Ben completed an internship in Sydney, Australia in the summer of 2013. Below is an interview between Ben and Meghan about his internship, life in Sydney, and thoughts about Global Experiences.
Why did you decide to go to Sydney with Global Experiences?
“I Googled ‘internships abroad’ and saw a bunch of programs. I liked the website from Global Experiences because it was really easy and clear for me and my mom to read. It was really easy to get in touch with you guys. That’s what appealed me to Global Experiences.”
How did you like the housing in Sydney?
“I thought the location was perfect...and living with 40 other kids my age was great. We got to really know each other. That was my favorite part, getting to know everyone and living together. It wasn’t just kids from Pennsylvania, or even the United States, but from all over the world. I not only learned about the Australian culture, but I learned different cultures from all the European students.”
What was your internship like?
“I worked with a 10-person marketing team. I got a lot of responsibility handling social media marketing, platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, for an American client. I managed customer accounts and did research for affiliates to encourage promotions. I also worked on some promotional contests like we’d had a contest where people could upload a photo of themselves with one of our products on Instagram and we’d send them a free one to help build loyalty. The people were awesome. They took me to a club called Marquee, one of the best clubs in Australia, and took me out to lunch at some great restaurants. They definitely cared. They cared about my professional experience, but also showing me a good time. They made a lasting impression on me. I still keep in touch with them."
What were some challenges you faced while interning in Sydney?
“I didn’t really have any. I guess, the first week I had culture shock. I had that moment of, 'Wow, I’m across the world. I can’t just go home. I’m stuck here for 8-weeks' and the second guessing of did I make the right choice. It was also a challenge to get used to a 9-5 job. I didn’t realize how tiring it could be. Then I really started experiencing everything and got used to the routine of a full-time job."
What was your favorite part of the experience?
“My favorite part was feeling like an Australian; just knowing the whole city. It was cool being part of that culture for 8-weeks. Also, I landed an internship with Coca-Cola this summer and I know this experienced transformed into my opportunity with Coke. I’ll be doing a global marketing position dealing with brand strategy. I think that having the experience in Sydney had to have helped.”
Were you nervous or concerned about anything before you arrived?
“Really, it was going to be winter in Australia was my only concern, but it was mid-60s the entire time. If you talk to people who are worried about it, tell them it’s not winters in the Northeast (USA). Overall, the weather was warm. Maybe a few times I had to wear a sweatshirt.”
Did you feel like you learned anything from the experience?
“I learned that instead of spending money on material things, to spend them on experiences. I’m going to look back on experiences, not things, like going to Australia. If you’re going to do something-do it for the experience. I want to travel and keeping doing things like that.”
Did this internship experience help you reach (or is helping you reach) your career goals?
“Yes, definitely. I wouldn’t have had an internship experience underneath my belt. I know people want to be paid, but not getting paid taught me a lot of about patience. I know for my next internship or job, just imagine how hard I’ll work. It helped me a lot.”
Do you still keep in touch with other people from your program?
“ Yes, some of my best friends were from Italy, Switzerland, Germany and all over the US. We still keep in touch through Facebook. We’re planning a trip and trying to meet up this summer.”
Do you have any advice for future interns?
“When you’re there-don’t worry too much. Make the most of it. Use your money cautiously, but also don’t not do things you really want to do because of finances. Just do it. You’re only there once. Oh, Sydney was expensive. Know what you’re getting into and save up as much as possible. I tried to eat in as much as I could”
Anything else you'd like to add about Global Experiences or your time in Sydney?
“Going to Sydney and the whole experience was the best thing I’ve done in my life so far. It was awesome, the whole experience with everyone there. The people were great. I’m glad I did it.”