start my day the next day.
The Learning Through Internships class was a great way for CAPA interns to reflect on their internship experiences with their peers. The topics we discussed each week allowed interns to focus on different aspects of the professional development process and incorporate those skills into our everyday routine.
CW: What do you see yourself doing when you graduate? Did your experience abroad in any way shape your career goals and aspirations? If so, how so?
KD: After graduating with my undergraduate degree in accounting from Siena College, I plan to stay for one extra year at Siena to obtain my Msc in accounting. Then, I plan to sit for the CPA exam. I hope to work for one of the “Big 4” CPA firms or as a state auditor. After a few strenuous years of working long hours as a young accountant, I may decide to pursue my CMA to become a certified management accountant.
Overall, my experience abroad allowed me to self-evaluate and learn what exactly my strengths and weaknesses are. Working with people from diverse backgrounds gave me confidence in myself and my ability to survive and thrive in many different environments in the future. Now more than ever, I can feel like I can accomplish any task that comes my way and I am willing to relocate anywhere a job may lead me.
CW: How was your experience with academics abroad? How were you able to connect the way you came to understand the city itself and your academics?
KD: Classes abroad were a great way to get to analyze and explore the history, culture, and issues that London is faced with today. Aside from Learning Through Internships, the three other classes I took were all deeply rooted in living in London and study abroad in general. I took an international economics class where we covered the economic issues currently facing the European Union. I took "Analyzing and Exploring the Global City: London" class in which we went on field trips and saw first-hand how history, culture, politics, and socioeconomic issues are represented in the city today. Finally, I took a "Theatricality" class that allowed us to take three field trips to see plays on London’s famous West End.
CW: Did you travel outside of your host city? Any advice for future students who hope to do the same?
KD: I traveled outside of London pretty much every weekend from the beginning of October on. I took weekend trips to Munich, Germany; Paris, France; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Bruges, Belgium; and Dublin, Ireland. During our fall break, I went to Berlin, Germany; Prague, Czech Republic; Krakow, Poland; and Budapest, Hungary as a part of a fall break trip put on by the tour company Weekend Student Adventures (WSA). Traveling on the weekends was great, however, it can be tiring due to the fact that the cheapest flights are either early in the morning or late at night. Additionally, always budget for delays or cancellations, but do not let the challenges ruin your experiences. Be mindful of world events, but do not let them stop you from exploring everything the world has to offer.
CW: Talk about culture (and cultural differences) in London, what you learned from living in such a global city and a few of the traditions you were able to experience.
KD: I think the best thing that living in London taught me was to not judge a book by its cover. England (London in particular) is not only what we see represented in pop culture and fairytales such as Mary Poppins. I lived in Camden Town, one of London’s centers of art, music, and counterculture. I originally hated the thought of living in Camden Town. I had never lived anywhere like it. I grew to love living in the eccentric atmosphere.
CW: Where were the places you carved out as "your London" - the places you found outside of the tourist sites, the places that were most meaningful for you? What was special about them?
KD: I loved living in a city where there are so many recognizable tourist sights. However, “My London” is more than the tourist sites that everyone knows about. “My London” included the hustle and bustle of the Tube, the office life, the street food at the markets, the walks through the many parks in London, the nightlife, and simply being able to call my apartment, my neighborhood, and the places where my friends and I frequented the most home. I am eternally grateful for everyone and everything that made “My London” unforgettable.
CW: What changes have you seen in yourself since you began your study abroad program? If so, how so? What has your experience taught you about yourself and the world around you?
KD: After studying abroad, I am more open to trying new things and to taking the path less traveled. I am more independent. I am able to see things from another person’s point of view. I am confident that I can do anything I put my mind to. I try to look at world issues, not from an American’s perspective, but rather, from a global perspective. As much as I am grateful for the time I had abroad to learn from other cultures, I am dually grateful to have had the opportunity to represent America in a positive light.