Across the Pond: (Virtually) Interning in London

My name is Ava Groll and I’m currently a junior at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to studying Finance and Business Information Systems, I’m also pursuing a double-minor in Economics and Legal Studies. I hope to use my variety of concentrations to eventually become a lawyer within the real estate sector.

I was born in Washington D.C. but moved to Pittsburgh at the age of 3. I live with my mom, dad, and younger brother Cooper — he’ll be starting his freshman year of college in the fall. My family recently adopted a puppy named Jaeger, an Airedale Terrier breed with enough energy to keep us all on our toes. He’s been a great distraction during the pandemic, and we’ve had an amazing time taking him to dog parks, teaching him new tricks, and pulling him out of our pond.

Prior to the global pandemic, my family and I love to travel. My dad — the son of two US embassy workers — has always been the one to inspire my desire to see the world. His childhood stories growing up in Asia and France always remind me that there’s an entirely different life out there for me to discover. With travel being limited, I figured that a virtual internship would be the perfect opportunity to network on a global scale while making the most of my downtime between classes.

I have been chosen to participate in CAPA’s Virtual Internship Program with my particular placement being located in London. Recently, I have learned that I will be helping my employer to research hotel properties within the Seychelles area as he hopes to emerge into the hospitality sector. As a research and business development intern, I’ll be presenting new, global opportunities through market analysis, legal research, and business plan development. Additionally, I’ll use a variety of programs in order to provide an organized offering of the collected data. I’m excited for this placement as I believe it’s an ideal time to apply my classroom knowledge to a real-world, working environment.

Academically, I look forward to growing my qualifications and becoming more comfortable with my current soft skills. Despite the copious amount of knowledge that is delivered through classroom learning, I believe, to a certain extent, that some skills are best taught in an actual work setting. I’m excited to hear and learn from my employer’s own experience — as a businessman himself, I think he’ll be able to share a great deal of personal anecdotes, both good and bad.

Professionally, I’m excited to connect with seasoned business-individuals who are excited to share their insight. As an intern, I realize that I will have to become accustomed to business practices, customs, and manners that may be different than I’m used to. In addition to an obvious time difference, I also anticipate a slight accent barrier (especially when you factor Zoom into the equation, a technology that occasionally lags and cuts out on words). However, I expect these potential challenges to strengthen my professional skills, essentially preparing me for a multitude of situations that I may come across in the real world.

Personally, I would love to come outside my comfort zone. I think I tend to get intimidated by things that exude a particular level of uncertainty — as someone who has never done an internship over Zoom, I worry about things related to technical issues, being able to articulately express my concerns / data / desire for feedback, etc. I hope that this internship will encourage me to be more trusting within my own abilities and strengthen the areas in which I may struggle.

I can’t wait to see how my internship begins!