Working it – abroad

Having been at my internship in a top global PR agency for a little over a month I’d like to quickly share some of the things I’ve noticed about working in the UK-

Tea is a big deal

I guess I had assumed that was a stereotype about English people, but drinking tea is serious business over here. A few times a day someone in my pod (grouping of desks) stands up and asks if anyone would like a cup of tea. The professor who taught my British PR class this semester compared this ritual to primates picking bugs out of each others hair – it’s how the Brits show they care.

They’re very affectionate, darling

In the US pet names are often considered annoying, condescending, or inappropriate but here you hear them all the time! It’s no big deal when someone refers to you as love, babe, darling, or my personal favorite: chicken. I remember hearing one of my colleagues pick up the phone the other day, “Hello darling,” she said. I assumed she was speaking to someone she knew well, maybe a friend, but after a brief pause, letting the person on the other end speak, she squeeled, “Oh it’s you!” My coworker didn’t even know who she was talking to, but still answered the phone with a term of endearment! It’s also very common to sign off on emails with a simple x or two if you’re feeling it.

Swearing is ok

While I don’t have enough experience working in an office to build this opinion myself, from what I’ve been told, cursing at the work place is much more common here that it is in the US. After dropping a few expletives the man who I sit next to turned to me, “They don’t speak like that in the US do they?” he said, smiling. I’m fairly confident they don’t, partially because some of the words he used haven’t quite caught on in states yet.

Well, that’s all I can think to share at the moment. I’m off to Budapest this weekend! You can look forward to a blog post about that sometime next week.

Cheers! x

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Sweet & Sour

One of the great things about being in London is the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom. For my History class we take lots of field trips to museums and historical places. This Friday we walked in the steps of the suffragettes and saw where they fought for the vote. It was amazing thinking about how hard these women fought to gain a voice. When women were supposed to be quiet and polite many women chose to stand up during political speeches, to march down the streets, to make sure they were heard. Because of their actions these women were often arrested and thrown in prison. In prison they were treated like common criminals, rather than the political prisoners they were. In protest of this treatment they would go on hunger strikes. The gaurds would then force feed the women – a traumatizing practice! When these measures didn’t work they turned militant, starting a guerilla campaign. The suffragettes went on to break the windows of parliament and other political buildings and set fires to churches. It’s so amazing how much these individual women risked and how much they went through to ensure that politicians would listen to women!

My public relations class went on a field trip this Thursday as well. We went to Cadbury World, a tourist destination devoted to Cadbury chocolate. The purpose of the field trip was to experience the various marketing tools Cadbury uses to represent their company. Cadbury World itself was kind of fun. There are cheesy displays and videos telling the story of how the company was founded and how chocolate was made. There was a model factory and even a ride where you rode in a little car along a track in Cadbury’s response to the “It’s a Small World” ride in Disney. The whole experience was really campy. It was fun seeing all the cheesy displays and there was plent Bournville y of chocolate to eat. While I learned a lot about Cadbury chocolate and their brand I didn’t feel like it was the most education trip I’ve been on. I didn’t feel like this trip enhanced what I learned in the classroom. The most frustrating part was  how long it took to get there. It took two different lines on the tube and two trains to get to, in Birmingham, where Cadbury World is located. I left my flat at 8:00am and didn’t arrive home until after 7:00. I feel like we could have had a more enriching field trip within London. My flatmates didn’t mind the chocolate I had brought home for them though!

Here are some pictures from my trip to Cadbury World

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Made in the USA

Since arriving in London I’ve been trying to immerse myself in the culture as much as possible. One way I’ve been doing this is by watching more and more British TV. My newest TV obsession is a show called Made in Chelsea. It’s a reality show based in London that combines all of the best elements of Laguna Beach and Gossip Girl. The show follows a group of posh super privileged socialites through all of their break ups, make ups, hook ups, and fights. It’s amazing! Here’s the preview if you’re interested in checking it out:

I had my interview this morning for my internship. Everything went really well and I’m excited to announce I’ll be working with Rogers & Cowan/Weber Shandwick. They are two PR agencies that work closely together to provide the best experience for their clients. I’ll have the opportunity to work with both agencies and gain insight into what they both do. Rogers & Cowan deals mainly with entertainment public relations and I’ll have the opportunity to work in product placement. Weber Shandwick is a full PR agency with many more departments. I will be working in the consumer marketing department of Weber Shandwick. As I was leaving the interview the woman I had been speaking with, Kate, was nice enough to give me some pointers on how to take the tube home. I told her I lived in South Kensington, which is in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. “I’m familiar with the area,” she replied, “I love Chelsea.” I mentioned my new obsession with Made in Chelsea. It turns out Kate just worked out a product placement deal for one of her luxury car clients for the next season! Needless to say I was pretty impressed. It looks like my internship is going to be an amazing experience and I’ll have the opportunity to get involved with a lot of really interesting projects and learn a lot! Who knows, maybe I’ll even get a car out of this whole thing! (is that not how product placement works?)

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