A transferable soft-skill that I picked up during my time in this program is problem-solving. Being quick on your feet is a skill likely every Londoner has picked up this semester with the countless tube strikes and train breakdowns, making having a plan A,B, and C vital. When one train breaks down, you have to plan and know an alternate route to get to your destination. This usually requires an instant reaction as if you delay too long, the other lines get too crowded.
Some technical or hard-skills that I have gained through my internship is networking. Through my experience in London, I have learned that networking is not just simply talking to someone, taking their business card, and contacting them at a later date. It is making an effort to develop a connection, relationship, and hopefully friendship with that individual. From my small desk at my internship, I have observed that networking is most likely my boss’s strongest skill as well as her strongest asset as it has allowed her to access inside information that she would not have received otherwise and has allowed her to meet people that she would not have met on her own. Her personable demeanor and mother-like tendencies attract people towards her. From watching her, I feel that I have picked up a few tips on how to properly network and if anything she has inspired me to work on my skills to broaden my connections.
When it comes to navigating cross-cultural situations, I feel that meeting with locals is your best learning experience. You can make friends at the pub or online. By meeting people who live here rather than influencing my own identity, it has made me more aware of my own identity. It has allowed me to understand what cultures differences I am used to as well as what makes me unique to my peers. For example, when a car stops to allow you to cross the street here in the UK, raising your hand to tell them thank you in the states is proper etiquette. However, here it means ‘no’ and tells the car that you do not want to cross at that moment. This, I learned while I was grabbing coffee and walking around Oxford Circus with a newly-made friend. Something my peers have made me aware of is how much I love to travel and how much I enjoy the stress of preparing to travel. While others held a strong dislike for the numerous paperwork and airport stress, I found myself enjoying the thrill and not minding the additional responsibility. All-in-all, London has made me more aware of my strengths as well as the strengths I’d like to have.