The transferable or “soft skills” I have developed during the program are hands down some of the things I most value from this experience. One of the things I wanted to develop during my time here was independence and becoming more self-sufficient. On a day-to-day level I can definitely notice a difference compared to when I first arrived. Coming to a new place and having to adjust quickly can be really difficult and mentally draining. But that moment when you first notice that you are getting better at something, or didn’t make the same mistake again, or feel more at ease with the environment is incredibly rewarding and a huge feat in itself! Through becoming more independent and being outside of my comfort zone, I have learned a great deal about myself and have gotten a greater sense of my abilities as a growing individual. I think one of the most rewarding things about my time here is feeling and seeing before my own eyes how capable I am of adapting to new things, and feeling myself learning from new experiences in real time.
I have also really enjoyed exercising my adaptability to different environments and developing it further during my time here. Adaptability is something that I believe is a key skill to have in life, as it can apply to so many different situations and environments. Learning this skill makes it easier to face challenges head on and not be as daunted by the unknown. This study abroad program being focused on a full time internship makes the experience really unique because I have practiced this skill in both personal and professional context. As I expected, my workplace abroad is very different from other jobs I have held. One of the things that has most challenged me during my time at the gallery is peer editing projects and delivering a project that appeals to everyone’s expectation. In a space such as an art gallery, individuals have a lot of opinions and aesthetic preferences. Because of this, it can sometimes be hard to please everyone in a project. This experience has been a great exercise on how to communicate and compromise on final products. I’m glad I had the opportunity to do this early in my professional experience and I think my time here will prove to be incredibly formative later in my career.
Another skill that I have developed during my time here is my confidence in professional environments and decision-making abilities. As I have mentioned in previous posts, the work environment at the gallery has really allowed me the space to develop my work ethic and determine what practices work best for me. This in turn, has helped me grow a lot of self discipline, and the ability to organize or “manage” myself. I’ve really enjoyed this experience because it has made me more confident in using my judgment to make decisions on my own without feeling the constant need to find guidance from my superior. Furthermore, it has also made me grow more accustomed to being told to modify my work, or to make a second version for comparison. This has made feedback a lot less daunting, and has made me feel more confident in my own abilities and opinions, because being told to change something does not necessarily equal doing a bad job.