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!