30 Jul A Life-Changing Summer on the London Program – Paola Barbosa
I always tell students how incredible and brave they all are by getting out of their comfort zones and making the important decision of going abroad for their summer internship. Fun? They will have loads of it, but they should keep in mind the main reason they are here is to show their talent as professionals and to improve their skills, in order to develop their future careers. In fact, if we analyze carefully, the same applies to Absolute Internship Program Coordinators – in my case, at the London Summer Program.
The moment I arrived in London, I knew I would experience culture shocks. I am a Brazilian, who has been living in Spain, and now I’m responsible for a group of American, Chinese, Indian, Canadian, Jordanian, Australian, Emirati, Albanian, Nepalese and French students. all together. Honestly, I LOVE it! Just like the students, I also had to acclimate to the new environment and its customs. But at the same time, I need to stay focused and keep calm, showing the students that I am ready to help them with any problem or culture shock they might experience.
I would say the individual care, tailored to each student with different cultural backgrounds, is my main responsibility and what I like the most. My main advice for anyone dealing with a multi-national environment is to listen. If anything happens to a student, I like to listen to their part of the story, and understand their point of view, taking into consideration the culture they are coming from. The key is finding the common ground among these differences and change a problem into a challenge. Once we do that, everything can be easily solved! Personally, I learn a lot from my students on a daily basis and their different cultures. And believe me when I say it, I learn A LOT from them.
One of the other things I love about being a Program Coordinator is the event planning tasks. Our students have multiple group activities and trips. Making sure everything is well planned, so they have a great time, is one of my priorities. I act like a leader so they know that they can count on me for any help they need. But when it comes to the time to enjoy an activity, I love sitting next to them, talking about how their experiences are going, and I am always surprised with everything they have to tell me. And by the end of these activities, it is incredibly satisfying to see their smiles, their pictures, and all the experiences they’ll take with them.
“I am honestly so thankful to meet such incredible and enlightening people as the Absolute Tribe.”