Interning as a requirement in college doesn't mean you can't travel too, writes Lauren Ennis.
Travelling is one of those things that you’ve got to just get up and do if you want to do it! That is something that I have learned in the past few months.
See, about six months ago, my heart broke as I came to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to travel this summer because I have to complete a two-month summer internship as part of my degree.
Thinking that my only option was to secure an internship in Ireland, I never even considered the possibility of having the best of both worlds and doing my internship abroad. Until one day I just thought, why not?
Fast forward six months and I am packing my bags to spend my summer interning with ITV America in New York.
A lot of college courses, including mine (Journalism in DCU), have INTRA as a requirement and while most of the time frames for INTRA fall within the academic year, mine was scheduled for this coming summer.
Obviously when I decided to do this course, I knew that a summer internship was a requirement and it was never something I had an issue with. However, after spending three months on a J1 last year, I quickly caught the travelling bug and just knew I would want to spend another summer away.
All I could think afterwards was ‘where to next?’ I wanted to get on another plane and leave as soon as I could but when I thought about it, it seemed like it would be a long time before I could go again. I was coming back to complete my final year in college so that was the next nine months gone and then my internship was set to take place the following summer so I scrapped the idea of being able to travel then too.
Then I started to think about afterwards. I would need to start finding a job pretty quickly and an ideal candidate would not be someone who was going to take time out within the first few years to travel so that marked off another chunk off my calendar. I quickly started to feel like I was never going to get away for another long-term break but the truth was, I was just being too close minded.
It is kind of natural to be focused on doing your INTRA in Ireland. Every INTRA talk focused on Irish employers and every job that was put up on the INTRA portal was based in Ireland. However, as easy as it seemed and despite all of the great opportunities that were made available in Ireland, I knew my heart just wasn’t content with not getting to travel for another summer.
So, I looked into it a bit. I worked out the possibilities of interning abroad and it turns out it isn’t has hard as it may seem.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is a lot involved and you have to do everything yourself. You have to find the job, secure the job, file the paper work, have the job approved by your college and then sort out work visas and there are a million ways which you can go about this. But you know what they say, nothing is impossible!
For me, I knew I wanted to work in NYC and that I wanted to work with a TV station which made things a little easier. I looked into which stations in the city took on international interns and after that, it was all about putting in a bit of elbow grease!
I sent an email to all the TV stations I was interested in explaining who I am, what I am looking for and I attached a cover letter personalised to each station and a C.V for their review. It kind of felt hopeless at the time just sending emails and I did kind of feel like I wouldn’t get anywhere but it was all about being able to say that I tried.
A few weeks later, I got a reply from ITV expressing interest and, following two different skype interviews, I was offered a position with them for the summer and that was that!
Sorting out everything is a lot of work but if you put the time into it, it isn’t all that hard. All I can say is don’t be afraid to give things a go. If you want something, give it your best shot and you might just be surprised at the result… I know I’m still pinching myself!