Thinking of studying abroad for a semester? Westminster’s Undergraduate Semester Internship Study Abroad Programme is designed especially for students who would like to complement their academic studies with us here at Westminster. The programme is 12 weeks long, credited by the University of Westminster and a great chance to gain valuable work experience in the UK. To help you find out more, we will be running a series of interviews with incoming Study Abroad students. Many thanks to Victoria McDougal for sharing her experience with us in our first interview, joining us from Philadelphia University, USA and interning with Fluorescent PR.
Introducing Victoria McDougal
Hi! I am a Junior at Philadelphia University majoring in Fashion Merchandising and Management and minoring in Psychology. I am concentrating my studies on marketing and communications with the aim of securing a job in public relations or marketing for a fashion company. I love to travel and have studied abroad twice whilst in university; the first time to Paris for a short course and most recently to the University of Westminster for a semester. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, reading and blogging.
Deciding to study at Westminster
I decided to study at Westminster Business School because of the internship opportunities. In an industry as competitive as fashion it is imperative to be the strongest candidate that you can be. I knew that interning in London would provide me with invaluable insight into global business practices and culture. Westminster Business School also has an exceptional reputation and excellent course offering that made my time abroad extremely beneficial. I would absolutely recommend Westminster to other students. The classes are extremely interesting and are taught by passionate tutors. The student body is extremely diverse and I learned a lot from interacting with them.
Applying for an international internship!
The application process for the internship was extremely easy and stress free. Once I knew that I was accepted to study abroad at the University of Westminster, I began the application process. I had to fill out a questionnaire and write an essay describing myself and my skills to possible employers. After those were completed the process was in the hands of the Business Experience Team who coordinated with companies and set up interviews. I had to apply for a student Tier 4 Visa, which allowed me to work in the UK. Fortunately I had two different offers for internships and was able to choose which one I felt was the best opportunity for me.
An internship with Fluorescent PR
My experience at Fluorescent PR was exceptional. Everyone in the office was so knowledgeable and friendly, they taught me so much about public relations and London. At Fluorescent PR I was responsible for managing all press coverage, tracking and sending press samples, writing press releases and assisting with press events. Every morning I looked through newspapers and magazines to pull out all of the clients coverage to send to the appropriate account manager. From there I would look online for any blog posts or social media mentions. After that, my daily activities were different everyday depending on the upcoming events. I frequently went out of the office to deliver samples or pick up orders. Every day at Fluorescent PR was different and educational.
The main challenges of the internship
The main challenge of the internship was not being familiar with certain cultural aspects of the UK. Specific brands and holidays were different as well as the spelling of certain words. Everyone helped me out whenever I was unsure and I quickly learned a lot about the British way of life.
Internships and employability
By interning at Fluorescent PR I was able to take my knowledge of the classroom and apply it to a real-world situation. Putting concepts into use solidified my knowledge and gave me a wider understanding of the industry. I think hands-on experiences are the best way to increase your employability skills during your academic studies.
Balancing life and studies
At my home university I am very active on campus holding leadership positions in two different organizations. For myself the key to managing all of my work is scheduling my time through my planner. I keep an extremely detailed planner and I like to schedule out everyday to ensure that I get all of my work done. Outside of work and studies, I run a blog where I post about fashion, food and pop culture. In addition to that I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading and shopping of course!
The best piece of advice given to me by a teacher
The best advice I was ever given by a teacher was “Always listen to the people around you because you never know what you will learn from others.”
After graduation I hope to go to work in fashion public relations and go to graduate school. I would love to continue travelling the world and learn about more cultures.
Thank you again to Victoria McDougal for this interview! If you would like to find out more about Westminster’s Undergraduate Semester Internship Study Abroad Programme please visit our Education Abroad webpage.
The internship aspect of this programme is coordinated by Westminster Business School’s Business Experience Team, which sits within the University’s Career Development Centre.
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