How an Internship Abroad Helped Shape My Career Path

During my junior year of college, I studied abroad in Israel. I got an internship through school working for a venture capital firm in Jerusalem, and the 4 months I spent there changed my outlook and had a profound effect on my future career.

It wasn’t until a year beforehand that I decided I wanted to major in something business related, so I was very new to the world and had a very limited knowledge of what the venture capital world entailed.

Once a week, I’d go into the office, sat in on meetings with companies pitching their products, and speak with the managing partners about technology enabled services. It opened my eyes to all the possibilities ahead and I started thinking about things in a different way.

Most of the companies that came into pitch their products did not seem like they were destined for greatness. They were not world changing services or products, so the company passed on most, if not all, of the opportunities presented in meetings that I sat in on.

After learning a lot and contributing very little, I came away with a much deeper understanding of the world of technology and became much more interested in it. It helped solidify my decision to major in Information Systems, which was a mix of programming and business.

The following summer, I took an internship working for a jewelry store trying to improve their traffic and rankings. Having that internship experience was the only thing that made me qualified for the position. It was there that I got my first (and only) mention in the New York Times Freakonomics Blog.

Without that first internship in Israel, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would not have gotten the internship at the jewelry store and learned more about search engine optimization specifically. and there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s the reason I was given the opportunity.

After graduating from college the following year, I started working primarily doing database work and some programming for a large car insurance company. I got the job based on my coursework and my experience, which clearly started with the venture capital internship. Meanwhile, I started this blog and started thinking outside the box in terms of my future.

After 2 years I moved out west and after a few months of self-employment, I got my current job working in online advertising.

In college, I was a little single-minded. I planned on getting a job and working for about 40 years before retiring. I never thought that I could do something else with my life, start a business, and create my own destiny instead of relying only on others.

This internship I had while on a study abroad program kicked off a series of events that led me to where I am today and shaped the way I look at the world. I gained the valuable skills necessary to discern whether or not to pursue a recent business opportunity, and it opened the door to many more opportunities I continue to look for.

4 Responses to How an Internship Abroad Helped Shape My Career Path

  1. Squirrelers says:

    The right internship can really make a big difference in not only your upcoming full-time job, but can also shape the direction you want to take. I was a little too focused on the money when choosing my internship, and could have gone more for the learning/experience aspect. It worked out fine, but I still think of that from time to time. Seems like your experience was really good.

  2. krantcents says:

    College is a wonderful time to explore and figure out what you should do in life. Exposure to all of this helps us make better decisions. More people should use their college years to go and explore.

  3. Thanks for sharing – that’s awesome! Bloggers like you actually are to thank for my current career. If I had never found personal finance blogs, I would never have even known about the online world or how to make a living in it. So thank you.