- My STEP project was an internship abroad in Madrid, Spain. My internship was supposed to be a financial internship where I would be given a project that I would work on over the duration of the eight-week program and then receive feedback at the end. Unfortunately, my initial internship did not live up to what was stated and instead I was given busy work such as finding the usernames for over 400 company’s social media accounts along with having a rude boss and terrible hours that did not permit me much time to explore Madrid during the first half of the trip. However, I was able to get my internship switched for the remaining four weeks. The new internship provided better hours however an hour and a half long commute along with no work for me to do.
- Ultimately my STEP project made me realize that I do not want to do anything related to marketing, advertising or technology. I also came to the realization that I should not believe everything I read along with how important it is to ask questions to confirm things such as potential assignments, hours, etc. so that my expectations are better met. Everything that was outlined in the document that described my initial internship position that I received from WeFind Group, was false. Additionally, none of my interests or major were taken into account even though I thoroughly described who I am and the type of company I would want to work for upon being interviewed by a member of the Ohio State Global Internship program.
Aside from my internship not living up to expectations, I think that there are several changes that OSU should make or at least take into account in relation to this program. The changes that I feel are necessary is for OSU to solicit paid internships so at least 9 hours of working daily would be worthwhile or instead shorten the hours by telling potential employers that the interns want to be able to explore Madrid. With this aside, it was a great opportunity and opened my eyes to how vast and beautiful the world is outside of America. Overall it was a great experience and enabled me to make friendships and meet many people along the way.
- Ultimately the most transformative aspect of this experience was being able to travel to various cities in Spain and throughout Europe. I had many eye-opening experiences as to how beautiful Europe is and how Europeans have made little changes that have ultimately helped them to somewhat steer clear of global issues like pollution and obesity. They do this by charging for plastic bags in grocery stores and have a less obese population compared to the U.S. by having higher prices for fast food while lower prices for fresh produce. This was very interesting to me and a change I believe the U.S. should try to implement in some way.
Another key aspect of this trip was that my communication skills were put to the test as I was completely immersed in another culture. I have not spoken nor taken Spanish since my senior year of high school, so the language barrier was very difficult for me to get past at first. However, tasks that may seem simple to us as English-speaking individuals in America, such as getting medicine at the pharmacy or getting your phone fixed, were very challenging for me to explain in another language and culture. Yet I was able to be successful in using my Spanish speaking to help me overcome issues like those listed during my time in Europe. This is something that I feel will be extremely instrumental to me in the long run as I will be faced with communication issues and being that I was successful in an alternative country, language, culture etc., I feel I am even more prepared for the obstacles that I face in the business realm in the imminent future.
Overall, the internship experience I had is why I came to the realization that I need to be more selective and ask questions as some things may not be as they appear. I tried developing relationships with my initial coworkers however one of the bosses was rude due to the fact that I contacted the advisor of WeFind Group telling her that my boss was not giving me any financial work nor much work at all. Additionally, I was not being told to leave after completing my day’s work, even though that is what was outlined in the internship description. Prior to contacting WeFind Group I did try to address the issue on my own as an independent adult though when I brought up the internship description that I received months ago, the boss of BluSpecs simply said that she had never seen nor approved of that document before. This was frustrating to me because it was not an experience nor interaction I had anticipated upon agreeing to be an intern for the company.
- Although my internship experience was somewhat negative, there is a silver lining to everything and I feel that that gave me a glimpse into how the business world is, not everyone is going to be nice and not everything will always go as planned. While it was extremely frustrating for me to have to continue to go to work every day for four weeks where I would sit either doing work unrelated to my major, busy work or nothing at all, I took initiative upon the realization that change was not going to occur unless I took action. After sending some emails I was able to get in contact with people that helped me to end up in a somewhat better situation given the short notice. This is an experience I am going to remember for a long time, and I think it will be very relative and a helpful point to grow from in the long run. Being that I was in Spain though is what definitely made this whole experience worthwhile and I really hope that my suggestions for change are taken into account in order to better OSU’s global internship program