It’s not every day a Georgia College student has the opportunity to take a river cruise through Prague, mingle with world leaders, tour the sites of the Siege of Sarajevo or spend five days a week learning the ins and outs of a foreign economy. But for sophomore Kevin Morris, that has been just the beginning of his summer internship abroad.
“I came into college knowing study abroad was definitely on my agenda,” Morris said. “That fact that I had never had the opportunity to visit other places made me all the more determined to step outside my comfort zone and embark on a totally new experience.”
The economics and political science major, who had rarely traveled outside the southern U.S., arrived in Zagreb, Croatia on May 13 to begin his three-month-long internship with the International Trade Administration (ITA) branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“I heard back from the U.S. Embassy in Croatia almost right away and was offered a spot during the subsequent Skype interview,” Morris said.
A typical day for Morris includes performing market research on sectors of the Croatian economy for analysis reports, acting as liaison for foreign companies wishing to purchase U.S. products and for U.S. companies wishing to enter the Croatian market, meeting with industry representatives and traveling to different cities in Croatia for trade conventions.
“Not only has this internship allowed me to apply what I’ve learned in my economics and political science classes, but I’ve also gained knowledge that comes only with experience working in this field,” Morris said. “I’ve been able to see first hand how the Embassy deals with new developments in the political environment here in Croatia and around the world.”
As much as Morris is adapting to his time abroad, there have been things he’s had to get accustom to in Croatia. Issues like no air conditioning and limited amount of familiar cereal brands in the breakfast aisle have been easy problems for him to tackle. However, living in a foreign country has also situated Morris into a minority role, which he says has enabled him to gain new perspectives on life in the U.S.
“Being a cultural and linguistic minority has been eye-opening,” Morris said. “I haven’t had many experiences in the U.S where I have been in the minority. I think living in Croatia has made me much more cognizant of the difficulties of people who are under represented in their communities.”
With a little more than a month left in his internship, Morris is taking in as much as he can, both academically and culturally. He also says traveling so far from home has made him much more self- sufficient and open to trying new things.
“Traveling outside the U.S. makes the events and circumstances you learn about in class and in the media become very real,” Morris said. “I wouldn’t trade what I have been able to do for the world, and I know that this is something that will continue to impact me for the rest of my life.”
For more information on studying or interning abroad, contact the International Education Center at 478- 445- 4789 or the Career Center at 478- 445- 5384.