Internships are providing an added layer of experience for Lawrence University students studying abroad.
London leads the way, but traditional internship programs also are available to Lawrence students studying in Taiwan, Shanghai, Spain, and Austria, among other locations.
Sydney Seeley and Emma Vasconez interned during their time at the London Centre during Spring Term, and both said the connections they made and the experiences they had will be valuable as they consider next steps after they graduate.
“Even when you go to a different country, connections are so important,” Vasconez said.
Seeley, a junior psychology major from Prescott, Wisconsin, worked remotely for an international marketing company while in London, and Vasconez, a junior government and business and entrepreneurship double major from Huntley, Illinios, worked for Member of Parliament Tulip Siddiq while at London Centre.
Lawrence partners with Florida State University to match students studying in London with internships that fit their interests, said Lezlie Weber, director of Lawrence’s Off-Campus Programs.
“We work with students on preparation,” Weber said. “Interning students are guided on how to apply for internships and the necessary visa.”
No matter your major, Lawrence makes it easy to find a program that works for you. There are more than 50 programs in 30 countries to choose from.
According to Seeley and Vasconez, interning abroad is so much more than the work experience. For them, being an intern is all about culture and connections.
Vasconez appreciates now having friends in her field with valuable insight and hopes to work with them again. She connected with her co-workers, often socializing at the end of a work day.
Seeley, meanwhile, connected strongly with her co-workers even though she was working remotely.
“I’m excited to keep in touch with all these people, and maybe come back and work here when I graduate,” Seeley said. “The company has offices in the U.S. as well, so I have connections there, too.”
Interns connect with more than their colleagues. The work environment helps them connect to the local culture and community as well. Vasconez said she found her time outside of the office insightful. She saw London up-close through her commute and time working in the constituency. She helped canvass and deliver annual reports in addition to her drafting work in-office.
“You see what life is really like there,” Vasconez said.
Seeley and Vasconez agreed that learning about the culture was much more impactful while immersed in it.
“In the workplace, you have to know how to interact with your manager versus your coworker,” Vasconez said. “They don’t teach you that in a classroom.”
They learned to adapt to an unfamiliar workplace culture.
“There was such a good work-life balance,” Seeley said. “They were very respectful of others’ time.”
Seeley was part of her company’s partnerships team. She scouted celebrities and influencers for marketing campaigns to present to clients, and she brainstormed social media campaigns with co-workers. Over the course of her internship, the team worked with Amazon Prime Video to promote an upcoming series.
Seeley loved the experience that combined her areas of study in psychology, economics, and entrepreneurship.
“It was interesting getting that hands-on experience,” Seeley said. “When you see an ad, you don’t realize all the little pieces that go into it.”
Seely’s internship culminated in a final day on set where she got to see the production, which she helped pitch, being shot while also meeting the celebrities the team had selected.
“It was really cool seeing the production side of things, too,” she said.
For Vasconez, the internship experience in Siddiq’s office assured her that she’s following the right path.
“I definitely like the field I’m in, and it was interesting to see how the UK government works, too,” she said.
Even in countries where internships are unavailable, there are experiential learning opportunities for Lawrentians studying abroad, Weber said. Students can be connected to job shadowing, service learning, and more.
“Our hours for our internships were coordinated around our school schedule,” Seeley said. “It wasn’t super challenging to work and learn at the same time.”