Tackling the World of International Internships
This is a guest post by Anna Durkin for InternMatch’s Student Stories. If you’re interested in getting involved with Student Stories, learn more here.
This past fall, I had the opportunity to study abroad in the beautiful and multi-cultural London, England. During my time abroad, I spent the former part of the semester attending classes and the latter part as an intern for Extreme Stunts. Prior to the unveiling of my internship placement, I was under the impression that I would be fulfilling an internship in my desired field: fashion journalism. Perhaps I would be reporting on British street fashion or forecasting next season’s color trends. As one can imagine, my initial reaction to the placement was not as I had expected.
Extreme Stunts is an e-magazine that serves as “the ultimate grassroots guide to the world of extreme sports.” As an aspiring fashion journalist, I had very little prior expertise in the world of extreme sports, further heightening my apprehension about the internship placement. However, I chose to view my placement as an opportunity to test my writing skills. If I hope to earn a spot in the industry after graduation, it is important that I be versatile and well rounded in my writing abilities. This way, I may widen the spectrum of job opportunities in the future.
During my time with Extreme Stunts, I served as a US Correspondent and was expected to conduct interviews with athletes, brainstorm and write original articles, and manage the company’s social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. During my first day of interning, I was given the opportunity to attend the annual Ski and Snowboard Show in Earl’s Court: the largest consumer winter sports show in Europe. At the show, I interviewed ski-cross athlete and Sochi 2014 hopeful Pam Thorburn for a feature article that was later published on the Extreme Stunts website. Prior to this experience, I had only conducted interviews with fellow peers and instructors. I was truly humbled to have such a huge opportunity to prove my skills as a journalist and so early into my time as an intern.
Throughout my semester, I continued to publish articles on the company’s website and accept invitations to various events in the industry, such as the premiere of snowboarding documentary Mission: Antarctic in Leicester Square and a foreign safety seminar at the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office in Westminster. Extreme Stunts provided me with an opportunity to refine my skills as an interviewer, a writer, and a member of a professional company.
My message to prospective interns (especially those placed in an internship through an abroad program and/or collegiate program) is to keep an open mind about your placement regardless of the genre. Even if the field is not directly relevant to the industry you hope to break into, the skills you build and exercise throughout the internship will prove beneficial in the future. In my opinion, it is all about how you frame your experiences. Even if I hadn’t enjoyed my experience with Extreme Stunts, my resume still states that I spent a semester abroad and completed an international internship. Every experience is a lesson learned!
About the Author:
My name is Anna Durkin (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I am a junior at Marist College, majoring in English (Writing) and minoring in Fashion Merchandising. I am a member of the Marist Singers as well as The Sirens, Marist’s all female a cappella ensemble. I am also the social media coordinator for Marist’s annual fashion show, The Silver Needle Runway (follow @MaristFashion on social media for updates on the show and our fabulous student designers). Outside of my studies, I enjoy blogging (check out my lifestyle blog, Witty in Pink!), photography, online shopping, and vanilla lattes.