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Career Center M31

Career Center M31

Student Success Story

Summer in Brussels Yields Professional Experience

By Leila Hernandez

International Media Student Leila Hernandez staffs the

International Media Student Leila Hernandez staffs the "Rockford, Illinois" booth at the Paris Air Show.

The International Media Master’s Program is what brought me to AU. There was no program like it at any other university. By taking classes in both the School of Communication and the School of International Service, International Media perfectly combines my passion for story-telling with my hunger for international experiences.

This past summer, I gained real international media experience through the SIS Summer Abroad Internship Program in Brussels, Belgium. For six weeks I worked as a trade assistant for the State of Illinois – West European Office of Trade and Investment. I called international aerospace manufacturing companies across Europe on my first day of work to schedule appointments with their sales executives on behalf of the Rockford (Illinois) Area Economic Development Council for the Paris Air Show in June. To show her appreciation, my supervisor sent me to the Paris Air Show for a day, all expenses paid! I also researched and made appointments with various members of the E.U. Commission and Parliament for visiting academics from Illinois.

The greatest part of my internship, however, was the opportunity to network with politicians and professionals from all over Europe. My supervisor sent me to E.U. policy debates and panel discussions. She also sent me to the launch party of a new magazine, WAB (Wallonia and Brussels) Magazine. I met the editor of WAB Magazine and asked him if I could write for his magazine. After telling him about my academic and professional experience, he told me to write a story about that night’s launch party. When I sent him the story two days later, he said, “This is exactly what I was looking for. It’ll be in September’s issue.”

In Professor Lawrence’s Media Writing class, she always encouraged us to aggressively seek to get published. That gave me the confidence to approach the editor of a Belgian magazine and offer my writing services. And the International Media program, overall, gave me the opportunity to live, work, network, and get published in Europe – now that’s International Media!