My STEP signature project was an 8-week internship in Sydney, Australia with Medtronic. My main responsibilities were to collect and organize information regarding the custom packs that Medtronic developed.
My STEP experience was the first time I had ever been abroad, and it was my first time being immersed in another culture. It made me realize that the world is not quite as big as it seems. I was able to stay in constant communication with my friends and family. Also, the Australians were not too different from Americans. They share many of the same cultural similarities. I think this speaks to the way the world is connected. The biggest way I changed was with my maturity. I was working 9-5 Monday through Friday. Medtronic was my first internship, so I was also adjusting to working in an office setting for the first time ever. On top of this, I was out of the country and on the other side of the world. It was exhilarating and also gave me a taste of what it’s like to truly be away from my family and friends. Medtronic is a leading company in the medical devices industry, and being around that culture increased my business acumen. I was able to see how a big company operated, and it showed me that I was able work alongside and communicate with successful people.
The biggest change I experienced was in my maturity and confidence. This stems directly from my work experience with Medtronic. While my project was not very technical, it required a lot of communication. As an intern, it was a little bit nerve-racking to be the new guy in a new country. On top of that, everyone I was working with had a lot on his or her plate. Being able to communicate effectively with this group of people really gives me confidence as I enter into my job search. In today’s workforce, especially in business, companies look for strong communication skills. My time at Medtronic helped me gain confidence that I possess the communication skills necessary to be successful.
The social experience of the trip also contributed to this transformation. There were 34 OSU students total that were part of the Australia Internship Program, and out of that group I was a casual acquaintance with one of these people. My roommates were strangers to me. Over the 8 weeks I was able to become close with these people. As an introvert, this gives me confidence to become more outgoing. I was also able to become close with my coworkers and my supervisor at Medtronic. I went to dinner with my supervisor and coworkers several times, and it was really great to connect with them outside of a work setting. Again, this experience gives me the confidence to be more outgoing and friendly to people who may be strangers, because its possible to develop real connections with people when you make the effort to get to know them.
Another experience that truly shaped my trip and general outlook on life and work was a conversation I had with my supervisor. He said to me “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and its all small stuff”. This is something I’ve thought about a lot and it helped me gain perspective on where I want my life to go. I think what he meant by that is to not take yourself too seriously. I will obviously work hard and do my best to find a good job and lead a successful career, but I also want to remember what will really be important when I look back on my life one day. I think that will be the relationships developed over the course of my career, and my supervisor really helped me realize that.
This growth in my maturity and experience will help me find a job after college. As a college senior this is my main goal. I now know what it’s like to work in an office and engage with professionals. I also believe that my attitude is better than it was before this experience, and this will help me as I choose which jobs I want to pursue. I will consider aspects of the job besides just pay, and I believe this will help me be happier in the long run. My social growth will also help me achieve my goal of becoming more outgoing. This trip forced me to get to know new people, and this will be valuable to me as I develop my professional network and possibly relocate to a new city and construct a new social circle. This trip was a life changing experience that allowed me to develop socially and professionally, and the skills and memories I made will be with me for years to come as I prepare to begin my life outside of Ohio State.