I had a few different options for a summer abroad, but none totally delivered what I wanted. I was struggling to find an internship, but I also had a desire to spend some time away from home. Originally, combining both of them seemed totally out of reach, but then I found City Internships and was quickly convinced that it was a good route to do both of the things I wanted.
Alumni Spotlight: Jason Larkin
Jason was born in India, but grew up in the UK. He's a Business Administration graduate from San Jose State University, who likes to travel and read strange books on obscure modelling theories.
Why did you choose this program?
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
City Internships were pretty great, actually. There are limits that they can't help with, but they were pretty reasonable - lots of the other interns were from all around the world so we had to sort our own flights. They do accommodation though, which I did take up as I'd never been to London before, and was really glad I did.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
City Internships were really good about the internship placement process, and I learned loads during that, but I think I could have made my life a bit easier if I'd thought more clearly about what I wanted.
Overall I probably had really high expectations but I quickly found in my internship that getting the chance to trade options wasn't going to happen, so that was a steep learning curve that I realize now, had to happen. That's definitely one thing the program gave me, a much more mature perspective.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
The internship was pretty much normal working hours. My host company was pretty flexible but I think it'd vary on who you're with.
Every week there was either a social or a career type seminar, sometimes both. They weren't mandatory, but I quickly made friends by attending them, and loads of the seminar content was new to me.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
I've always enjoyed traveling, so I don't think the prospect of leaving home really bothered me. The scariest part was leaving a structured environment that I was used to from school - essentially being told exactly what to do and where to be, but in reality, the program had enough of that to get help if I needed it, which I rarely did. "Overcoming" that was really just a matter of getting on with things - by the time my first week in my internship ended, I knew the independence in another country was the least of my worries, and focusing on what I was learning was more important.
Any other tips for other prospective travelers?
I would encourage everyone to push themselves into the unexpected! Coming into the program with a really rigid idea of what I wanted to intern in and what skills I need as a result was probably unnecessary. City Internships encouraged flexibility and openness, and I wish I'd listened to that earlier. I loved my internship, and I don't think I would swap it or have any regrets, but at like 21 years old when I did the program, it's clear now that I did not know how to conquer the world, as much as I thought I did - maybe I would have explored a different career or something and City Internships would have been a great way to do that.
So yeah, my lesson learned is to be open-minded and consider everything!