Home Alumni Alumni Spotlight: Amy’s Fall Semester Abroad in London, England

Alumni Spotlight: Amy’s Fall Semester Abroad in London, England

by AIFS Abroad
aifs abroad student in front of tower bridge in london, england at night | alumni ambassador

A study abroad program can be a life-changing experience, and even more so when you add an international internship into the mix! Just ask Amy, a college student from Fairfield University and an AIFS Abroad Alumni Ambassador who spent a fall semester doing a Study + Internship program in England’s capital city of London.

Now that she’s officially part of our alumni community, Amy can reflect on her study and intern abroad experience. Read on to learn more.

Students who choose the Study + Internship program option get the best of both worlds: taking enriching and experiential courses abroad while also participating in a part-time international internship and gaining invaluable pre-professional experience. Amy, who is incredibly passionate about fashion, was interested in taking coursework in that area of study at our Global Education Center alongside a Fashion internship. London was the perfect fit!

Enriching Academics

While she took a few different classes during her fall semester, one particular course stood out: Fashion Marketing with Professor “Nas” Nataran.

“My classmates and I were not only able to learn class material beyond the classroom, but Professor Nas made the classroom feel like an environment we could feel comfortable in while navigating a country that was foreign to us.

I think there is such beauty in learning in an environment where you feel encouraged. I can confirm that Professor Nas made all four of us not only feel confident, but she helped us grow individually, and not just academically. From an academic standpoint, we were able to learn all about fashion marketing from an interactive perspective. From Harrod’s to Liberty, Professor Nas always took the extra step for us to see all the fashion surrounding us in London. In addition, she always made us feel like we could reach out to her and get the help we needed while being so far away from home.

Not only was I able to expand my knowledge of fashion marketing, but I was able to create strong connections that I have maintained since being back in the U.S.”

In a hands-on group project that was relevant to her host community, Amy felt empowered to get creative and put her coursework into practice.

“For our final project, we were assigned to research and plan a communication campaign. Miranda and I had to pick an American fashion brand that is not currently in the U.K. and [nationally] commercialize the brand. Miranda and I picked one of my favorite boutiques from my hometown, “Graffiti Boutique,” as we knew nowhere in the U.K. had any Graffiti branded clothing. Our target audience would be women between the ages of 17 and 26, middle-class, young ambitious women looking to keep up to date with fashion trends. To compete with the U.K. market, with stores like Zara and Urban Outfitters, we would introduce a Graffiti men’s line, as in the US there is only a women’s line. With the use of social media and QR codes, Graffiti would become a very well-known, favored brand all over London.”

AIFS Abroad students in London, England with professor
Amy and her classmates with Professor “Nas”

Finding the Right Internship Placement

Interning abroad is your chance to do something different, learn outside of the classroom, gain work experience, earn academic credit, make lifelong friendships, and explore the world. AIFS Abroad internship programs are offered in 15 exciting international cities and in over 40 career fields overall, with internship placements available in Fashion, Fashion Business, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Merchandising, and Fashion Design. You’ll build your resume while having the experience of a lifetime! When combined with a traditional study abroad experience, it becomes a powerhouse global education experience.

The internship component of Amy’s Study + Internship program experience enhanced her academic learning, but also allowed her to “connect with a foreign culture [in a way] you would never be able to achieve when sitting in a classroom at your home university.” Our dedicated team worked individually with her, as we do all of our internship program participants, to find the perfect match for her based on her career goals and interests.

“I am so glad I made the decision to intern while I was abroad. While studying with the AIFS program, the internship process is made easier than you may think. With the use of Clifton Strengths and your assigned strengths coach, you are matched with an employer that best suits your desired goals and career field.

As a student with a Communications major and minors in Marketing, Public Relations, and Digital Journalism, my match with [a PR firm] was absolutely perfect. When speaking with my career coach, I expressed my strong desire to work in the fashion industry while in London, and this internship gave me the fashion experience I was hoping for, in addition to PR experience that is transferable to any industry.”

London, England
London, England

Practical Professional Experience

Doing an international internship program — whether full-time or part-time — allows you unique opportunities to do hands-on projects and gain practical professional experience. In Amy’s case, landing an internship placement at a London PR firm meant she’d be able to work directly in a showroom with her favorite designers and, notably, attend London Fashion Week.

“[Attending London Fashion Week] was one of the best experiences I’ve had during an internship in college, and continues to be a key component on my resume when currently applying for a full-time job.

The opportunity to intern for a company that plays a pivotal role in supporting and facilitating events like these is something I wouldn’t have the chance to experience if I were still studying in the U.S. at the moment. I am filled with gratitude for this remarkable experience, and I am excited for future opportunities and learning experiences.”

Amy found herself stepping backstage, being invited to observe models as they tried on various outfits and received professional hair and makeup styling in preparation for their shows. She was also assigned key responsibilities such as welcoming and guiding guests to their respective areas.

Not only was she able to experience traditional annual London Fashion Week, but she was involved in a particularly inspiring component of the event: Ukrainian Fashion Week. During this element, designers from Ukraine were able to show their collections with support from the British Fashion Council and the USAID Competitive Economy Program.

“Differentiating itself from the typical fashion shows, this particular event held a distinctive purpose—extending an incredible show of support to Ukraine Fashion during a period of deep challenge for the people of Ukraine.

This show had a large impact on me, in which I came to a realization that fashion is so much more than how we dress and express ourselves as individuals. Fashion is a way of bringing all individuals together, no matter where everyone is from, in times of need.

As the Ukrainian flag was worn by designers while they walked down the stage, the beauty of this convergence was something I had never been able to see before. Between cheering and clapping, it felt so rewarding to be a part of the success of something with such an admirable cause.

Despite the diverse appearances and styles of those in attendance, whether as spectators, participants or behind the scenes, all individuals at the show shared the common purpose: to offer unwavering support to Ukraine during its most challenging times.

Ready to take the leap into a Study + Internship program abroad like AIFS Alumni Ambassador Amy did? We’d love to help you start your journey!

Here at AIFS Abroad, we know a thing or two about helping college students and pre-professionals study and intern abroad. Our programs are incredibly inclusive, which takes a lot of the stress out of planning. From coordinating your housing to providing things like cultural and social activities, excursions, comprehensive insurance, 24/7 emergency support, on-site staff, and more, you’ll take comfort in knowing you’ll have support throughout your entire experience abroad.

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