One of the easiest and the best way for me to interact with REAL British people while abroad was through my internship, or as they call it over there, “work experience.”
During the second phase of BU’s Study Abroad Program, I had the opportunity to work at etv media group where I met some awesome people and learned a lot about the life of a small digital agency.
Just to clarify – since there really isn’t one simple word to describe the company, as a digital agency, etv takes on numerous projects involving new media, which can range anywhere from websites to TV shows to iPhone apps.
And as a work experience, I worked in various departments, thereby learning about different stages of a project.
My first big duty in February involved a lot of office work – sitting in front of a computer (unfortunately PC), researching, making calls, etc. to find the perfect news cutting agency to replace the current one.
I honestly don’t know much about the behind-the-scenes details of American PR agencies, but many marketing & PR firms in England employ news cutting services to track any articles or clips that mention the company name or its production/projects.
Obviously, what a useful service! Every morning, an e-mail with a list of all the stories or packages mentioning “etv” waited for me in my inbox. Then I got to read all about what people thought about our production. Neat!
To supplement my major, broadcast journalism, I also found myself in the middle of a studio where etv produced Thomas Cook TV. Unfortunately, I joined the company as Thomas Cook traveling agency decided to cancel its television shows, but I still found more than enough time to play with AVID equipments, autocue (prompter) and studio sets.
(How cute! Right?)
Once in a while, I would also visit the bigger studio in Battersea to watch the production of Gala Bingo – a live, late-night bingo show.
Yes, apparently people all over the UK can participate via web, and players do win quite a bit of money. I suppose it’s equivalent to Wheel of Fortune over on this side of the Atlantic?
Well, more importantly, Battersea is where I encountered the stress of a live production for the first time. Now I of course know and understand the significance of accuracy and punctuality, thanks to my current internship. Back then, however, I had no clue.
Moreover, the advanced technology of green-screen also amazed me endlessly. No need to design backdrops or mess with heavy sets. Simply program everything on your computer and drop the picture behind the presenter.
Toward the end of my work-experience period, I began to get more involved on web & iPhone projects, such as “Visit Britain” iPhone app, Harvey Nichols iPhone app and the come back of “Footballers’ Wives” in social gaming form.
Some technical details of constructing an app and building a website went completely over my head. Nonetheless, I’m happy I had an exposure to many different kinds of new (social) media.
I’m glad my role as an intern went above and beyond simply making copies, scanning documents or bringing coffee (actually, tea in this situation). Certainly I was sad to leave since I made great friends and had a fantastic time.