Alumni Spotlight: Lauren Neilson

Lauren is a twenty year old student at Truman State University in Missouri, where she will graduate from this December. She is currently working for Global Experiences as a Resident Assistant in London and completing her TEFL certification.

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Where was your best photo taken and what was it of?

Lauren: My best photo was taken at the ceremony for the Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship. The photo is of my supervisor, co-workers and I meeting Hillary Clinton before she goes on stage to receive the honor of having a Fulbright scholarship in her name. The event was a great networking opportunity; you’ll notice in the group photo is also Mrs. Harriet Fulbright herself!

What did Global Experiences do for you and what did you need to do on your own?

Lauren: Global Experiences basically did all of the pre-departure work for me so that getting to my internship wasn’t difficult.

Global Experiences found my internship placement, connected me with a supervisor with whom I would have my interview, provided me with pre-departure webinars full of useful information regarding my stay in Washington, D.C, assisted me with information on how to set up a payment plan, placed me in my accommodation, planned several group outings/ excursions to familiarize the interns and I with the area and all it has to offer, assigned on-site staff, supplied me with medical insurance, and conducted site visits to my company to ensure that things were running smoothly.

On my own I needed to apply to the program, attend my interview, purchase airfare, and figure out how to navigate public transportation.

What is one piece of advice you'd give future Global Experiences students?

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Lauren: It is really important to manage expectations and set personal goals for yourself. Experiences like these will always be exactly what you make them.

If you start your internship with a negative attitude, your experience will be negative, but at the same time, if you hit the ground running, work really hard, and have a positive attitude, your summer internship could be the best thing that has ever happened to you personally and professionally.

My summer internship with Global Experiences opened doors for me that I never would have thought possible and I will always be grateful for my involvement with their programs in Washington and London!

How has this experience impacted your future?

Lauren: My experience as an intern in Washington, D.C taught me a lot about myself. As a young adult living on my own, I had to figure out how to be my own person. I had to choose how I wanted to be viewed by my peers and other young professionals and worked hard to build upon the professional skills that I had learned from Global Experiences and my education.

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Professionally, I was able to make personal connections with professionals that inspired me and encouraged me to work very hard to get what I wanted out of my short time and new relationships.

Living alone and working in a professional setting gave me the opportunity to explore myself in a new environment and to learn how to be independent and responsible in a way that previous experiences hadn’t.

Along with taking advantage of the networking opportunities, I was able to explore what I did and did not want my career to be like in the future, with regards to work schedule, commute time, office dynamics, and so on, which is a really valuable thing to learn as a young professional!