Rachael is a senior CCPA major from St. Petersburg, Florida, who is working for Pants to Poverty:
The Europeans in my workplace network in the truest sense of the word. They share with great vulnerability and blunt honesty regarding potential ideas and upcoming projects, unlike most Americans who fear sharing would somehow lead to “stolen” concepts.
Yesterday during lunch, I sat in a park for over an hour with fellow office members discussing a potential side project someone was particularly passionate about pursuing. As I sat there I thought, “I don’t see this happening in the States, period, the end!” Truthfully, I was experiencing a bit of anxiety about sitting there for so long without something tangible to accomplish besides thinking and strategizing.
This moment, although just a flash in my London experience, best identifies the social enterprise culture as well as, in some respects, European organizational culture. Even though the British hurry through the underground, they take moments out of their day to read the paper, even if it is a tabloid. I read more hard news covering American politics in the newspaper while abroad than I do back in the States perusing the New York Times or clicking through CNN.com.
As a responsibility of my internship with Pants to Poverty, I am planning and executing a fashion show to be held at the annual Big Chill Summer Festival at Eastnor Castle. Working on this project has provided first-hand exposure to the power and necessity of collaboration for start-up organizations. Contact with collaborators must occur constantly. The essential concept of give and take is never-ending, which produces quite the learning curve for this only child!
Getting into a “grown up” routine drives home the reality that in a few short months I will be leaving the comfort of SMU and walk into the workforce with benefits! That’s still a big pill to swallow. An international internship has created the environment to embrace the European lunch-in-the-park mentality. Success is inevitable when you’re well prepared, surrounded by genuinely supportive people taking the time to savor the spectacular sights along the way.