Shoe Related Stress

I feel like I just arrived in Prague, but this week was my fifth week here, which means I am a little over halfway finished with my internship and my time abroad. That is so crazy to think about! I really love it here and am definitely much more comfortable than I was a few weeks ago, but there are things that I miss about America. The main one being that I can understand the language. While not knowing to how speak Czech hasn’t really been a big issue for me because almost everyone you meet can speak English, it does just make life so much easier when you can understand signs around the city or even the small talk your coworkers make. Luckily, it hasn’t been a huge problem, but it does get a little exhausting sometimes when I have to google translate things and keep asking my coworkers to speak English when I am in the room. There aren’t really any big cultural differences between Czechia and the US, but I think it’s the little things that make me miss home like different brands of snacks and especially the holidays. The Fourth of July was this week and I kind of forgot about it until the day before. I don’t usually do anything big for the fourth, but just the fact that no one really even knows about this entire holiday is weird to me. I know that there’s no reason they should know about it since it’s not their Independence Day, but I was a little sad that there weren’t celebrations going on all around me like there is in the US.  

At my work we actually did acknowledge the Fourth of July because I have two American coworkers. One of them, Gerry, wore a blue shirt with white stars, which made me feel a little better. All I had was a dress that had red, white and black stripes and I figured that was good enough. Work has been very busy lately so I don’t blame the other Americans for not doing anything for the holiday. Last week we got a new assignment from our client, Bata, for a series of short videos highlighting their new line of shoe care products, so we have been very preoccupied incorporating this new task into our regular list of things to do. My coworker, Aubri, has especially been stressed about this because she is the account manager for Bata, which means its ultimately her responsibility if the clients don’t like the shoe care video concept. They also gave us a very short time frame in which to come up with the ideas and visualization for the videos. Aubri and I have been creating a presentation of all of my research for the topics on which to make the videos, the two different video concepts that the video and graphic designers came up with, and the projected costs of the whole project. I also just found out that she wants me to present the analysis/research portion of the presentation, which I appreciate because I’ll actually get credit for my work, but also makes me a little nervous because this is a real test of my abilities. We are presenting them this Wednesday, so they only gave us a little over two weeks to complete this, which was in addition to the other things we regularly have to do like the editorial for August.

Every month we come up with a social media posting plan called an editorial for Facebook and Instagram and most of the pictures we post come from the monthly photoshoot highlighting Bata shoes. Almost two months in advance we started to plan the concepts for each set of photos, like “Picnic” or “Mediterranean”, and then the designers come up with styling for each set and a location to take the pictures. Since the photoshoot is on Tuesday and Thursday of next week, this week was also crunch time for the editorial tasks. We had to get the stylings confirmed by Bata and pick up all of the shoes and different items of clothing for about eight different sets of pictures. It is fun but being out of the office for over half a day becomes a little stressful when you come back and realize how much stuff you still have to do! I also traveled to Salzburg this weekend, which was such a beautiful city and had many interesting historical things to see. Since the movie The Sound of Music was filmed there, I even got to go on a tour of all of the sites shown in the movie which was very cool!

While I think that Pitt has prepared me for this experience, I don’t think that my academics necessarily did. Since I am a political science major, I haven’t been able to apply much of what I have learned in class to this social media internship. The only exception I could see is my international relations classes better preparing me to be open to cultural differences and my studies of the Soviet Union and Soviet bloc countries giving me some background information on the history of the Czech Republic. Even though my academics don’t directly relate to my work, I can tell that my Pitt experience has aided me there. My work in Pitt Program Council has given me experience of life in an office setting, though a bit more relaxed than the one at my internship, and the constant stream of work I have at school between classes, Pitt Program Council, and leadership roles in my sorority has over-prepared me for the amount of work I have in Prague. I don’t see this over-preparation as a bad thing, but more as an experience in time management and efficiency that I have been able to utilize at Swimming Pool. In addition, although I do not have academic experience in the field of business or social media, I did have a year of work experience as the Public Relations director at Pitt Program Council so I was able to fill that gap with a mix of that previous experience and asking a lot of questions at work. Only a few more weeks left! Until next time!