Starting the Start-up: Claire Van Raaphorst's London Internship
November 21, 2013
This summer, I worked in London, England, for a start-up technology business so new that at the time, they still hadn't decided on a name. They hired me for my English major, and I worked on writing and editing their investor document and some of their other business documents.
Since it was a start-up company, I had to have my hand in a bit of everything. I did market and company research and helped write a sales pipeline and sales pitch. I had never done this type of writing before, but I found some instruction on the internet and asked my bosses about their previous experience. Using this and a large dose of creativity, I pulled off something that the bosses were enthusiastic about.
Besides learning a lot about business and business writing, I sort of got Computer Programming 101 on the job. When I left for London I always had to call my brother or dad for any hiccup on my phone or computer. At the end of my internship, when I thought I broke a computer program, I could actually work through trying to fix it.
On the flip side, I was the resident expert on writing. I made substantial revisions to many important documents, to make them more clear and understandable. The business owners respected all parts of what I did even though I was an intern.
Living in London was crazy, but I caught on fast to reading maps and being on my own. Coming out for dinner with a friend one evening, we walked right into a movie premiere. I scurried through the crowds and got up to where actor Simon Pegg was signing autographs. It was definitely an event I wouldn't find in my sleepy Michigan hometown!
This experience gave me a great feeling of empowerment that a liberal arts degree in English and communication studies has a very real and powerful application in a real-world business place. So many people ask me what I will do with my majors, and I can now say proudly that I can do anything.