I arrived nervously, on only my third day in Prague, at what seemed like the middle of nowhere (but honestly at this point, what place didn’t seem like the middle of nowhere?). It was my very first interview and I felt prepared but still slightly on edge for interviews are always daunting and not to mention I was in a foreign country. I walked into the office and before evening speaking to the interviewers I immediately knew that this was the one. The feel of the spacious, open and light filled room screamed “get to work!” but in the best way possible. After the interview, I almost wanted to call it quits for I knew I belonged at SOFFA, it just felt right.
As nervous as I was during the interview and even on the first couple of days working in the office, I would not trade a second of my time working for SOFFA Magazine. This semester has been nothing but a dream- traveling the world and being immersed in so many different cultures but I can honestly say that one of my favorite parts of studying abroad was being able to work in a professional Czech workspace.
My role as an intern at SOFFA on the outside seemed rather simple. My duties included:
- Coming up with, filming and editing promotional videos for the magazine
- Constantly liking, commenting and interacting with followers on SOFFA’s main social media account
- Running the SOFFA & Friends social media accounts, including: Instagram & Facebook
- Writing occasional blog posts on past events that SOFFA had been apart of
- Proofreading any and all English content that was going to be posted to social media accounts and sent through newsletters
- Attend weekly social media and blog meetings where I would be assigned projects and voice my opinion on changes that may need to made in order to increase our following
- Research ways in which we could improve the social media platforms and interact with our viewers on a more personal level
Although my duties may seem very basic, the amount of knowledge I gained and how much I grew as a person is crazy. I have learned to never underestimate the importance of any task assigned to you-no matter how big or how small- there is always something to learn from and to improve on.
As one of the only American employees at SOFFA, my nerves on arriving to the office on the first day are fully understood. Would I be one of those coffee running, paper filing interns who almost just seems like they are in the way more than they are helping the company? While my time at SOFFA is quickly (and sadly) coming to a close I can proudly say that during this past semester, I have been given responsibility that an intern could only dream of. I was trusted by the founder of the magazine and was able to film promotional videos as well as run social media platforms. I felt needed by the company and as if my presence was actually benefitting those around me instead of just being a nuisance. In a past internship at a film production company in Hollywood, I was really just your typical intern-given a stack of assignments in the morning and shuffled away in my cubicle not interacting with anyone unless they wanted me to run down the street to grab them a double espresso shot. Although the work I did at that internship did benefit the company in the long run, my experience was far less enjoyable for me for I felt useless and unwanted in the office.
The projects I have been assigned have helped me grow not only as an aspiring professional in the media industry but also as a person. My video production skills have definitely improved as I have filmed in a style that before I was not used to and have broadened my view and overall film aesthetic. I was forced in the best way possible to be open-minded in order to let the creativity flow and now feel more well-rounded as a film producer. I also now understand the power of social media in the professional world and have mastered the strategies and know what is needed in order to reach a wide audience and be successful. I have learned that no one is going to hold your hand in the working world whether I am in the United States or a foreign country. I am not going to get a step-by-step guide telling me exactly what to do but instead I will have to think on your own and problem solve in order to get the job done. My communication skills have increased immensely and I now check my email CONSTANTLY for staying in constant contact is crucial. I am no longer only receiving spam emails from those online shopping sites I accidentally subscribed to but instead extremely important emails from a professional business that actually require my attention. But most importantly, I have grown as a person. I have learned to accept cultural differences and adapt to things that I may not at first feel comfortable with. I have had to overcome the slight language barrier and have gained the confidence to speak up when I don’t quite understand what is being asked of me in order to give my best. My time management skills have become much stronger for the production of a magazine will not wait for you and there are no excuses when it comes to a deadline. In school, the work I put in will only hurt or help me as student but being apart of a working system that relies on teamwork to get the job done my work is a part of the puzzle that without is an incomplete project. As one of the youngest members of the SOFFA team, I have gained courage and finally feel comfortable raising my voice and voicing my opinion which before I would never do, especially in a foreign country.
The skills I have gained during this internship will only benefit me as I continue my journey up the totem pole of the entertainment industry. I will forever feel confident going into job interviews-if I can do it on the third day I arrive in a foreign country I can do it anywhere in the United States. Not everything I desire in life is just going to fall into my lap, and I now realize one of the most beneficial things I can do is to simply get off my SOFFA ( 😉 ) and work for what I want.
As my time at SOFFA comes to a close, I become even more grateful for everyday I have left working with such great people. I cannot believe how fast this semester has flown by, it seems like yesterday I was standing clueless on how to get into the building and scared of what the other employees would think of me. I realize now that those thoughts were ridiculous and that I should have only been excited for the amazing three months ahead. I am so fortunate to have had such a great experience and to have had everything (almost everything) run so smoothly. I have gained so much knowledge from my time at SOFFA Magazine and have grown immensely as a person. I cannot thank CIEE enough for providing the opportunity and will remember it for the rest of my life.