Being in Rabat, Morocco was the most amazing experience of my life. It wasthe first time that I have ever been abroad, and I definitely want to make the trip back over the Atlantic as soon as I can. Our trip started when we leftState College on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving break around 11 PM, bound for Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport. Our flight took off around 6:30 PM, and we were in Paris by 8 AM the next morning. After a three hour layover, our flight from Paris left for Rabat, Morocco and we arrived by 1 PM.
In Rabat, almost everything is small-business based. They don’t have large corporations, or at least I didn’t see the frequency of them. Almost everything is independent; markets, taxis, grocers, etc. So naturally, almost every price is negotiable. Our first Taxi ride resulted in us paying about $40USD; $30 more than we should have.
Daniel was the only person in our cohort of 4 who even spoke a lick ofFrench, but that was enough to at least find our hostel. We had a construction worker lead us there, who was very kind and helpful. The language barrier proved difficult throughout the trip. We made friends with another student attending the conference from Boston University who spoke pretty fluent French, but communicating with city-goers and market business-people was still difficult. In Morocco, most everybody is bilingual, speaking French and Arabic.
The conference was a pretty great experience in of itself. It took about a half hour train ride to get there every morning. About 70% of the delegates wereMoroccan. In addition to getting to know a lot of the delegates and exchange social media, I was also able to meet the Director of the program, the former Minister of Foreign Investments of Macedonia, and a few other really cool people like NasDaily (he makes hugely popular Facebook videos). The connections I made were really valuable in the non-profit sector, and the adult guests gave me a lot of great advice that I plan on using to help grow my organization, F.O.R.M. Consulting.
Once the conference was over, we went exploring. We toured the former King’s grave, the coastal/beach area of the city, the Jewish market district, and a few other places. We also explored just about every market in the city.Each day, we tried to eat at a different place; I enjoyed the Moroccan cheeseburgers the most (although the Tajine was also spectacular). We spent a lot of time socializing in the hostel as well, meeting with other travelers from Texas, Oregon, Boston, Australia, Canada, France, and Spain. We made especially good friendships with the girl from Australia and the man from Canada, Liam. We had incredible conversations about each of our respective governments, philosophy as a discipline, and the importance of rhetoric in a democratic society.
I was sad to have to come home from Morocco. Although it was nice to be back for Thanksgiving, my time in Rabat gave me a perspective that I otherwise never would have had. And for that, I am very, very grateful and thankful for the PLA’s support.
Reflecting on my internship as a Global HR Intern with Bell Flight, I feel that I succeeded in an environment that challenged me in completely new ways, opened my perspective to a wide array of career possibilities, and peaked my interest in international law. My journey started with a three-day drive to Dallas, TX to settle into my small-but-cozy airbnb with two brand new roommates from Houston and St. Louis. Then came a week of orientation, swift introductions, and a sudden thrust right into a brand-new department. I work in Global HR, which had previously not been well-defined, helping to execute and oversee the travel obligations of 56 active assignees and over 200 other business travelers and localized employees.
My work style was challenged quite a bit--I was asked to frequently find answers on my own in a large, corporate-style environment where it’s easy to get lost. I asked few questions and found many solutions on my own--something I was taught to be counter-productive, but is actually desired. When they say “ask as many questions as you can,” I think they only mean to people who have time--or a pedagogical obligation--to answer them. But so it went, and I spent a LOT of time reading. I must have read over 500 pages of legal documents, case law, and company documents/policies. From there, I was able to learn how to properly collaborate with professionals, most effective utilize everyone’s time, and generally, conduct myself in a professional environment.
Unfortunately, there is such a thing as a “finals week” during an internship too. Most of my assignments were all due within a ten-day stretch between July 16--26; more interestingly, my boss was traveling to Prague and London during that time. So, I learned to trust my instinct when it came to disclosing certain information and to conduct myself in a way that my boss would respect. I also learned the valuable lesson of politics at work--when individual’s have spent a career at a company and are advancing themselves, they are very wary and protective of their image. For an intern like myself, it’s important to consider that when approaching a presentation to senior folks--i.e. making sure I help advance the interests of those who look out for me and guide me. Though finishing all of my projects within that ten-day timeframe was exhausting, I learned a lot and I’m a better professional because of it.
My last two weeks I spent auditing and reorganizing our Microsoft SharePoint site. It was quite a mess, and requires about 8 hours a day of clicking to fix. Through that experience, I gained the valuable lesson of remembering why I work so hard to get ahead and NOT have to do that for the rest of my life. Overall, this experience proved very valuable to me. Though I do not anticipate returning to the global mobility space, I will definitely carry forward the lessons I’ve learned from working in a Fortune 500 company as I pursue a career in law. I thank everyone who’s supported me throughout this internship and look forward to what next summer has in store.