Southern Utah University student Alexa Smith traveled to Cusco, Peru to participate in a 14-week Marketing & Communications internship. Read on to learn more about her experience and why you shouldn’t let the opportunity to intern abroad pass you by! Read more about Southern Utah University’s Semester Abroad in Peru with Intern Abroad HQ.
Hi Alexa! How did you find your first week in Peru?
The first week of my internship experience was amazing! There was a lot I needed to adjust to, but I adjusted better than I thought I would. I was expecting to feel a little uncomfortable during my first week, and while there were definitely things my body needed to get used to (like the food and altitude) I felt really happy and at ease! Right from the beginning I felt good about getting to work and school and what my responsibilities were going to be.
Tell us about your internship placement - what did it involve?
My internship placement was provided through a non-profit organization, which works to support community development in disadvantaged neighborhoods in and around Cusco. Their principal project was an after-school program in Tankarpata. Here, international interns and volunteers come from all over the world, to reinforce topics taught in school, as well as good values like proper hygiene, respect for others and the environment. They also partner with medical clinics to bring citizens of Tankarpata access to healthcare and they spearhead community projects, like building ecological kitchens for community members and running community clean-up initiatives in various neighborhoods.
As a Marketing & Communications intern, what was your role with this organization?
My primary role as an intern included running a fundraising campaign to collect school supplies for the children prior to the start of the new school year. I contributed many ideas, which resulted in a successful recollection of adequate materials and monetary donations. My proudest accomplishment was raising over $700 USD (or $2500 soles) over the course of a month to buy the kids everything they needed to have a successful school year.
My internship role benefited the organization greatly, as I was the only team member that is Adobe certified in Photoshop and Illustrator. This allowed me to contribute skills, as a Marketing & Communications intern, through the creation of promotional materials, as well as branding and style guide edits.
Aside from these key tasks, I was also able to offer ideas and guidance to volunteers, concerning new weekly themes or ways to teach the children at the school.
I facilitated short-term growth for the organization by brainstorming new content for both social media and the website, which in the long-term, will mean their website gets more traffic, the social media accounts gain a bigger following, and consumers gain more trust/brand loyalty for the company.
This experience taught me how to work with people across communication and cultural barriers/differences. As a result of this internship, I gained translation skills and improved international marketing techniques.
What breakthroughs did you make, which would positively impact your professional growth and career path?
The most memorable moment from my first week had to be the breakthroughs I had while getting established within my internship. I came across multiple stumbling blocks when diving into certain tasks and objectives but I managed to overcome each one with a little time, research, and collaboration.
Success to me is finding fulfillment in both the ups and downs of life. I know I’m successful when I can roll with the punches, and the hard days don’t feel so bad because I know I am struggling for something much bigger. I think the most success I have had during my internship was therefore recognizing things in myself that I want to foster or heal/change.
Being around the children also taught me a lot about myself and who I want to be moving forward. I learned a lot about what kind of work environment I want in the future. Everything I have learned - and the work I have done on myself - are among the most successful things I accomplished while in Peru.
What was your favorite memory or takeaway from this internship?
I did a whole lot of once-in-a-lifetime things, but I think my favorite memories include me and one of my friends sitting on a bench in a plaza with the sun on our faces and talking and playing cards and people watching. I miss the historic district of Cusco most of all!
What advice would you give to others considering an internship abroad?
I would tell them to go into the internship with very few expectations and be very open to going with the flow. I would encourage them to immerse themselves in the culture by observing and absorbing as much about it as possible. If they have questions, they should ask a trusted source like their host family, co-workers, or supervisor to prevent an intercultural misunderstanding. They should be willing to adapt to the cultural standards, both of the society of their internship as a whole and the work culture of the internship itself.
How can I get started?
Our step-by-step guide on how it works provides you with more information on how to get started. The process is user friendly and there are two options you can take to get the ball rolling.
If you’re unsure of which internship program is right for you, you can simply check availability to submit an enquiry which will help us to point you in the right direction. If you want to chat over the phone, you can also find our full contact information here.
If you already have an idea of what you want to do, and when you want to do it, you can submit your application. It doesn’t cost anything and won’t take more than 5 minutes. However, your formal expression of interest provides the foundation for us to help you take the next steps.