July 24th, 2014
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When an American lands a summer internship in London

Summer – noun  \ˈsə-mər\

the warmest season of the year that is after spring and before autumn

Intern – noun \ˈin-ˌtərn\

a student or recent graduate who works for a period of time at a job in order to get experience

London geographical name \ˈlən-dən\

city & port SE England ∗ of United Kingdom formerly constituting an administrative county

 

So there you have it.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, you can sum up my past two months as a period of time at a job during the warmest season of the year in a city of England in order to gain experience.

My summer internship in London has certainly defied the standards set out by the aforementioned definitions. The past two months have been nothing short of ‘brilliant’ and I have those at ING to thank.

Immediately upon arrival, the term ‘summer’ was redefined for me. I left my small town in Indiana in shorts and a t-shirt and stepped off the plane in London wishing I had a parka. It still makes me chuckle that news anchors have been referring to these last few weeks as a ‘heat wave’. Where I’m from summer is a ‘proper’ season with very hot weather. But I must be getting used to it all by now because it’s terribly British of me to be going on about the weather!

The Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) administers programs for college-aged students seeking study abroad opportunities. I chose to complete an IES Internship program in order to gain a more global look into the workplace and specifically into the field of public relations, instead of just remaining in a classroom. I still had class twice a week, but my full time gig was in the office.

in London4

Being abroad and juggling course work, site-seeing, and an internship has given me a new appreciation for how I spend my time. Thankfully, lots of it was spent in the ING office, where I learned more about public relations, international media, the power of social media and much more. My experience abroad was not simply “a period of time at a job,” and I did not feel as though I was just in “a city in England.” At ING, I gained not only professional, but real life skills and worked with people from all over the globe.

The built environment is universal and affects each and every one of us, and working with ING and its clients in the architecture and design sector gave me that insight. I have now heard business calls made in Italian and Turkish, developed media lists that included international titles, pitched to publications in England, U.S.A and Canada, and have decided that Australian bosses are the best.

Back home at Indiana University I study journalism, so it is a stretch to say I came here knowing anything about architecture or design. Though I knew little of the sector, I was welcomed with open arms by the talented, passionate people at ING, and for this I will be forever grateful. I leave knowing how to make English tea (sort of), create press clipping reports, conduct thorough research projects, generate a social media audit, set up an impressive (if I do say so myself) boardroom for client meetings, and so much more. Mostly, though, I leave with very high standards for my next office.

With ING, I was lucky enough not to have a boring, defined “summer internship in London,” but more-so the experience of a lifetime.

www.linkedin.com/in/sophiebabcock

 

in London2

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