The first time I thought about studying abroad was over winter break sophomore year, when my friend Adam told me he was going abroad to China for the summer. Adam’s excitement rubbed off on me, but I figured that by the time I got back to campus it’d be too late to apply to any summer abroad programs. My other concern was that I didn’t need credit and wanted work experience relating to my financial economics major. After looking at the study abroad office website, I discovered EPA Internships in Europe, which would give me a relevant internship coupled with everything I wanted in an abroad experience. Five months later I was on my way to London.
For my internship, I selected the “Business” category and was placed at a tech startup in trendy East London called Signal. The startup environment was a fantastic setting to work in because it gave me an intimate view of a developing business. Every member of the company was in the same room, even the CEO, so I was lucky enough to interact and learn from programmers, marketers, and executives. The other perk of my internship was its unique location. Signal’s office was just off of London’s famous Brick Lane, home to Indian restaurants, vintage clothes stores, and high fashion pop-up shops. Exploring during my lunch or after work was always an adventure. At Signal I concentrated on content marketing and lead generation, which meant I was learning how to create and market content that would appeal to prospective clients. The work was interesting and valuable, and having such a unique experience on my resume definitely helped me stand out when applying for other positions.
Apart from my internship, I spent my time exploring London or traveling on the weekends. EPA’s housing was in central London, which made it a quick trip to any of the surrounding areas. Working only part-time and taking one class left me with plenty of time to discover bookstores, museums, or even a quiet spot to sit and people watch. I was also able to travel on extended weekends, taking a trip up to Edinburgh, flying over to Barcelona, and then taking the Chunnel to Paris after my internship was finished. While London alone was definitely enough to occupy anyone for ten short weeks, I was lucky enough to be able to take advantage of the city’s close proximity to other exciting places.
My time with EPA Internships in Europe gave me an experience I will always remember. Not only was I able to live abroad and travel to my dream destinations, I was also gaining hard skills and general work experience that well-positioned me for subsequent internship opportunities. I will look back at my summer in London as one of the highlights of my time in college.
Alex Crawford, University of Rochester Class of 2017 (London, summer 2016)