Looking Back

My international experience was something that doesn’t feel real but I know has had a profound effect on myself professionally and personally. When I look back on it now, it feels as though it didn’t happen and it was quick but while it was happening it was long and made up of great memories I won’t ever forget. I was one of two marketing interns for a small non-profit organization called the Global Undergraduate Awards. They run an annual competition and conference for undergraduate students to showcase their research and topics of study in a professional setting and get credit for the work they put into papers and assignments. I didn’t know what to expect when I came into the office but I was quickly welcomed warmly by my few coworkers and was assigned a direct supervisor to help with their social media presence and website work. Since they are such a small company, this was an important role so they could improve their reach all around the world. I began working with the small communications team on coming up with relatable content for their audience for Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok and I also wrote blog posts that would be relevant to the lives of students so they could be posted on our website and shared on socials as well. Towards the end of my time, we worked on material for plastic-free July since there is a large environmental push and the Undergraduate Awards used their off-season to promote sustainable practices for young people. I came up with material for this and used social media to share ideas from students and encourage followers to begin picking up good habits to protect the environment. The most valuable thing I gained from my time in Dublin in a professional setting, however, was the relationships I built with my coworkers and the company in general. Since the office was so small and there wasn’t much space to not interact, we were able to collaborate on work and talk a lot to our coworkers and it made the whole summer much more fun. It didn’t feel like going to work every day because I had friends that would be there that I could spend the day with. In Dublin, these relationships are really valued and it showed when we went out for pints and pizza multiple times as a company and we made sure to not speak about work on these nights out. My time in Ireland also included new relationships within my housing and creating lifelong friends that I went out with every day and shared my new experiences with. I traveled to new places with these friends, walked around Dublin, and overall formed a connection over being in a new place together. My time in Ireland revolved around this professional and personal environment that made me feel welcome and excited to be there.

My growth from this program comes mostly from the relationships I built with so many different kinds of people. Professionally, I learned how to communicate better in the workplace and how to be more independent while also having direction when it comes to work assignments. I’ve been able to be more creative in the marketing field and learn how to be adaptable in a new environment and with changing circumstances. Academically, I feel like I’ve grown because I now know what I need to work on and what skills I should continue to work on in school and back at Pitt. Personally, I’ve grown in more ways than not. Firstly, I was being thrown into a new country for two months, not knowing anybody and I was able to come away with two best friends for life. I learned more about Irish culture and was able to visit different areas of Ireland, meeting new people, and understanding more about the subtle differences within one country. I’ve grown from this by having more international intelligence and cultural awareness.

As far as takeaways from this program, I want to bring my new communication skills back to Pitt with me and in my future career. This includes being flexible while also clear in my communication. I think this can also help me as a leader in my job on campus at Pitt. I also want to takeaway the relationships I formed in my professional life to use as a part of my network in my future career. Finally, the cross-cultural skills that I learned in Ireland I will take with me that I can use in my relevant coursework and my future internships and jobs, especially if I continue within the international marketing field.