So now you might be wondering, who am I? My name is Natalie, I am 23 years old and I am from Sweden. I am earning a bachelors in Sweden called International Sales and Marketing and it is mandatory to do an internship in the fifth semester. I chose to do my internship at an American company for a reason- that reason being it is more attractive in the market back home in the public relation area to bring the American workstyle to Sweden. I can’t tell yet what exactly I want to do when I get back home when it comes to work, but I think I want to work within the public relation and event management realm. First I need to complete my bachelor degree before I can make career decision.
It is a pleasure to fulfill my internship at Sammis | Ochoa. Everyone has been very welcoming and I feel that when I go home to Sweden, I can go with a lot more experiences than I had when I came here- but that is with everything! I have been able to be a part of some events that have been going on and it has been very interesting and such a pleasure. The role of my internship is helping with company sales. Meetings are held in an American way (it seems that it is more chill here than back home) while at the same time it is still focused, but on a good level. This internship has also taught me that you are just a human being. You can’t do more than you already do and are able to do. Even if you are working with social media or communication, you must pause for a minute and breathe. One thing that also is very interesting is that people give compliments to other people more often. If you see a person you think has a very nice jacket, tell him or her that. When I experienced this my first time I was shocked that a person would just said this to a stranger, but it was nice and I will always carry that with me. It is something I will definitely take with me home to Sweden.
I don’t know if it is because I am from a Scandinavian country, but all the people I have met seem to be very fascinated that I am from Sweden! Some people think that I am from Switzerland, then they start talking about how beautiful the mountains are. So, after all those situations I have gotten used to saying “you know that blue and yellow flag that looks like a cross? I am from that country.” Some people look like question marks when I am telling them where I am from. It seems that American people don’t know so much about Europe, as we from Europe and Scandinavia know bits about America.
I didn’t know what I was supposed to face when I travelled across the Atlantic Ocean on my way to San Antonio for five months in a country that isn’t the same as Sweden. It is not the first time I am moving to a new country for a short period of time, but America is so far away and has another life standard than Sweden and Europe- that’s what I have faced now.
When I talked to my boss about job and school differences, he thought that Sweden is this amazing country and yes (in my perspective) it is. Let me explain for you how. The education in Sweden is free, from first grade to 9th grade you don’t need to pay anything and you get free food at school. The same system is implemented in high school and college. In college you only need to pay for books you need for your course, and you can do so by borrowing money from the government. You get one grant and one loan. It is divided up, so when you are done with school you get your own payback plan of your loans. Isn’t that a cool thing? So, you don’t need to work when you go to school, of course you can do that if you want to, but it is not necessary.
When you are a full-time employee and have a new born child, you are allowed to be home with you child for almost a year and get paid 50% approximately from an insurance company. This money you don’t need to pay back either. People also get 5 weeks paid vacation every year. I have heard that in America you only have 4 weeks and you don’t even get paid sometimes.
I have now been in America for 4 months all I can say is that it isn’t the same as back home. There are a lot of differences and it might be interesting for you to know in which perspective I see American culture. I can start with the traffic and road conditions. In comparison to Sweden, the roads are not as well kept. I have had my car for 3 weeks and I have already got a screw in my tire, that would never happen back home. Of course it can happen, but then you might have very bad luck!
I have also discovered how polite people are here to each other. It is so constant, that it is hard to understand if it really means anything when you get a smile back from a person you bump into on the street or in a store. One thing I have had very hard time to understand is the use of “excuse me” and “I am sorry”. Let me give you an example. In a store when a person crosses your way (notice that we haven’t crashed into each other) and that person right away says “I am sorry” or “excuse me”. It is not something we do in Sweden. Why say sorry when you haven’t done anything bad? Though I understand the value of this, I suppose it is just a different way of thinking. This is just my experiences and what I have registered in another country a long way home from my own country.
Though there are a lot of differences between Sweden and America, I am super happy that I get the opportunity to spend 5 months in this amazing country and experience all these kinds of differences. This is my story and my reflections over some parts of the America. If you ask me I have more to tell. but then this text would be really long!
So I thank Sammis | Ochoa for having me in their company for 5 months. I have learned things that I thought I would never learn if I would have my internship in Sweden. I think it is important to experience other countries and cultures so you can understand those cultures but also be happy for what you have back home.
Take care America and thank you Sammis | Ochoa.