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Meet Fleur in New York!

Meet Fleur in New York!

“To be honest, I don’t think it could have gone any better. My internship company was so nice and everybody that worked there.” - Fleur arranged her internship in the US with Stage-USA.

Can you tell us something about yourself?
My name is Fleur and I’m 19 years old. I’m following a 4-year study at HMC college Rotterdam. I live in Capelle aan den IJssel together with my mom, dad and younger sister. I love traveling. I play field hockey and I love shopping and keeping up to date with all the fashion trends.

Why did you choose to go abroad?
Since I was around 12 years old I told my parents that I appreciated The Netherlands but that I won’t be staying here forever. I chose my school because it gave me the opportunity to follow an internship abroad. I always have loved speaking and watching things in English, because to me it sounds so much nicer than Dutch. So, when I started looking at videos and listening to music in English I started to get more interested in the US. That’s when I started thinking about living abroad.
But I realized that that’s not easy and not really realistic for a teenager. So then when I started looking for schools I found HMC collage in Rotterdam and they had an internship abroad program.

How did you find your internship?
After my second year I really started looking at opportunities and I found this company Stage USA. There was a lot of information on the website and from that moment it all started to feel so real. I also knew that this was something I really wanted to do. After contacting Stage USA, we scheduled a skype meeting and in that meeting we discussed what kind of internship I wanted, where in the US I wanted to follow my internship and more. They started looking for an internship company in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami or New York. Then they contacted me that there were 3 companies in New York and one of them wanted to have a skype meeting with me. This was the company that I ended up following my internship at. Stage USA also helped me with my visa and housing.

How do you feel about your internship?
To be honest, I don’t think it could have gone any better. My internship company was so nice and everybody that worked there. Before I started I already got a list of everything they expected me to do every month I was there. And they told me you can do whatever you want at this internship. You can learn as much as you want to and also get involved in every project and learn how we work. I also met a lot of people while I was staying in New York. I had my own small room at the Webster apartments. For me this was perfect because I was able to meet a lot of people over there. Your breakfast and dinner are included in your rent and it the tenants are girls only.

How does the American culture differ from your culture and what has impressed you the most?
The first thing that surprised me was that people in New York are so nice. It might be weird to say that, but I definitely did not expect that. Everywhere I went I felt very welcome. You can also dress how you like without people looking at you like your crazy or weird. I feel like everybody respects each for who they are and they don’t judge each other. People who don’t know each other talk to each other on the subway like they have known each other for years and once a lady screamed at me that she liked my pants. In The Netherlands people would have thought that lady was crazy. But over here it’s just normal and I actually like it when people walk over to someone and tell them that they like their outfit or their hair just because it definitely can make someone’s day. I still remember it, even though it happened already almost 5 months ago.
Something people always asked me if I ever felt unsafe in such a big city. And actually no. I don’t really know how to describe it but I just never felt unsafe.

Could you take us through a day?
My daily routine was a little different than I expected. I woke up between 6:45 and 7:15. When it was 7:15 I knew I had to shower because otherwise I was going to be late. After that, I got ready and went downstairs for breakfast. I normally had breakfast with a couple of other girls who were staying at the Webster apartments. Around 8:30 I left and walked to the subway to catch my train to downtown New York.
When I arrived at my internship most of the time they already had a list of things I could do. There has never been a moment that there was nothing to do. Around 5:30 I went home. Most of the times when I got home I was so tired that I just laid on my bed for 45 minutes to prepare for dinner. Then I went to dinner with the girls from the Webster apartments. And there are 3 options to do the rest of the night. Number one is watch Netflix and eat Oreos. Number two was doing my laundry and the third one was doing something fun with the girls.
But most of the times it was number one because I was so tired and I felt like I really needed sleep.
Oh, I also forgot that there was a fourth option. For the people in The Netherlands I made a weekly blog to inform them what my life was like. This was something I liked doing but it literally took so much time that sometimes I looked at my phone and all off a sudden it was 1 am.
But on the weekends, I tried to visit as many things as I could. Together with other girls from the Webster apartments I went to Central )ark, Shake Shack (not just one time), Williamsburg, Coney Island, Soho and many more things. And If you would like to read about everything I did in New York the link to my blog will be down below.

What was your housing situation?
As I was saying I stayed at a women-only apartment complex called the Webster apartments. You have your own room and you share a couple bathrooms with around 20 other girls. My room wasn’t big but everything I brought with me from the Netherlands fit in there. Your room gets cleaned once a week and you can wash your clothes on different floors. What I really liked was that they serve 3 meals a day and 2 of them are included in your rent.
The dining room was really big and you were able to meet a lot of new people and have breakfast, lunch or dinner with them. In the summer time you’re also able to eat in the garden. And this is very special because almost nobody has a garden in Manhattan.
There also is 24/7 security what I really liked because now you never have to worry about strange people outside and you know for sure your stuff in your room is safe.
There was a rooftop that had an amazing view; I could sit here for hours and just enjoy the view around me. There are also a couple tv rooms where you could watch tv with the other girls but you could also invite people over who are not staying at the Webster apartments.

Have you made any trips?
During my internship I visited a house in The Hamptons we were working on 4 times. It was so amazing to see the whole process and also to see how big New York is. A lot of people think it’s just a big city with sky-high buildings, but that’s not true. There is so much more to see and discover.
Also, after I finished my internship my family flew over and we went on a road trip. We visited Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles and many more places.

What are your future plans?
I have one more year of school left and after that I would love to travel a lot.

How has this experience abroad helped you grow both professionally and personally?
You are there for yourself and while you’re there your growing as a person because I never lived by myself. And now I’m living by myself so far away from all my family and friends. So it helped me get more in depended and I also think I was more myself over there because everybody just accepted me for who I am.
And I learned a lot at my internship company. There were a lot of things that I did learn in school, but I didn’t know why or how people used those things when they are working on a real project. 
I also learned a couple other things that I did not learn in school and now I’m able to use those things for other projects.

Why would you recommend others to do their internship/traineeship abroad?
It really helps you to grow personally and professionally. My English was not bad or anything but it has improved so much because of this 3-month internship abroad.
If you are able to do an internship abroad I will always tell people to do it. It’s such a crazy experience and it is something you did and you can definitely be proud of yourself if you did something abroad.
You also meet a lot of people and you expend your group of friends. Right now, I have friends in New York, Germany and other places just because I went abroad and met the people who wanted to do the same thing as you.

If you could express your internship experience in three words, what would these be?
I never know how to express something in 3 words but I’m going to try. The 3 words for my internship are: best experience ever.
And the 2 words after my internship are: what’s next? Because I definitely can’t wait until I can do something like this again.