Tales from the Intern

Hello everyone,

My first week of the second half of the semester is over.  This means that I’m approaching the end of my term here in London (Jennifer makes a sad face while typing this line).  However, it also means that I have attended the first week of my international internship!

The first day at work last week was quite an adjustment.  I have never worked at a start-up company before, nonetheless a UK start-up company.  One of the most obvious cultural dimensions that is different between this British internship and my past American internship is the way the office is laid out.  In London, the company I work for shares an office space with more than forty other start-up companies.  There are no desks.  However, there are long tables that stretch across the entire floor.  Our company takes up half of one of these tables.  On my very first day of work I sat next to one of the company’s co-founders.  There are no barriers in these types of organizations.  This is different from most American companies because Americans like to distance themselves from their co-workers.  The “American Dream” is to work your way so high up the ladder that you get the corner office with a door that closes, so you have more time to do your important work alone.  This difference in culture is very large and was easy to notice within the first few minutes of my internship.  I still think that open office layout plans are strange though.  This is definitely an adjustment that I am going to have to make.  However, I was aware of this difference before my first day.  Living in London and talking to locals helped prepare me for this cultural dimension.  I am a lot more aware of my actions and behaviors as I work now though, especially since any of my co-workers can glance up from their laptops and watch me from across the table.

On my first day I was able to get a feel for the company by playing around on filmdoo’s website and watching some free short films.  Then, I took notes on what I liked and thought could be improved upon.  Different points-of-view usually lead to a better result in the end.  After this, I gave my input on the company’s social media accounts and usage.  I took on my own project and redesigned the company’s tumblr.  You can view my work here at: http://www.filmdoo.tumblr.com

Throughout the week I mostly participated in research.  I researched potential film festivals that we can obtain short films from.  Within the next few weeks, I should be helping the company fundraise and looking at the finances.  I am super excited to work on these numbers with my co-worker stationed in Australia.  I think that this company is a good fit for me because it is truly an international business (and I am planning on getting my Masters in International Business).

Other than working last week, I took a midterm in my British Life and Business class and attended my first internship class.  It is amazing how much the UF business school taught me my first year.  I knew about almost everything we discussed in our internship class.  Since I only have these two classes now on Mondays and Tuesdays, I have the afternoons free. On Monday I visited the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square.  Today, I went on a field trip with my BLB class to Shakespeare’s Globe.  We learned about present and past day Shakespeare plays.  The tour was very interesting.  Each and every day I try to explore London further.  I’m trying to make the most of the time I have left.

Speaking of trying to get everything done in London, I visited the Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio this weekend and went on a tour.  I spent three hours wandering through sets from the films and looking at old props and costumes worn by the actors in the film.  The Harry Potter nerd in me was thrilled by all of the scenery.  Simultaneously, the film geek in me loved seeing all the behind the scenes sets.  The preservation of the sets was more than I could ask for.  I was able to enter the fictional world that ruled my childhood for so long.  I love the Harry Potter films and novels.  I could not have asked for a better way to spend my Sunday afternoon in London.

Each and every day I fall more in love with this city.  I know this sounds like a cliché; however, I mean every word I say.  Every part of London has its own culture and there is so much to do that one could continue to explore this city for their entire life and still never be able to do it all.  London is incredible and I will not want to leave in two months’ time.  However, that also means that my return to this glorious city will be ten times sweeter.  Fortunately, I do not have to think about this for quite some time.  My mother and sister are coming to visit me for the next two weeks, and I am so excited to get to show them where I have been living for the past two months.  I just hope they love it as much as I do.

Goodbye for now,

Jennifer Saporito

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