Not Just Luck: Internship in Ireland Prepares SU Student for Career
Thursday December 5, 2019
SALISBURY, MD---It takes a special kind of person to pack up and travel to another country. Being alone in a new place is always daunting, and the differences in language and lifestyle can be a bit of a culture shock.
But such experiences craft a person into a stronger version of themselves. That’s why Salisbury University offers its Salisbury Abroad: Global Experiences Internship Program, so students can learn about their professional and personal strengths, and transition into members of the global workforce.
With that in mind, Rachel Yarsky, communications major, packed her bags for Dublin, Ireland. When she landed, she stepped foot into another world: the Conrad Hilton luxury hotel.
“It was a really cool experience,” Yarsky said. “The Human Resources Department there was relatively new, so it was a bit of a startup opportunity.”
While there for the spring 2019 semester, Yarsky helped establish the hotel’s social media presence. She grew its Instagram account and started a Twitter feed showcasing the staff’s best. She also reached out to hospitality institutions in Ireland to recruit talent for placement years at the Hilton. In addition to being in charge of the filing systems for more than 200 hotel teammates, she shadowed the training officer and focused on boosting team morale.
“Communication was such a big part of the program,” Yarsky said. “Especially in a hotel, you’re trying to create a seamless experience for guests, and all the departments can’t run without the help of other departments. Collaboration and communication was so key.”
All of that hard work at the Hilton paid off. Yarsky now works for another major brand: Under Armour. She said her internship gave her many skills to help her in her current position as the consultant talent acquisition coordinator at Under Armour.
“Hilton is such a big brand, and I think that helped working for a big corporate company,” Yarsky said. “Under Armour has such a strong brand that we differentiate from other brands. So going abroad, having to think about other cultures and working for a major hotel where there are people coming from all over the world definitely helped.”
Yarsky got more than job experience, too. During her time outside of the hotel, she used her social media skills to chronicle her adventures on Snapchat. In addition to traveling all over Ireland, she visited London and Paris, making memories with other student interns as well as locals.
“All of the locals were so nice and loved talking to us,” Yarsky said. “Everyone was happy and interested in getting to know other people. They’re very genuine and Dublin is so old and has a lot of history. Everyone is proud to live there and show it off and teach you something, but also learn from you.”
Yarsky said those connections are what made everything worth it. The skills she gained working for a major brand were invaluable, but even more valuable was her experience living and growing abroad, connecting with cultures and people.
“That global mindset helps in any job,” Yarsky said, “no matter how big or small the company is.”
The Global Experiences program is helping produce other globally minded graduates, like Yarsky, who are ready to launch their careers. Since its inception, more than 70 SU students have participated in the program. Among those surveyed, 100 percent were employed following graduation from SU. On average, they had their first full-time job within three months after college. Almost 10 percent found their first job overseas, but the majority began their careers in Maryland.
“The Global Experiences Internship Program is feeding the Maryland workforce a steady diet of young talent with substantial global work experience and well developed global competencies,” said Brian Stiegler, assistant provost for international education at SU. “Career outcomes statistics are so strong, I think the program should be a national model.”
Yarsky agrees that the program is successful.
“I would recommend the Global Experiences program to anyone, no question about it,” Yarsky said. “It got me this job I have now, and it’s definitely going to pay off. It gives you so much to talk about and connect with people over.”