Study Abroad Options: Should I get an Internship or Study Abroad?

EDITOR’S NOTE: At the time this piece was written, Jen, Holly and Amanda had not yet published their book and I hadn’t really broken into the travel writing industry yet. You can now buy their book The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World. (Harper Collins, 2010). I’ve since expanded my Italian mini-series into a full-blown website and I’m the deputy editor for LostGirlsWorld.com working with dozens of contributing writers. Read more about where I am now.

Consider your study abroad options before jumping into an internship

This summer I landed a sweet studying abroad program in Florence, Italy for six weeks. Then I’ll be backpacking (destination TBD) afterward. Sounds ideal? Yes, except earlier this semester I had a BIG decision to make about my summer plans…

I’m on the executive board for the Syracuse University’s chapter of the magazine networking group ED2010. We bring in professionals in the journalism world to give us college students tips on entering the industry. Call it fate, or serendipity, but we recently brought in three young editors and freelance writers who left their jobs in NYC to travel around the world. Amanda Pressner, Jen Baggett and Holly Corbett started a website called Lost Girls World, and they are in the process of writing a book about their travels. They reentered the job market with no problems and sold the movie rights to their story to Warner Bros. They came to speak to us about a week before I had to decide whether I’d apply for Florence or not. I didn’t know what to do and I was anxious about it. I REALLY wanted to go to Florence but was super worried that if I didn’t get an NYC magazine internship I’d miss out big time career-wise.

When I met these girls I told them my dilemma. Who better to ask than three girls who quit their jobs to travel the world, right? Plus, since Amanda was an internship coordinator for SELF magazine, she of all people would know what I should do. We talked about my options, and it was then that my love affair with Lost Girls started. Unanimously, they eagerly pushed me to go to Florence. It took three minutes and my mind (and heart) was made up.

A few weeks later, Holly and I sat down for coffee and talked about travel writing. We’ve teamed up and I’m starting as their first intern where I’ll be traveling AND writing for Lost Girls. I get the best of both worlds. So, its official. On May 27 I’ll board a Florence-bound plane and will be a Lost Girl myself. Italia here I come!

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