My experience abroad has contributed in many ways to my professional development as a business student. My internship abroad has already allowed me to gain crucial work experience in a foreign country where I am learning new things about the international business world. My role as a digital marketing & sales officer at CI Design has been challenging, but rewarding, as I am always learning new things and getting to work with people from all different backgrounds. My favorite part about the job is cold calling furniture suppliers/interior designers and inviting them to visit the showroom to view our furniture in person. I am passionate in the world of sales and getting to practice my sales techniques by providing outreach for the company using cold-calling, emailing, and in-person sales meetings in a foreign country has been very interesting.
I am also learning a lot about the work culture that London has. For example, most people are working in a hybrid schedule because of the pandemic, and I am working hybrid as well. Within my 20 hours a week, 10 are usually remote. Also, Londoners have a strong sense of work/life balance in that I think the United States could take some notes on. An example of this is how the streets of London are crowded with workers from 5pm-8pm at local public houses. Instead of everyone heading home after work, many commuters and Londoners choose to stay in London after work and enjoy a laugh with their fellow employees. The people here want to truly get to know their co-workers outside of the workplace, which is new to me and can make working a lot more fun.
A few transferable skills I have learned both in the classroom and in the workplace are communication skills (such as active listening), and time-management skills. As far as communication skills go, I was satisfied with mine before studying abroad, but living and working in a foreign culture comes with new communication skills to learn. For example, email etiquette can be a little different in the United Kingdom than it is in the States. I used to address business/sales emails with only the recipient’s name at the top and leave out a greeting. But over here that is disrespectful, so I have learned to address every email with a hello, good morning, or good afternoon, etc.
I have also been working on my active listening skills. Whether it is in class or at work, I strive to be an active listener to ensure I know what it is always going on. For example, in my International Marketing class, my professor likes to cold call on students to make sure they are paying attention. He caught me red-handed in the first week as I was unable to answer one of his questions, but ever since I have made sure that won’t happen again. I even found out that if I raise my hand more, he will avoid cold calling on me because I am actively listening and participating, so I raise my hand 4-5 times a class casually providing answers to his questions. I think this has also made my professor like me more and is something I will take with me into my last year of school & beyond. Asking questions is also super important for me to succeed at my internship. I regularly find myself asking my supervisor questions throughout the day to ensure I am doing exactly what they want me to be doing and for it to be sufficient work.
I only have 12 more days in London, so I am trying to get everything checked off my goals list. One thing I wanted to do during my time here was travel to a different European country, and I am proud to say that I have booked a trip to Budapest this weekend with some friends! I will let you know about that trip in my next blog!
Here is a photo of me and some friends enjoying the day at Sandown Park Racecourse, where we got to watch horse racing and meet some locals!