Madison Marino - 2016 Program Participant

What inspired you to go abroad?

I have always wanted to go abroad but never had the opportunity. My original desire to go to London was because of One Direction and Harry Potter, but what really inspired me to go abroad was when my older sister went to Madrid the year before. The second she got back all she talked about was her trip. It was probably the most annoying thing but only because I was extremely jealous.

Hearing all her stories and seeing her incredible pictures made me want to have my own experience just like that. I wanted the chance to grow personally and professionally in another country where I could also gain more cultural knowledge. Going abroad would give me the opportunity to travel and see the world with my own eyes and not just through other people's pictures.

Tower Bridge, London
Tower Bridge, London

Why did you choose We Find Group?

I chose We Find Group because of the great reviews I heard about the program. My sister and a few other friends participated in the Intern in Madrid program through We Find Group and they all had incredible things to say. 

I was hesitant to join the program because I had no previous internship experience, but one of the Madrid participants said something to me that actually convinced me to go through with the program. She told me that this was the perfect time for me as a sophomore to join the program, because We Find Group puts all their time and effort into finding the best internship for you to help you get the experience you need. They are there every step of the way to help you get prepared. Ten minutes after this conversation I applied to the program.

What was your favorite part about London?

To be honest, everything about London was absolutely amazing! There are so many great places to see, and things to do in London. I love how you can easily just hop on the tube and get off a stop later and experience a different part of the city. I was there for two months and I still feel like I didn't get to explore all of London.

Edinburgh, Scotland
My weekend trip to Edinburgh

What made your experience abroad unique?

Besides the chance to explore London, I think my work experience made my experience even more unique. After my first few days at my internship, I was scared out of my mind and thought there was no way I was going to be happy here, even though I was in London. But my program director encouraged me to stay positive and stick it out.

Of course she was right. I ended up loving my internship. My coworkers were awesome and made my work experience ten times better. Their passion for what they were doing made me actually enjoy all the projects I had the opportunity to work on. Also, having the chance to travel with a group of your friends from your school made it even more awesome.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

Our program director actually traveled to London with us. She helped us prepare up until we actually went to London, and during our internship. We had weekly meetings with her to discuss our performance and how we were adjusting. Our program director was available for us whenever we needed and for whatever reason!

I ended up getting sick during my time in London and it was actually scary because I had no idea what to do, because I was in another country away from my parents. The process of going to a practitioner was actually so easy and they were so nice, but it was so helpful having the support from my program director to help me figure out where to seek a doctor and I couldn't have done it without her.

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

One thing I wish I would have done differently was use my time more efficiently. There were a lot of nights I stayed in because I was tired from working all day, but I really wish I would have forced myself to explore more of London. There was so much more that I wanted to see!

Tourist in front of Big Ben, London
Typical tourist picture in front of Big Ben

Describe a typical day in the life of your program.

I would take the tube every morning and get to work around 9 a.m. The tube during rush hour is absolutely insane. There are so many people trying to cram onto one train, so I usually left a little early so I could wait for the tube line that was always least crowded in order to get a seat. I worked from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. When I got home from work I usually would make dinner or meet up with the other students on our program to get dinner and drinks. After that we would all go find something new and exciting to go explore.

What did you enjoy doing in your free time?

I loved traveling during my free time. I loved how in London you could travel to a completely different country in such a short amount of time, and for a reasonable price. One weekend, my roommate and I were able to take a train to Edinburgh, Scotland. I also loved going to parks and relaxing with friends after work. The parks in London are all beautiful and so nice to just relax and enjoy the scenery.

What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?

The accommodations were very nice! I liked how not only were we in the same building with the students on our program, but we also got to meet other students from all over the world who were also doing internships and studying. I also loved the location of our accommodation. We lived in such a central location and right next to the Liverpool Station, which gave us easy access to so many tube lines. This allowed us to get to so many places in London.

What is one thing every participant should know before participating in your program?

When you first get to your country, it may be scary at first and will take some time to adjust. But don't let that scare you at all! You just have to get through that first week because I promise you it will be the best two months you'll experience!

Buckingham Palace, London
Buckingham Palace

Now that you're home, how has your program abroad impacted your life?

Now that I am home, I know that I definitely miss working in London everyday! I have gained so many skills, and a lot of knowledge, and I know I have definitely grown over the past two months. 

I stepped out of my comfort zone and feel more confident about myself. 

I now feel ready and prepared to step into the workforce. And now that I know what it's like to be abroad, all I want to do is go back and travel.

Would you recommend We Find Group to others? Why?

I would 100% recommend We Find Group to anyone interested in going abroad. I gained so much from this internship while also having the chance to see the world and meet some incredible people! We Find Group makes sure you have the best experience and care for you every step of the way. We Find Group isn't just there before and during the program, there are also always available for help even after.