Spotlight Alum: Leah Powell

Global Experiences

Intern at the Eiffel Tower

1. When/what/where was your internship? How was it?

January-April 2011/ Fashion Business/Paris, France. Internship was amazing! I was very hesitant about Paris at first because I had never learned any French, but it turned out to be beyond great. Everyone I worked with at my host company was so fun and I feel as though I learned a lot and made some great contacts. Working in a fashion showroom in the heart of Paris put me right in the center of the fashion world and I loved it immediately.

2.       What did you gain while living in a new environment?

The first few weeks I was in Paris I learned to be very independent and be confident walking alone around a big/foreign city. I also learned to cope in uncomfortable situations such as living with a host family that speaks another language. From working at in a fashion showroom, I learned not to be timid in asking questions or asking for help. The biggest lesson I learned was to not be afraid to use what little French I knew because the public is much more willing to help you if you make an effort to speak their language, even if you ask them if they speak English!

3.       How did your international internship help you once you returned?

Once I returned I immediately emailed my coworkers and manager and owner a big thank you email and then emailed the owner separately to see if she had any contacts she felt comfortable sharing with me. So far, I have just been in contact via email with different companies, as with this economy it was been a huge struggle to find a job, however, the people I spoke with have mentioned that my internship abroad is a great way to standout among the competition.

4.       What do you do now, and how do you think your experience helped you reach this point?

I now know French (sort of) and I have learned to be more confident. In the fashion world you have to really push for what you want and need in order for you to achieve it and for someone to hear you. I am hoping that this will help me land a job in my career path soon.

5.       What would you say to someone thinking about working abroad? What advice would you give?

I would say if you are hesitating you should go for it. Not only is it a great experience and resume builder you will get to live and work in a new culture and make great friends along the way. My advice would be to stay as long as you can, whether it is a longer internship or traveling after, make the best of your time working, and always be looking for new opportunities.

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