By Carrington Kujawski, Programs & Services Intern
“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate.” – Pico Iyer
I was warned when I started to travel internationally that it would change everything about me: it would change my habits, my preferences, and my perspective. I was warned that learning about other cultures would become addictive, for the more I looked at the differences outside my comfort zone and background, the more I would learn about myself. While interning at The International Center, I have discovered not only ways to cultivate my own cultural interests, but also fostered skills focused on international business and seen how global outreach occurs on a daily basis and penetrates every aspect of our modern life.
Last Tuesday, I attended a World Trade Club meeting at the PNC Center to discuss customs brokerage. I walked into the meeting with absolutely no idea what customs brokerage meant, but by the time Joy Cooper finished her presentation to some of the top business leaders in the Indianapolis community, I was made aware of how almost everything we see in daily life has an international component. Now with manufacturing and businesses going global, companies who import and export their goods have to deal with international standards on an hourly basis. While I can’t say I found the subject matter particularly interesting, it introduced me to another component of globalization. And – fingers crossed – potentially another internship in international marketing.
The rest of the week was focused on developing from a cultural standpoint. When I wasn’t observing a training workshop on China, I was focused on researching international protocol and etiquette. Now, fortunately, I know how to properly hold a personal meeting with the Pope, the President, and the Queen.
While only a month into my internship at The International Center, I can firmly state that the passion in all of my coworkers to make the Indianapolis community better is contagious. The staff genuinely cares about their cause, which includes encouraging young professionals like myself to explore new areas of interest and develop career skills. I am excited to uncover new opportunities in the upcoming months, not only to develop professionally, but to contribute to my local community now and in the future.