Leaving the United States for the first time to intern in Dublin, Ireland, Junior Montana Meeker became the first UTSA College of Business student to participate in an international internship program.
Working in the accounting and finance department of MHL Hotel Collection, her eight-week internship included a two-week introduction to Ireland while traveling with the college’s immersion program in the country.
“Participating in the immersion gave me the background I needed to understand the cultural divide,” said Meeker, an Honors College student from San Antonio. “Learning about the housing crisis and religious conflicts gave me the context to begin to understand their culture.”
Once she began her internship her first shock was learning that the Irish accent and slang that they use was more challenging than she imagined.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Meeker. “I learned how to communicate with people from different cultures and realize the importance of asking questions.”
Working 40 hours a week, her duties included working with suppliers, cash clearing, producing the daily business revenue report, analyzing profit and loss and handling billing for their high-end apartment clients.
While this wasn’t her first professional experience (she works for the City of San Antonio and will serve as a management analyst intern this fall), she had to learn how to interact in the Irish business climate.
“Their business culture is more social,” she said. “Lunches and out-of-office activities with colleagues were more common. But there was an expectation of professionalism even outside of the workplace.”
Making the most of her experience, Meeker made friends through an international student group and traveled to over eight countries including England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland and Wales.
“The point of an internship program is independent learning,” she said. “It is an opportunity for personal growth that you didn’t know you needed.”
Fueling her desire to travel again and broaden her horizons, Meeker was thankful for the experience.
“The College of Business International Programs staff went the extra mile to make sure I was okay,” she said. “It is an incredible feeling to be a part of something from the very beginning. I hope to encourage other students to make the leap and participate in an international internship as well.”
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