Like many freshman students attending their college of choice for the first year, I was overly excited and motivated to gain new experiences. I joined numerous clubs, got involved in Greek life, attended freshman dorm events, and went to the many fairs put on by the Memorial Union (the study abroad fair in particular).
Rarely would I take on these events alone, though. My partner in crime of freshman year, my roommate, and best friend I had made and I took on most of these events together. Studying abroad was just one of the many experiences we both hoped to take on while in college. We talked about traveling and Google image searched all sorts of cool places around the world fairly often. At this point, though, we were only freshman and studying abroad was just an idea in its most advanced stage.
During my freshman year spring break, I was lucky enough to take my second trip to Puerto Rico. This is the closest I’ve come to traveling outside of the country (Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory) and I had amazing experiences both times! It’s eye-opening to travel to a place with a completely different culture and way of life, and I loved every minute I spent there. This was just another stepping stone to the possibility of a study abroad experience.
This photo takes place in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Exploring the beautiful buildings and shops along the cobblestone streets was one of my favorite parts of the trip.
Fast-forwarding a year and a half, I had just completed my sophomore year of college and was ready to take on my first internship at a global company called Thomson Reuters (TR). A little background on Thomson Reuters: Basically, the company is one of the leading technology innovators of the legal world. TR works with lawyers of all fields and company sizes to keep them up-to-date with technology that makes their job easier. There, my primary role as marketing intern was to manage their social media accounts daily. I worked mostly with Twitter, since they had the best responses through this channel, but also made posts for Facebook and LinkedIn. My experience at TR was incredible and I learned more than I thought I could in a three-month program. It also furthered my interest in social media marketing, which is why the Iowa State study abroad social media internship position is an awesome experience for me. I am able to take what I learned from my internship and apply that knowledge to this position, while also picking up new skills by using different social media channels than I worked with at TR, such as Instagram and blogging.
Thomson Reuters not only taught me that social media is one of the most responsive means of marketing during this time period, but I was also able to meet with many professionals for one-on-one conversations. Each individual I met with throughout that summer had their own advice for me and experiences to back that up, but I found there was one commonality within each and every conversation: In one way or another, they all said their biggest regret from college/before starting their career was not traveling. They all had made excuses for themselves, from not having the money, to not having the time, to even not wanting to leave their significant other; but everyone regretted not taking the time to travel. This really made me think about my future and jump-started my research on Iowa State’s study abroad opportunities.
There is an opportunity for everyone. From any country one could possibly want to travel to, to the time period of the trip. You just have to go and find the right fit for you. My fit ended up being a semester abroad in Florence, Italy with my roommate from freshman year, and I could not be more excited.
An international trip has many amazing experiences to offer. I’m still a month away from leaving to go abroad and I already know this semester will be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I am thrilled I have the opportunity to share these experiences with my friends, family, travelers, and Iowa State students who plan to, or are thinking of traveling abroad during their time at ISU through the power of social media.