You never know what an internship abroad can lead to! We interviewed the IES Abroad Outreach Coordinator Abby Baric, who studied, interned, lived, and worked abroad full-time in London, England. Abby had much to share about her internship experience and beyond.
IES Internships: In what city and with what organization did you intern?
Abby Baric: I studied abroad in London, with a part-time internship at the Royal Academy of Arts, a museum within London, in their Press Office as a Press Assistant.
IES Internships: What was the work environment like there?
AB: In an organization of about 100 people, I was working in a team of about three or four, so it was quite intimate. But from an intern’s perspective, it was fantastic because it meant that I had complete chemistry with all four people, and I got to know them really well [and]their work styles. I wasn’t afraid to ask questions because they made me feel so comfortable, and I really understood the nuts and bolts of the Royal Academy.
IES Internships: How did the internship match up with your university major and your own interests?
AB: Interestingly enough I was a News-Editorial Journalism major, so I was very much on the reporter path and this was technically a PR internship. It was actually quite nice because I saw the other side of what journalism is and how stories are built and fed. That’s where I got my knack for PR; the bug hit me when I started interning with the Royal Academy of Arts.
IES Internships: What were the main skills you think you acquired while you were working at that internship?
AB: The RA was worldly and had a lot of different cultures. So learning how to work within their cultures or working with someone where English is actually their second language was really interesting for me.
From a communications standpoint, learning how to work with people, which is a fundamental part of any job, I learned that there. I learned how to function as a colleague and what that meant, how to get
things done quickly, but efficiently, and maybe how to break some of those barriers. That was helpful.
I wrote a lot while I was there: helped with press releases, understood what was coming out in the media, understood how to monitor what was going on in the world and how that would apply to what I was doing. I think no matter what job you’re doing that’s really important and that’s something I do every day now and it stuck with me.
IES Internships: What would you say are the career outcomes of your internship? How did it shape your career path or help you get a job?
AB: The internship opened up the door to my professional career completely. I fell in love with London and the Royal Academy of Arts so much that I decided to do my Masters [Degree] in London. So I did indeed go back to London, and I used them as references so that was a huge help in getting my Masters—having people there that I had worked with before and had relevant experience for a Masters in PR. I actually went back to them and did some work here and there while I was doing my Masters so I could have some hands-on work. They introduced me to my very first job, and I stayed in touch. I think it’s still really important to understand that you’re building a network and though you may never go back, these people can be completely helpful in your career. They have been to me, and I’m still very close with them today.
IES Internships: Why would you recommend an internship abroad?
AB: It’s probably one of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever have in your life, and you’ll never regret it. I constantly go back to the skills and memories I have from my internship and from being abroad and apply them in everything that I do. Now it’s become so habitual that it’s part of my every day, but if I really think back upon, that semester is really helpful in everything I’ve done since then.
Abby credits her IES Abroad London study and intern abroad program with giving her a clear career path, hands-on work experience, and intercultural skills. After a few years of working in the UK Abby returned to the United States, where she’s originally from, to work in PR in Chicago. When an Outreach Coordinator position at IES Abroad became available, Abby knew she was a natural fit for the role and joined the Marketing Department at IES Abroad in late summer 2016. Her international and professional experiences have truly come full circle!
Interested in participating in an internship experience like Abby’s? Check out all of our internship programs and apply for the London summer internship by February 10th, 2017.