Learning to laugh at mistakes

I’ve learned a couple things from blogging:

1. I get a lot of traffic from people searching for mentorships at Barkley (an advertising agency in Kansas City), possibly because this blog is the second thing that comes up in a Google search. You can find specific information about this year’s application process on Barkley’s site. I’m also willing to answer questions you might have for a former Barkley intern. I worked there the past two summers, learned a ton and had a fantastic experience.

2. Blogging is a great way, especially for journalists, to explain why you did something. It’s also a good way to justify the silly things I have previously created. This is one of those blog posts.

Here is a video I created as a part of the application for an internship at Barkley:

I made this video when I was studying in Pamplona. The prompt was to create a video, any video, explaining why I should be hired for a summer internship.

The idea for this video stemmed from a cheesy radio advertisement for what was either an Italian restaurant or a jewelry store. The premise of the commercial was an overly dramatic voice speaking Italian and then an English “translation” saying something that was clearly not what the original line said.

Using my friends who spoke a whole host of languages, I created this video where they said terrible things about me in their native languages and I subtitled it  with positive statements. This video probably isn’t funny unless you have all of this explanation. When I made it, my mom mentioned the humor was a little hard to find, but I continued forward with the idea.

I recently just watched this video again. While it makes me cringe to think that less than a year ago I thought this was a good idea, I’m also glad I have it for the memories.  It also reminded me of a few more things:

1. When your abroad, you will make stupid mistakes. It’s OK. Laugh at yourself. It’ll be a joke in a few weeks.

2.  It’s definitely a good idea to listen to your editor…and your mom.

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Pamplona Guide: Having an International Experience

A group of my friends and I stand outside the Sagrada Familia, a church designed by Gaudí in Barcelona.

My biggest takeaway from my semester abroad is now having friends all over the world. Finding housing, living in another culture, using the language I’d been studying for so long and navigating a new university were all rewarding experiences. But when people ask me, “How was Spain?”, the first thing I tell them is about all the friends I made.

Making meaningful connections with students from all over the world made my experience so memorable. It wasn’t at all what I expected, and that turned out to be a good thing. There are two types mentalities that many American students start a study abroad experience with.

Scenario No. 1: “I want to fully immerse myself in the culture.”: I was definitely guilty of this mentality before I went abroad. Of course, we go abroad to speak that language, learn what it is like to live in another country and trade your culture for another one for a few months. But a complete immersion experience usually isn’t possible. Think about your life. How many times has your group of friends befriended an exchange student? Sure, we all meet international students and become friends to varying degrees of closeness. But students at your university abroad don’t become best friends with the international students for the same reasons that you don’t do that at home. They’re busy, they have a full load of classes and they already have established lives, friends and obligations. Continue reading

Hire me! Highlighting international experiences on your resume

Typing Resume

How you present international experience to a potential employer can make all the difference in showing versatility, adaptability and cultural skills

It might just be me, but it seems like real world realizations have started hitting everybody this week. It’s October already. Where has the semester gone? Holy crap, it’s time to start seriously thinking about jobs, internships or grad school. 

So as you freshen up your resume and polish your applications, here are a few things to consider when talking about your international experience.

1. Give them context. Not all international programs are the same. If you studied at a university, highlight that under your education. If you did an internship, frame it like other internships on your resume. Briefly and clearly explain what you did and the skills that you gained.

2. Don’t just tell them, show them. Many journalism or strategic communications internships require you to submit clips. Including a clip of something you did while abroad will not only give your potential employer a more robust understanding of what you did, but showcases a different set of skills, whether technical, cultural or linguistic.

Continue reading