Traveling has always been something that I wanted to do. I love learning about other cultures and world history, so I always wanted to explore as much of the world as possible. Being in college has given me the opportunity to begin that journey and experience so many new places. Specifically, I have wanted to go to London since I was younger, and being able to participate in a program that gave me the opportunity to both work and explore at the same time seemed to be a dream come true.
Why did you choose We Find Group?
I heard about the program through my roommate last year. It was advertised through the business school here, but I was able to participate because I have a business minor. We went to the information session together, and I thought it was an amazing opportunity to travel to a city that I have wanted to go to for some time now.
What was your favorite part about London?
London, and the UK more broadly, is an absolutely amazing place. I can't really pinpoint one particular thing that I love the most about it. London is such a huge city that I was able to spend two months there and still have items left on my to-do list. It's such a diverse city with so many cool neighborhoods and so much history that you can find things to do no matter what you are interested in.
Another great thing about London is how central it is to the rest of the UK and parts of Europe. The train system is so expansive that you can easily access so many places, and there are also a lot of airports in the London area that you won't have a problem finding cheap flights for a weekend destination.
What made your experience interning abroad unique?
My experience abroad was unique because I got the best of both worlds with exploring and working. As a second-year, I really wanted to get an internship for the summer, but I also wanted to travel. This program really allows you to do both at the same time, which I would say is pretty unique. I left the program with tangible work experience with an organization that is related to my major. BritishAmerican Business was kind enough to publish one of the articles that I wrote on their website, and I really couldn't ask for more from an employer.
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
Madison was our resident director while in London and she was amazing. She stayed with us in the accommodations and was always available to chat, and she made sure to check-in with us on a weekly basis to make sure we were acclimating to London as well as our internships. Additionally, Madison was a great resource, since she has been in London for a few summers and she has been to so many places in Europe now that she always had a recommendation for a place to go eat or a hostel to stay in if you're going to another city. It was really great to have her coordinating our trip and being a friend as well.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
I wish that I had taken more opportunity to explore outside of London. I went to two other countries and roughly four other cities within the UK (yes, that was quite a bit of travelling), but I always wished that I had done more. London is just so huge that I wanted to spend a lot of weekends there as well. I don't really regret any of the choices that I made because I had an amazing time, but I think just travelling and exploring more would have made it even better.
Describe a typical day in the life of your program.
Here's how a typical day would go: Usually, I would wake up and get ready for work around 7 a.m. At 8 a.m., I would leave to go to work. I took the Tube (the Underground) to work every day and it was about an hour ride. The work day was from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an hour break for lunch. During the day I would have team meetings, work on various projects, and run the Twitter account. At 5 p.m. I would leave work and grab dinner to-go from somewhere close to work, or grab a drink with some of my co-workers. Then I would take the Tube to a park or area of the city where I could sit and eat and then walk around afterwards. Around 7 p.m., I would go back to my apartment and talk with my family, and then shower and head to bed!
What did you enjoy doing in your free time?
In my free time, I definitely did my fair share of exploring. Sometimes I would just take the Tube to an area of London that I hadn't been before and walk around for a few hours or the entire day. I also had a checklist of items that I wanted to do or see, so I would make sure to utilize time after work and on weekends to make sure that I saw as much as possible! Once I had been in London for a while, I didn't really feel too much like a tourist, so sometimes after work I would grab some drinks and some snacks and just head to one of the many parks in London and enjoy the evening with a book and people watch.
What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?
Our accommodation was a really nice place. The rooms provided all the necessities, including a mini kitchen as well as a small sitting area and a bathroom in the room. The view from the apartment building was really nice, the neighborhood of Shoreditch was a really cool area, and the Spitalfields market was right around the corner. Inside the apartment complex was laundry facilities, on the 32nd was a bar area with food and amazing views of London, and the 33rd floor had a study space/library area that was really nice for some quiet time.
My favorite part about the accommodation was the location. We were a three minute walk from Liverpool Street Station, which could get you anywhere in the city fairly quickly. And like I said before, Spitalfields and Shoreditch were really trendy neighborhoods with a lot of places to eat and plenty of unique shops/boutiques too.
What is one thing every participant should know before participating in your program?
One thing every participant should know prior to participating in the program is to always seize the opportunity. Several once-in-a-lifetime opportunities will present themselves for you while abroad, and I encourage you to say yes.
Whether it is going somewhere with your co-workers after work, watching a tennis match, going to a pub with friends, or joining other participants on a trip somewhere, I encourage you to say yes, because some of the most memorable experiences that I have from my time in Europe include things I didn't originally plan on doing.
Now that you're home, how has your time abroad impacted your life?
My time abroad has impacted my life by making me much more well-rounded culturally and professionally. It has also fostered my desire to go back to London as soon as possible. I learned so much with my internship and the opportunities that were provided for me through the company I worked for were unforgettable. They allowed me to go to conferences and panels on behalf of the organization, and that was an incredible feeling. They genuinely cared about my opinion and input that I could provide for them, so it was a really special experience. Living in London has also left a permanent place in my heart for the city. I miss everything about it and can't wait to go back!
Would you recommend We Find Group’s London program to others? Why?
I would absolutely recommend this program to others because it was life-changing. Being able to life in another country for almost the entire summer allows you to gain a different perspective about the city and the world around you. In this program, you don't feel like a tourist whatsoever, and it really acclimates you to another place, but London isn't too different where you might feel a drastic culture shock.
Professionally, this program has also made my resume stand out against other candidates when applying for internships after the fact. I always get asked about living and working in London, so it definitely sets you apart!
A third-year student majoring in political science and minoring in business and international studies at The Ohio State University, Ashley is originally from Hampshire, Illinois. Prior to interning abroad in London, she interned for a Member of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, Ontario. Ashley interned for BritishAmerican Business in London, while also traveling to Paris, Edinburgh, and Copenhagen. She currently works as a resident manager for the Office of Residence Life at Ohio State.