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  • nn1702a 6:23 pm on December 9, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , learning,   

    It’s Been Real… 

    The day has come, unfortunately today is my last day in the office. It’ s bittersweet because this semester is almost over and I will be abroad in one more month! However, I am going to miss having to wake up in the mornings and catching the N4 downtown to go to my internship and of course all my friends at AU. So, it’s going to be hard when it’s time to pack up and leave. I am currently in the office and I just realized that time has gone by so fast this semester- so shocked!

    I think I have come a long way since I have started my internship. Prior to starting, I have always been aware and well informed politically on the Middle East. And now I can say the same about knowing a lot more about the region’s developing and booming economy. I find this an added advantage for me because I have always wanted that in an internship- leaving with so much more to take back and apply later on down the road. That is why I consider an internship somewhat like an actual course, but one that takes place in the “real world,” where all of the action is going on. The things I have learned can be directly applied to my academic studies in both the immediate and distant futures. I know that what I have accomplished at my internship will truly help me, especially since I am focusing on the Middle East for my specialization area. Now, I will proceed into the next stage of my life feeling well equipped and knowledgeable for what awaits me later on. So, I definitely have learned a lot from my experiences these past four months with my colleagues and other interns, whom have taught me so much. As a result, I have learned how to be a good co-worker, since I’ve formed close bonds and made life long friends during my time here. I also feel prepared in how to act and conduct myself in the work field. It’s been a really great semester having this internship and I wouldn’t of had it any other way.

    So, I’m looking forward to going abroad next semester to London, it’s going to be way too much fun!!! And after coming back, for my senior year I will definitely have an internship again. Hopefully, I will get lucky and find another great opportunity and benefit from it just as much, if not more.

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  • nn1702a 8:07 pm on December 5, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , effort, hard work, ,   

    Shining as an Intern- it’s all about making a lasting impression! 

    The end is almost near; this Friday will be my last day. I am sad, but super excited to go abroad next semester! So last week at my internship, the president and CEO was at the office and only comes in on certain days because of his schedule. I wasn’t nervous or anything, but I wanted to make a really good impression since he was there. And I did just that!
    He wanted me to do research on something and it was a very difficult task, but I came through and delivered. I was asking him questions and then I went to research. Then, I took all of my findings and presented them to him and gave him my feedback. He was really happy that I was able to follow through with what he needed and delivered more information than he asked for. He was surprised, but in a good way and kept thanking me. It’s nice getting praised for doing a good job! Basically, I never assume and I constantly try doing more than I am asked, but in very small ways and they eventually add up. It is always better to show that you are a motivated intern.
    For instance, if someone asks me to provide them with some data, I’ll email it over to them, but I’ll also throw in a little note with a few related links that may also help them with their project. I’m pretty good at finding things online, and it doesn’t take me very long. For my extra two minutes of work, I may save them 30 minutes of additional searching. And even if it doesn’t help them this time, they’ll remember that I gave them more than they asked for, and that I’m a really helpful intern in the office. I always get an email saying “good work” or “thanks so much for all of your hard work” and all it is just putting a little more effort into doing what you are asked.
    Also, what has really helped me make a good an impression with everyone in the office is being willing to help with anything and everything. Don’t be afraid to take a risk! I personally think that bosses are ambitious people themselves, so they will recognize and admire that same quality in others. Ambition requires confidence to stick your neck out occasionally and to seize the moment. It will say a lot about who you are, especially that you are a good at your job. For example, you can volunteer for a challenging project, or give some feedback that is more efficient than what is being presented.
    These are just a few things that I have used to help me get to being well-known in the office as a reliable and hardworking intern. It will really pay off because your employer will make sure to note it in your recommendation letter!

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  • nn1702a 4:46 pm on November 29, 2011 Permalink
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    The Era of Social Media In the Work Place 

    I have been learning a lot while interning, especially through utilizing social media sites for promoting the company I intern for. I am given the task every week to update our Facebook group by posting current events and which opportunities are available for American businesses to take advantage of in the Middle Eastern market. My organization not only uses Facebook, but Twitter and LinkedIn as well.

    It is obvious that in today’s world, social media is the new and most efficient way to communicate. You can reach so many people and have them keep up to date with what is going on, so it makes sense why literally everyone and everything has a Twitter or a Facebook page. I’m really glad that I have been having the opportunity to work with social media at my internship because it has made me put it to good use, rather than being on Facebook for fun or being on it as I procrastinate.

    I’m actually an administrator for my internship’s Facebook page and I constantly post links to their events and press releases, which has really helped me to better my social media skills. I have realized to be more careful and aware when typing by not doing so in slang and fully spelling words instead of using abbreviations. I think it has also made me more conscious when communicating online, especially through emails because it shows a sign of professionalism. Only with friends will I write informally, so I have learned to separate my form of communication by remembering who my audience is.

    Consequently, I have definitely understood the extent to which social media is a crucial marketing tool for businesses and organizations. It really is a key technique of promoting a site or business and a powerful strategy that will get them links, attention, and massive amounts of traffic. Since it is the most popular way to communicate in today’s society, I think everyone should try and learn how to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ for professional purposes rather than for pleasure. It is a great skill to acquire and to put on your resume. I know that when I was applying for internships this past summer, many asked for “good communication skills.” This not only means writing skills, but that potential candidates should have experience and a lot of knowledge when utilizing social media, but for professional purposes. So I’m sure all of everyone’s time spent on Facebook will eventually pay off when they will be working or interning!

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  • nn1702a 6:44 am on November 24, 2011 Permalink
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    Attending Events in DC Is A Must! 

    For my internship, I am lucky that I have been given the chance to attend events that are relevant to my position. So far, I have been to four events. They were all very interesting and exciting to attend, but I was amazed at how they related to my coursework at school. I also used one of the events that I attended, which was at the Brookings Institution in one of my presentations for class. These events are a great resource to attend regardless of whether or not you have an internship, which can be found online at DC Linktank. They are generally open to the public and all you need to do is RSVP if needed. I truly encourage everyone to go to one event off campus because we do have a lot at AU, but we are in DC and we should take advantage of our location. Going to events exposes you to a variety of global issues and different speakers, it’s something that anyone being a student and living in DC should do at least once! It’s also a really good place to meet and network with other interns and people who attend these events. By making the most out of your opportunities and resources you have available, you will gain a lot in return while interning. For me I think going to events in the city is one way to do so.  I have had special access to some private events through my internship (which I am so thankful for), but I also make time to attend public events at think tanks in downtown DC and it’s so worth the time.  I have learned so much by attending these events that I now know how to write memos about them, I am even more up to date with current events, and I hear both sides to the story on several topics. I am really glad that I have been to some this semester-it’s been a really wonderful experience and fun aspect of my internship.

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  • nn1702a 7:01 pm on November 18, 2011 Permalink
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    Getting The Chance to Intern Next Semester 

    I’m really grateful that I’ve been given the opportunity to have an internship this semester. Since Thanksgiving break is near and so are finals, time will definitely fly and it will soon be over. So at the moment, I am currently at my desk and I am making most of what I have left to do at the office. I have learned so much and I hope that everyone can do an internship whenever possible.

    The way I got my internship was seeing if it would fit into my schedule, which is crucial because if you don’t have the time to commit, it will not work out. Then, I made an appointment at AU’s Career Center and this was the best thing that I could have done for myself. An adviser will show you the tools and resources you can use to find your “dream” internship and editing your resume so that it’s in tip-top shape. Afterward, once you identify the online resources that will help you find internship opportunities, you need to apply to more than one. I would say at least 10, which will allow you to have options, just in case you don’t get the one you want…it’s better to be safe than sorry. It can sometimes feel overwhelming and it may remind of you filling out college applications all over again!

    When you apply, most organizations ask for you to email them your resume, cover letter, and a short writing sample. Some of the competitive positions ask for your unofficial transcript. I learned that it was best to apply early because you have a head start among the other students not just from AU, but also from all the other schools in DC. I also realized that it best to address your email and cover letter to a specific person and not just “To Whom it May Concern.” It gives you an advantage because it shows that you went out of your way to find out who is in charge of the internship program at the company/organization. You can simply call the location or send an email, but most times it may say the person’s name on the website.

    Yes, it will take time, so be prepared and organized. But, it in the end it’s all worth it to see whether or not your next semester at AU will include you being an intern. After applying, all you have to do then is to wait and see. Hopefully the whole process will work out for you, just like it did for me! So, I’m sending you all best wishes 🙂

    PS: Start applying now for internships for Spring 2012!

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  • nn1702a 3:48 am on November 14, 2011 Permalink
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    Fitting In 

    At my internship, there are two other interns and at first we barely interacted. It was weird because there was no time for us to chitchat or mingle, but after interning for about 3 months we have become good friends. Trying to get to know your fellow interns is necessary because you can make new friends and it can make your work place more pleasant.

    Before really getting to know the other interns, it was somewhat lonely because everyone sat in their own areas and doing their assigned tasks. I didn’t really like the way that was happening, so I had the guts to send out an email to them. In it, I told the other interns that since we all intern on the same day together, we should do lunch on Tuesday’s. They all loved the idea and replied with a yes. So ever since then, we’ve been getting lunch every week and learning more about one another!

    I found this was also rewarding aspect of my internship because I have made new friends and have learned how to deal working with others. It takes initiative because everyone is new when they intern, so why not reach out first? I was nervous in the beginning, but now during my lunchtime I never sit alone. My fellow colleagues are now my friends and whenever I need a lending hand in the office, I can always ask for some help and vice versa. It’s a nice feeling because it makes interning more enjoyable when you have people that you are close with. I’m really glad that once the semester is over, at least I’ve made friends that I’ll always stay in touch with. You never know, they might come in handy in the future when I’ll need a job!

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  • nn1702a 2:51 am on November 7, 2011 Permalink  

    A Balancing Act 

    This semester is the first time I’ve interned and had classes and a job at the same time. So it’s been a very hectic schedule during the week, but I am actually enjoying it. It’s not the way I would want to spend my time because I’d rather sleep, but this is life. Currently, I am taking 16 credits, working on campus, and intern- I even babysit sometimes. The reason I am doing so much is because I feel that I need to, and so I am working two jobs to save up money for when I go abroad next semester to London. That is a very expensive city, so I’m trying to put my piggy bank to good use. Also, with classes come homework and daily papers. So, with my internship and two jobs it adds more pressure and stress to my life. Luckily, I have been doing a great job of doing very well in all my classes and my grades have not been negatively affected at all.

    Most of this chaos occurs mainly during the week, and I’m grateful for the weekend to sleeps in and just do work. It doesn’t seem an ideal way to spend the weekend, but I have come to the realization that there is no more fooling around in college. I’ve had my share of fun and now it’s time to start being serious and working towards my future. However, I never try to kill myself and I still have fun with my friends-it’s important to stay sane with all that is going on!

    My schedule may seem like a lot, but it’s honestly working for me and I can handle it. That is the greatest lesson that I’ve learned about myself this semester, when I’m under pressure I can still accomplish my duties and goals that I have to finish. That is why I truly appreciate my planner and managing my time, which essential with all of my responsibilities I am obligated to. I think that’s a pretty great skill to acquire and it will definitely come in handy when I’m an adult in the real world with a real job. My motto in life is always, “work hard and then play hard”. And that’s what I am doing and I will reap the benefits once I successfully finish my classes and internship this semester. Then the fun will begin next semester in London!

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  • nn1702a 1:29 am on October 31, 2011 Permalink  

    My Latest Insight 

    I’ve been realizing that I am definitely applying what I am learning in my business classes as I intern. That’s a very good thing considering how much college costs, but it makes me feel that I am benefiting a lot from my internship this semester as well.

    The realization occurred to me when I was at a conference on Friday on behalf of my organization. The speaker was discussing foreign direct investment or FDI in the Middle East. Everything he mentioned in his speech, I easily understood and I felt very proud of myself. I am very glad that I knew what he was talking about and wasn’t completely lost. It’s good to know that I am gaining a lot of knowledge on what I am interested in and having it also relate to my internship. It’s a little weird because had I been younger and at a conference like this, I wouldn’t be able to comprehend the same speech.

    I have also realized that I am definitely growing up and will soon be entering the “real world.” This is making me very nervous considering this is my junior year and I have one more left to go. It’s surreal how time flies and that sooner rather than later I will be graduating next year. But, to know that I am applying what I am learning in class as I go to my internship, I believe that I am building a solid foundation. So, I would like to think that I am off to a good start in preparing for my future career!

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  • nn1702a 5:51 am on October 23, 2011 Permalink
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    A Network of Experiences 

    It may be hard to wake up early and get ready to get on the metro to get downtown in the mornings, but it really is worth it in the end. Looking back at my position so far, I am really learning a lot. Up until now, I have realized how essential networking is. We had an event last month. It was a reception focused on fostering economic ties between Arab and American businessmen and women. My job that night was to mingle with the guests and to collect as many business cards as I could. Once it was over, I ended up collecting over 200 cards and probably 500 combined with what the other interns and co-workers got. It was surprising, but it reinforced how it really is about “who you know and not what you know”. I really do believe that connections are what get you far in life.

    Looking back, these are a few tips that I learned that helped me to survive through the night:

    1. Say your name clearly because you want them to know how to say it correctly throughout your conversation, and also to remember who you are.

    2. Shake hands, but always make sure it is a firm handshake- it says a lot about who you are, especially about your confidence.

    3. Use an “elevator” speech: describe who you are or what you do in ten seconds or less. This allowed me to keep it short and sweet, but to make a good first impression as well.

    4. The best way to introduce yourself I found was starting with small talk.

    5. Don’t stay too long talking with one person, try and meet other people. The more the merrier.

    After an event, your networking doesn’t stop! The following week, I had to compile all of the business cards and input the contact information of each individual into an excel spreadsheet. Why? Because it is also important to keep in contact with those that you have met. That is why the database will most likely come in handy for the organization that I intern for. They will use it to contact companies and individuals for future endeavors and business opportunities they want to pursue.

    It was a very interesting and fun life learning experience, definitely one that has prepared me for the “real world”. Oh and by the way, I am still working on that database and it has been exactly a month!

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  • nn1702a 9:34 pm on October 16, 2011 Permalink  

    One Month On The Job 

    Well, I’m obviously interning this semester at it’s my first internship in DC! I know it seems kind of late since it is my junior year and all, but I think it’s the right time. It’s not like I haven’t tried to apply for an internship, but it never worked out my past two years with my schedule. Having a good and flexible schedule is key for having the time to intern and go to class. The balance allows you to enjoy doing both, without feeling forced to drag yourself in the mornings to your internship or skipping class because you haven’t done the assignment that is due for the day. So, I am luck to have that working out for me this semester.

    I’ve been excited for the opportunity that I have been given to work at an organization that aims to bring U.S. companies to invest in the Middle East. It has been going very well so far and I am starting to learn a lot my first month. The one thing I am starting to realize is that almost a majority of businesses here in the U.S. wants to trade and invest in the Middle East because it really is a “hot spot” for them to gain profit and access to oil. We all thought that Dubai, United Arab Emirate was the place for the U.S. to do business, but guess again. Now, it has become Doha, Qatar, which is on the Arabian Peninsula. Why? Well, according to a recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Qatar has been projected to become the richest country in the world, in terms of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita income at $88,221. It has surpassed Luxembourg as the richest and the IMF predicts that its GDP will exceed over a $100, 000 by 2016. Also, Qatar will be hosting the World Cup games in 2022- the first country in the Middle East to do so!

    (More …)

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    • Michelle Stricklin 6:20 pm on October 19, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is really neat! I grew up in Dubai and have been to Doha numerous times on both school and family trips. Both are absolutely fascinating countries. I completely agree that Doha is the up and coming country in the Middle East. Not only is it building on tourist capital by hosting the World Cup in 2022, but education is also growing exponentially there.

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