I am a student in the Strategic Communications program at the University of Utah. This summer, I participated in the Entrepreneurship Minor study abroad program in Barcelona, Spain.

When I discovered the program offered by Eccles Global at the business school, I automatically looked into it. Along with a minor in Entrepreneurship, the program offered an internship with the Spanish Red Cross for a month of our learning abroad experience. There were also multiple travel opportunities within the program itself (Lisbon, Copenhagen, Madrid). The internship opportunity was a significant factor in my enrollment decision.

The Red Cross is a global non-profit organization that provides aid to people all over the world. The organization offers the opportunity to volunteer for things around Spain but needed help reaching a younger audience. On the first day of the internship, the Red Cross tasked us with developing tactics to fundraise and recruit a younger demographic. Teams were assigned and would pitch their ideas in a presentation on the last day of our internship. The top three teams would receive awards.

Red Cross employees served as mentors, giving us valuable insight into our demographic. Working with people in a different country means a language barrier. As students, we would meet with our mentor and other Red Cross employees, and the mentor would have to translate things for us and explain our ideas to them. It was very different from anything I had ever experienced in a work environment. There was also the challenge of not knowing what young people in Spain are interested in or would want incentives for. We discovered the best way for us to gather this information would be to take a survey around and have people answer a few questions for us. This helped us collect information for the Red Cross and allowed us to understand more about our location and what would create the most impact.

After a month of researching and working on ideas, we were ready to present our ideas to the Red Cross. A panel of judges would ask each group questions after their presentation. When it was time for my group to present, we felt good about the information we had provided and our general idea for the Red Cross. Once the presentations were complete, the judges left the room to choose the top three ideas. Twenty minutes later, they all returned, and we sat patiently, waiting to hear who would win. My group came in third place! We were happy with the outcome knowing that the Red Cross liked our idea enough to give us an award.

The last three months of being in the Eccles Global program have impacted my life more than anything has ever before. I have been able to travel around Europe with people I didn’t even know before coming here and have enjoyed every moment. It has allowed me to understand what it feels like to live far away from home in a completely different environment. I have learned so much about business and how things are run in a different country. It has also opened my eyes to how much I don’t know and how much I need to continue learning and take more opportunities like this one.

I am beyond grateful to the Red Cross for giving me the experience of working with such a world-renowned organization and letting me be creative in helping them with what they requested. I’m also thankful to the University of Utah and Eccles Global and their resources that have provided me with this experience of studying in such a wonderful place.

Madison Wells

Madison Wells is a University of Utah student majoring in Strategic Communications with a minor in Entrepreneurship.

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