By Liz Autry
As I began my Samford journey in the fall of 2016, I immediately told my advisors that studying abroad would be part of my college experience, and I would go to whatever means necessary to accomplish this goal.
My parents instilled in me at a young age that studying abroad should be a part of college for me, so I dreamt of living, studying and working in London since the beginning of high school. Interning in London was always part of the plan. I’m quite type-A, so of course I wanted an international internship on my resume when entering the job force. However, I had no idea I would gain so much valuable insight into my career field or enhance my professional development as much as I did.
I dreamt of living and studying at the Daniel House, but alas, the house was undergoing renovations. Instead, I went with an affiliate program called CAPA: The Global Education Network. Samford partners with them for internships every year, and CAPA does an incredible job placing you at the internship site of your dreams.
I worked at New Horizon Youth Centre (NHYC) in Camden. NHYC serves 16-25 year olds experiencing homelessness in London in a holistic way; they have a day centre open seven days a week, with hot meals, showers, counseling, workshops, housing advice and more offered every day. I led a weekly women’s group, delivered workshops, visited clients in prison, did one-on-one counseling, and more. My experience at NHYC has given me incredible experience for my future, and here’s why I think you should intern abroad too.
Because of interning in London, I now feel confident working in different work environments. I had to learn to adapt to a British work environment, which is quite different than the U.S., and I worked with colleagues from all over the world.
I have already had employers tell me that having international recommendations is something employers love to see. My supervisors at my internship wrote me a letter of recommendation, and that’s something I highly value.
Even if you don’t work in an environment that is incredibly culturally diverse like my internship, London is a cultural hub, and inevitably, you will be working with people who are different than you. Increasing your cultural competency is a great skill to have for future jobs.
After working at NHYC for three months, I now have contacts and recommendations for jobs internationally, specifically in London. If I wanted to move to London, I have people who could either try and get me a job at NHYC or help me find a similar job in London. To me, that is invaluable.
If you’re considering going abroad, I hope you’ll consider interning abroad. It was honestly my favorite part of living in London. It helped me find “Londoners” who helped me adjust to life across the pond. I gained more skills than I could put into a single article, and I’m sure you will too.