Last year, I used my summer to go and live the life of the Gossip Girl cast, (well, as much as my student bank balance and overdraft would allow) and work in New York City.
I am a Multimedia Journalism student and I loved the idea of going to the States for the summer and working, but instead of working at a children’s summer camp, which many of my friends had done, I wanted to do a work placement with the Work America Programme. My dream job is to work for a magazine when I graduate, so I was looking for an internship that would involve writing, handling social media and working alongside someone important. I was hoping to see a bit of New York glamour too – luckily I did.
The first thing I needed to go was apply for a student J1 visa, which allowed me to work in the US for up to three months, and live there for up to four. I applied through student sponsor BUNAC, who took all the complications out of the process and answered every question I had. I went with my friend to the US embassy in London (a nice excuse for a weekend away), and got my Visa stamped and accepted – I was on my way.
Next came the job of finding somewhere to live. I decided I wanted to go New York City, as it is where I have always dreamed of living and working. I also thought it would be a good place to find an internship in my field as there is so much going on. I spent a while googling ‘nyc rentals’ and ‘cheap accommodation in nyc’, and eventually saw the Facebook and Twitter page for New York University summer housing. It ran from the end of May until the middle of August. This was perfect. A friend and I applied to live in NYU dorms beside Union Square in Manhattan. The application process took over a month, but once we were accepted we got told who our roommates would be. This meant we could add them on Facebook and introduce ourselves before we met them, which was a nice way to get to know each other.
The final thing to organize was a job, which was very important given the name of the summer programme – Work America. So I applied for everything and anything that was related to what I wanted to do. I really wanted a paid internship so I didn’t have to try and get a part time job as well, and luckily I ended up getting one. I used websites such as Craigslist, yummyjobs and simplyhired, and emailed every magazine, newspaper and PR company I could find contact details for asking to be taken on.
About a month before I was set to go, I got offered an internship working for a high profile professional matchmaker, writer and TV personality. She took me under her wing for 11 weeks, giving me an experience I will never forget. I worked with her on various projects, styled her for events and completely took over her nationally read blog and Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest accounts. As well as this, I got to help her write articles for the Huffington Post and Forbes Magazine. These publications are huge, and I felt very privileged to be working on stories for them.
I got to go to glamorous book parties and eat in expensive restaurants – and call it work! I also helped host parties at my boss’s Tribeca apartment, and her Hamptons house, where I mingled with people in the magazine world and different book publishers.
The whole experience was incredible, and I hope it helps me getting a job in the magazine industry one day. As with any work placement, in any industry, the skills I learned were invaluable and I made some amazing friends over the summer.
Living and working in New York was a dream of mine since I was a child and I cannot believe that, as a student, I got to do it. Planning the summer took effort, and applying for jobs was stressful at times, but it was all completely worth it.
I would recommend BUNAC, Work America or an internship in the field you want to work in to anyone. It helps you learn about your future career choice, gives you the opportunity to expand your CV to a whole new level, and most importantly gives you the opportunity to make amazing friends with people you might never have met otherwise.
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BUNAC Work America