This past summer I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take part in the IES Milan study abroad program. I spent my summer taking two classes and also working as an intern. I was a digital marketing intern at a small Italian start-up called Banale. Not only was this my first internship, but it was also my first experience working in an office setting. Interning abroad was a whirlwind experience with its highs and its lows. While I struggled to adjust to various cultural differences, I also developed many skills. Both the challenges encountered, and lessons learned from studying abroad have set me up to be a successful professional in the future.
I have always been fascinated by Italy and Italian culture, but if you would have told me that I would be spending 2 months living and working in Milan last year I wouldn’t have believed you. Going to live in another country on a different continent was an idea that was completely out of my comfort zone. There were so many cultural differences that made me extremely overwhelmed at first, but as I adjusted, and the culture shock wore off I grew to love these differences. Everything from the little rules about what kinds of coffee you can drink at certain times, to the big differences such as the laid-back work culture made my experience authentic and an incredible learning opportunity.
Not only was I able to experience the city of Milan, but I was also able to experience the rest of the country with weekend trips to different parts of Italy. After 8 weeks, I left Italy feeling like I had gotten the true, authentic Italian experience. I loved my time in Italy. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.