My Internship placement in the USA

​Hayley is from the UK and is currently living and working in the USA at a company based in Southern California. Hayley is completing an internship work placement sponsored by MyEducation (UK) and Aspire ASSE. Hayley was lucky enough to find a wonderful work placement with a US company which has allowed her to experience work in one of the largest economies in the world and also travel around and experience life in the USA. Hayley has very kindly taken the time to share her experience so far with us and she shows how her internship has offered her opportunities that may not have been possible at home.

What internship position are you doing in the USA and how long have you been there?

The internship I am doing in the USA is for a company called the Ken Blanchard Companies. They are an international company and are the global leaders for leadership and development. My role as an intern is to work within different departments throughout my time here and take on various projects which will help with my development and also bring new skills and a fresh perspective to the individual projects. I arrived in the USA in late June 2015 and my placement will end in May.

What motivated you to apply to work in the USA?

I am currently studying to get a degree in business studies in Liverpool. As part of my course we have the opportunity after our second year to work in industry for a year. While many people were applying for positions in the UK, I had always had a desire to see how businesses functioned in a more international sense. When the chance to work for the Ken Blanchard Companies was presented to me, I knew this would be an invaluable experience for my career and myself. I have always loved to travel and to be able to tick America off my list was a no brainer (especially Southern California!)​

What have you learnt about yourself ,your career and your work while under going the internship position?

Since being here I have learned that I am not as independent as I thought I was and that I still rely on my parents a huge amount. I am glad I learned this about myself as it is definitely something I want to work on when I return home. I have also learned that I find it really difficult being away from my family for a long period of time as we are very close. Moving around different departments in the organisation has given me a good idea of what parts of a business I have an interest in and which parts I probably won’t pursue in the future. This has been great as it will give me a good idea of the types of job I will be suited to when I leave university as I didn’t have a clue beforehand.

How does the work environment in the USA differ from the work environment in the UK?

In Southern California the working environment is much more laid back compared to the UK. Dress codes are much more informal than I would have predicted before coming here and working hours are very flexible. At the company I work for there is a huge emphasis on work being fun and enjoyable. They put on many events and lunches throughout the year to give employees a chance to relax and socialise during working hours. This is something which I found to be completely different from working in the UK.

How easy was it to set yourself up in the USA in terms of housing, transport, food, making friends etc.?

It is hard to speak for the whole of America as it is so huge, so I will aim my answer to Southern California specifically as I know that other places are very different. In terms of setting myself up it was fairly easy, I had connections at the company I am working for before I came and luckily a family had a room in their house that they were willing to rent to me. From there they made me feel so at home and really helped me set myself up for the rest of the year. They helped me to find a car as this is essential in SoCal as there is virtually no public transport and everything is so spread out. 

This is really something that needs to be considered before coming because even nipping to the shop is virtually impossible and Uber trips add up in the end. I have found making friends the most difficult part of being here due to the fact that I am not really around people my age due to not being in a school environment. My advice would be to immerse yourself in the things that you are interested in and be outgoing.

What have you been able to do and see out side of work?

Since being in California I have had the opportunity to do lots of amazing things. I have been to baseball games, seen live music concerts, had a hot air balloon ride, visited palm springs, LA, downtown San Diego, Coronado Island, I have been to the Temecula rod run to see all the classic American cars and visited many beaches all along the West Coast. I also have a trip to Vegas planned before I leave so that I can go out of state and see how it differs to California which I am very excited about. These experiences have all been invaluable and are things that I will never forget!​

What are your plans when you return to the UK?

When I return to the UK I plan to relax and spend time catching up with my family and friends as I have missed them all incredibly. Then I will be going back to university in September to complete my final year to achieve my BA(hons) degree. After that I plan to spend another year studying to get a masters degree in a similar field of study. Then I will probably spend a lot of time travelling as I have definitely got the travel bug and am so keen to see the rest of the world!

What have you most enjoyed about the experience and what has been the

toughest part?

The best part of the experience was meeting incredibly inspiring business people through work and making connections that I would never of had the opportunity to do if I hadn’t come here. The thing I enjoyed second most was waking up to the sun everyday and it instantly putting you in a good mood!

The thing I have found the most difficult is being away from my family and making friends to share the experience with and make it a little easier. I would definitely recommend making some connections before making a big move as it will make the experience a lot easier and more enjoyable!

How have My Education (UK) and Aspire helped you along the way?

MyEducation were a huge help before I moved to California. The staff helped me every step of the way with my visa application and any questions I had they answered almost instantly – they went above and beyond to help me with the whole process and I really would have been lost without them! Since being in the States it is nice to have MyEducation and Aspire checking in to make sure everything is still ok and having the security of knowing if I ever need a hand they are there to help.

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