Last semester I took a leap of faith and embarked on a three-month internship in New York City. Having developed a lifetime of New York City knowledge from Eloise in the Plaza and J-Lo movies, I was excited to embark on my solo adventure in the Big Apple.
My New York internship was with a company called Effie Worldwide, a globally-respected awards agency that spotlights marketing effectiveness through their annual Effie Awards. In addition to its US competition, Effie holds competitions in over 50 countries and regions that are organised through their network of industry and local partners.
Over three months I completed an International Brand Audit of Effie’s 50 worldwide competitions to assess the current state of the brand in each market and identify potential areas of growth. I was required to analyse Effie’s partners in relation to 5 key criteria and then collate, synthesise and present this information to my supervisors. This experience gave me so many incredible opportunities to immerse myself in the industry, learn and grow as an aspiring marketer, and gain true insight from my incredible mentors.
Credit for AMB310
When I was considering this international internship I initially expected to put my studies on hold for a semester and delay my course. However, when I started exploring the options in my business degree, I was connected with the Work Integrated Learning units. By enrolling in AMB310, I was able to get credit for my real world learning and organise a flexible assessment timeline that made the most sense for my internship. The reflective assignments built into AMB310 have been an extremely valuable tool that has aided my own professional development and self-reflection.
Why go overseas?
I guess the question is – why do an internship or exchange overseas? I have two words to answer this question: exposure and people.
By going to New York for my internship I had the opportunity to work in the global epicentre of advertising and marketing, and was exposed to opportunities that would not necessarily be available in Brisbane, or even Australia. I was able to work in a global brand and have complete autonomy over a major project, as well as be mentored by some of the best in the business. During every step of my experience, Effie gave me so many amazing opportunities to deepen my real-world learning and expand my horizons. From watching the Effie judges at work, preparing materials for Effie’s board meeting and networking with Effie teams from around the world, there was never a dull moment in my internship!
The opportunity to meet an incredible cross-section of people from all walks of life and make friends from around the world was one of the best parts of doing an experience overseas. Don’t let my eternal optimism fool you, going to an unfamiliar city on the opposite side of the world was scary at first. To make the most of your time you really have let to let go of your inhibitions and be ready to conquer every challenge and embrace every opportunity.
My top three tips for an overseas experience
- Budget, budget, budget!
Decide what items/experiences you’re passionate about and willing to spend more money on. I’m a foodie so I was willing to sacrifice a larger portion of my budget to taste the finer things in life. But maybe for you, it’s concerts, festivals, musicals or fashion – whatever it may be, factor it into your planning and stick to the budget! These are words of wisdom that I REALLY wish I’d listened to before I headed overseas.
- Research is your best friend
It’s often easy to overwhelmed when you first arrive in a new city. My advice is to bury yourself in research and REALLY get to know your new short-term home. Locals always know the best food, restaurants, events and hotspots so my favourite thing to do when I go to a new city is google “Local’s guide to [fill in the blank] in [fill in your city]”. I can’t even begin to explain the INCREDIBLE success I had by googling “Local’s guide to bakeries in NYC”.
- Don’t be afraid to explore
Please, don’t be like my neighbour in NYC who had been living in the city for three months and had NEVER taken the 25-minute subway to visit Brooklyn (instead opting to spend her weekends watching Netflix). Make the most of your time and remember to enjoy every single second!
Take the leap!
If you’re considering an overseas experience, my advice is to take the leap! There’s nothing like being immersed in a ‘real world’ learning experience…. And having the ability to build all of this into your uni degree makes it even better!