- Name: Lauren Hong
- Major and class standing during your program: UC Davis sophomore, design major, with a minor in computer science
- Program: UC Davis Virtual Summer Internships, Design and Fashion, Ghana
What led you to participate in your global learning program during your time at UC Davis?
I wanted to participate in the Virtual Summer Internship program because it would be beneficial for my career goals. As I am going into the art field, it is very important for me to grow my network. Therefore, internships such as this are essential for my career and possibly even more important than taking academic classes. This internship would also help me satisfy some of my major requirements. I wanted to spend my summer immersed in a work environment that would help me develop my hard and soft skills.
What was your experience like in this program?
This program was very enriching. I learned many lessons — not only from the benefits of the program, but also from the challenges I faced. Being able to work with people from across the globe gave me an insight on how different graphic design is in different countries. Every aspect of culture — religion, values, language, etc. — effects not only the graphic design, but the art that is produced in every country. My experiences in this program helped me realize how amazing that is.
What was the most challenging part of your program and the most rewarding?
This program was definitely a learning experience. I have had other design internships before this program, but what sets this one apart was the time zone difference. This created an array of interesting challenges. Communication throughout our internship was very difficult. We had situations where I would need information from my supervisor, but could not get in contact with her and the only time we were able to talk was in the mornings when our time zones aligned. However, these adversities strengthened my communication and critical thinking skills. Though it was difficult to manage, I have become better at taking initiative and adapting to other peoples’ schedules and needs. On the flip side, the most beneficial part of this program was creating and delivering presentations each week to our team. Before the internship, I had never experienced this caliber of public speaking. Having to make presentations, develop content plans, create graphics, and more each week was enriching and pleasantly stimulating. I grew more confident in my public speaking because of this.
What’s one of your most memorable experiences from your program?
The most memorable experience from working in this internship was the lessons I learned about the importance of teamwork and relationship building. I was very lucky to have a fellow intern to work with throughout this experience. Being able to rely on her for tasks as well as just to confide in as a coworker made my experience more joyful. This internship taught me how important it is to put in the time and effort to get to know the people you are working with because it will not only make you feel more comfortable while doing your job, but also make the whole company run more efficiently.
What advice do you have for someone considering your program or a global experience, in general?
Every experience is something you can learn from. If having an internship will be advantageous to you than taking this opportunity is beneficial because no matter what company you work for, you will gain experience, be able to put it on your resume, and can get school credit. You'll learn a lot from the benefits as well as the challenges. Participating in a study abroad program will also let you experience another culture which is always a beneficial and enriching experience.
What was your biggest concern in regards to participating in the program?
My biggest concern was not knowing what company I would be working for. One of the best parts of this internship is that it includes a guaranteed internship placement (which is very rare), but one of the downfalls is that you don't have much control over who you'll be working for. However, I overcame this concern by switching my mindset. Instead of obsessing over whether I would work for a good or bad company, I focused on the fact that no matter what, this will be a learning experience. In the real world, design internships are difficult to get as inexperienced college students, so opportunities like this are something to take advantage of.
Please elaborate on any other identities or experiences that impacted your program decisions or time on the program.
As a second generation Korean American, I grew up with many immigrants around me, including my parents. I witnessed many people discriminate and discredit my parents due to their accents and their inability to speak fluent English. Because of this, I know that a person's fluency or pronunciation of English does not determine their intelligence or validity. That is why I am open-minded when it comes to working with people from different countries and backgrounds. For this internship, we worked with a company from Ghana. Although their culture and way of communication was different from what I am used to, it never got in the way of us working together as a team.
How do you think your program experiences will benefit you in the future — thinking academically, future career goals, or personally?
This program has given me many skills and insights that will benefit me throughout my future academic and professional aspirations. My experiences have taught me more about what I personally need and desire in a team environment. It has also taught me how to build relationships and communicate with coworkers and supervisors. These soft skills will help me throughout all my future endeavors. This program has also helped me grow my network and create connections with mentors who I can later use as resources.
This story is crossposted from the Global Learning Hub Blog. The Global Learning Blog is where students can share their global experiences with the UC Davis Global community. Submit a 'Global Learning: My Story' profile to be considered for a web and/or social media feature. Search all global learning programs and funding across UC Davis.
About the Global Learning Hub at UC Davis
Through the Global Learning Hub, each and every UC Davis student can find global learning opportunities available on campus, in the region, virtually, and internationally. The Hub offers global learning programs, workshops and resources that enhance all UC Davis students’ academic and career pursuits through four broad areas of opportunities: Community Engagement; Global Skills and Leadership; Internships and Research; and Study Abroad. UC Davis is committed to preparing the next generation of global problem solvers and change makers. As such, we aim to prepare our undergraduate, graduate and professional students to solve global challenges collaboratively, equitably and sustainably.
As a part of Global Affairs, the Global Learning Hub aims to inspire global curiosity, understanding and engagement.