STEP Reflection

Audrey Wanstrath

During the Summer of 2017 I interned in Madrid, Spain with the fashion company called Folli Follie. I had never been outside of America before this summer so it is easy to say this summer was monumental.

I am an international business student at Ohio State so I have always been curious what it would be like to work in a different atmosphere from Ohio. Because of STEP I was able to answer my question. I had taken basic Spanish courses, but I was by no means fluent. Emerging myself into the Spanish culture was difficult at first. I got lost navigating, I had to use Google translate a lot, and I had to adapt to the late eating habits. I wouldn’t change my decision for the world. STEP has only increased my passion for culture, and I hope to live in Europe again. I have a dream of volunteering with The Peace Corps after I graduate, but I was always nervous about leaving The United States. Now, I know I can do it.

The biggest event I experienced was being alone and lost in Paris. I took a weekend trip with a group of students from my program. Because of flight complications, my flight was delayed and landed in a separate French airport from my travel mates. It was 3 in the morning when I landed, and I didn’t know a lick of French. I remained calm, and was able to navigate to my hostel. When I finally made it to the location I felt so accomplished. People from all over the world were willing to help me which warmed my heart.

I have some lifelong friends because of this program. One of the most significant people I met was my friend Carlos. He was a Spanish student that lived in the dorm. He was incredibly enthusiastic and showed me and a few other students all around Madrid. He inspired me to always welcome people with open arms. He was excited about my culture and I was excited about his. We exchanged information and we hope to see each other again one day. I met people from all over the world while I was in Madrid. I made a lot of connections that I hope to keep.

Working in Spain was incredible. They have an entirely different system. There are a lot more coffee breaks which is perfect. However, the best part about working in Madrid was how much my coworkers cared about one another. I have never seen such ingenuity before, and I hope to always care about people in such a sincere way. We always have cakes to celebrate each other’s accomplishments. I would help my coworkers with English, and they would help me with Spanish. It was a fantastic exchange.

Personally, I now feel confident enough to travel anywhere alone. I did not feel comfortable before this experience. Academically, I feel ahead of my peers. I have international experience going into my junior year. Professionally, I feel comfortable using Excel in both English and Spanish. I feel ready to take on an international role in my future.
Thank you STEP!

One thought on “STEP Reflection

  1. It is refreshing to hear that this opportunity challenged you to step outside of your comfort zone and as a result you developed greater independence! It also sounds like you connected with others in a meaningful way, which is powerful!

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