My is an Ambassador who interned in London
Major: Public Accounting
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I haven't thought of doing a study abroad program at CSB/SJU, as I already did an independent program in France in 2015. During my junior year, I decided to find internship opportunity in the US and abroad. I came across this program, and wanted to give a try, as I have never been to England before. I also have interests in music and arts, so London would be a perfect place to engage in those activities.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
I am an independent traveler, so besides hanging out with my flatmates, I spent a good amount of time to discover this city on my own. There was one time when I just came out of a free lunch-time piano concert at St. Martin church, an old British man approached me and compliment on my Vietnamese embroidery shirt. I was wary at first, but he started talking about himself and his family, and his hobby of talking with tourists. He then became my tour guide that Friday afternoon. We had a walk from St. James Park to Oxford Circus, spontaneously hopped into an art exhibition at Christie's auction house, took pictures of some houses with old architectures, walked through the Jewelry Quarter in Holborn checking the diamonds out, and ended the day at a lovely coffee shop. This experience has broken my image of aloof and unfriendly British people.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I was lucky to get an internship placement right in Kensington, to where I commute on foot everyday from FIE residence. I got the position of Accounts Administration intern at a PR agency. Although the firm is considered a small business, it has about 25 full-time employees and 4-5 freelancers. My supervisors gave me different projects everyday, and I felt so happy and lucky to work on accounting-related jobs.
The office is not very racially diverse, and I was the only Asian. However, I always felt welcomed and treated nicely. The most memorable moment was at the end of my internship, my supervisor and the Finance Director gave me some presents. There were a bottle of wine, a box of chocolate, and especially a bottle of eye drop. I was so surprised and touched, as I wasn't directly supervised by the Finance Director, but she noticed that I had to use eye drop often after hours of staring at the computer screen. I also receive a card with wishes from everyone in the office. To thank them, I also brought a hand-crafted gift made in Vietnam. This is one of my best professional experience I have ever had.
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
This London internship has greatly contributed to my global experience on my resume. At this time, I could proudly say that I have studied and worked in 4 different countries, and have done some business trips to some European countries.
Another visible advantage I could get from the internship is working experience in a different culture. I found British work culture very different from that of the US. This is beneficial in working with foreign partners, or for seeking opportunities overseas.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Try to interact with people other than your CSB/SJU group and your flatmates. I traveled around London, and ran into many awesome British. Besides the nice old British man, I met and talked with another old man who used to be a theatrical actor at a piano concert, a music student, or a random British woman smiling at me on the tube.
Moreover, while doing internship abroad, be humble and start with a fresh mind. Be willing to learn and observe constantly to get adapted with the work culture. Don't hesitate to ask questions and take notes.