Student reflects on time as an intern in Stockholm

Lee Browning share her experience studying abroad in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo by Lee Browning.
Lee Browning share her experience studying abroad in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo by Lee Browning.

Studying abroad is more than a few weeks or months away from home. It is the opportunity of a lifetime.

I studied abroad in Stockholm, Sweden for a year, and while I was there, a world of opportunities became available to me. Perhaps one of the biggest and best opportunities I took advantage of was my internship with the Stockholm International Film Festival.

I applied for this internship not even half expecting I had a shot at getting it. Imagine my surprise when I received an enthusiastic email from the producer of the festival saying she would love to discuss my application further.

We had a short Skype conversation (in very broken Swedish before I asked to switch to English), and a few days later, I woke up to an email congratulating me on being accepted. I was elated.

My training started very shortly after I arrived in Sweden. I was assigned to the media department, which involved both promoting the festival through social media and working in collaboration with other departments of the festival to host cocktail events where the media, directors and actors could mingle.

One wouldn’t expect social media to be a skill, but I assure you it very much is, and one I had to learn thanks to this internship. I quickly became a master at all things social media. Additionally, collaborating with other departments and hosting events strengthened the people skills I already had, such as the ability to work as a team and crisis management (for example, an angry director yelling at everyone at an event, which unfortunately did happen).

Finally, even though much of day to day business was conducted in English, I did work with directors and actors in Swedish a bit as well, so my Swedish language skills also improved.

In addition to the skills I picked up working at the festival, I was able to make a number of connections. I believe the most notable connection occurred when I worked closely with the director of the media department. I still talk to her frequently, and recently, she asked if I would consider returning to Stockholm for this year’s festival, an offer I unfortunately had to turn down due to school.

The experience I gained through this internship is invaluable. Having interned abroad is also an impressive asset to boast on a resume or CV. It automatically becomes a discussion point in an interview, one that you can use to wow your future employers. Studying abroad in itself is commendable and makes you more appealing to employers, but interning during your study abroad experience surely puts you a step above the rest.

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