From the Adriatic Sea to the Surrey hills: internship in global engagement

The main inspiration behind my application for an internship at the Global Engagement Office at the University of Surrey was the wish to actively contribute to the work and the activities of an internationally acclaimed university in the United Kingdom. The choice of opting for Surrey came quite naturally to me, as I recognized the internship in this particular department relates to my interests and studies in the linguistic aspects and practical dimensions of public, media, intercultural and interpersonal communication. My intention was to gain thorough understanding of the structural and professional dynamics which make the University of Surrey one of UK’s leading universities in terms of international student (and staff) experience and global cooperation. Now, after several weeks of daily exposure to the creative, comfortable and diligent working environment at the university, the internship experience proved overwhelming, encouraging and exceptionally rewarding.

The analytical tasks introduced within the internship framework continue to strengthen not only my linguistic competencies, but also my professional talents, while adding to my knowledge about the everyday challenges of an international academic institution in higher education and research. The work I have been conducting so far encourages me to proceed in the pursuit of my academic and professional career, while developing an interest in international projects, global initiative and intercultural communication.

The time spent within the University of Surrey offices and campus enables me to recognize the valuable positions and roles of each member of the Global Engagement team. The agreeable atmosphere and mutual cooperation deliver the best intellectual and practical potential of every team member aimed at perfecting each international project during the challenging stages of their development, including global visits or international events.

Stepping out of the office and further away from the university campus, it is no surprise that they say that wonderful things truly do happen here. Everyday exchanges and hangouts with international students allow for engagement in spontaneous talks about the many prospects for young eager students in the global world and to expand our worldviews onto the global stage. The dynamic atmosphere of weekends in Guildford, with lively Saturdays on the city streets and relaxing Sundays within the green fields and parks, creates a special environment with something new to discover at each step.

The specific location of Guildford allows for weekend escapes to other wonderful and prominent locations around England, places which resonate with historical, artistic and international richness, as each town, village or shire speaks of its own individual history and the lives of its people, whether on green shores or dark blue seas. These are unique opportunities to dive into the cultural perspectives of England and enjoy first-hand experiences of notable events and people which shaped world history, while sustaining, promoting and preserving the inherently British lifestyles and traditions. As the landscape changes of its own accord, shifting from rainy and wet to sunny and warm within a single day, the people of Surrey create its unique, lively and welcoming environment.

As a student from Croatia, I must admit I felt quite curious here at times, faced with many interesting queries about my country and becoming the unique ambassador of my home culture, introducing the wonders of the geographically intriguing and demographically modest European country on the Adriatic coast. I hope to inspire people to discover the vibrant Croatian heritage and surprise my Surrey and international mates with original, traditional homemade dishes and engaging stories from the heart of the Mediterranean.

After spending only several weeks at the University of Surrey and in Guildford, I have already established that this working, living and travelling experience will have tremendous impact on my life. The time spent in Surrey is an enthusiastic step forward in the pursuit of my own future endeavours in the world of education, intercultural communication and international management. Everyday contact with people from all over the globe inspires even the most unlikely ideas, sparks the imagination and challenges personal standpoints not only regarding relevant global matters, but also concerning matters of personal nature. Discovering stories of people coming from different backgrounds, culturally diverse surroundings and varying historical traditions, taught me to appreciate my own country within the global framework consisting of such a diversity of nations and to comprehend the potentialities of my personal and professional interests, imaginative ideas and aspirations for the future.