Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My internship in Brussels...

I am having the time of my life in Belgium!!! I've only been here for a few weeks, but I already have a year's worth of spectacular anecdotes to tell. Let me use this first blog post to talk about my internship (that is, of course, why I came to Brussels).

I am interning at the State of Illinois - West European Office. And I love it. This office's goals are to help Illinois businesses that want to expand into the European market and also to encourage European businesses to move to and invest in the state of Illinois. I'm working on two different projects right now, but I'll just tell ya about the more exciting one.

The city of Rockford, Illinois, wants to promote itself as a center for aerospace engineering and manufacuring on the world stage, so representatives from the city of Rockford are going to the Paris Air Show in the middle of June to meet and network with the largest aerospace firms in the world. My job is to call all of these aerospace corporations and try to make appointments with their CEOs and sales reps one behalf of the city of Rockford.

And I love it! On my first day I was cold-calling companies in France, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, etc. It was scary and intimidating at first, but then I really got into the rhythm of it. My supervisor said my goal was to book 5 appointments for the Rockford reps. So far I've confirmed 8 appointments ;-)

I've never worked in an office before. I've never had a job where I had to wear "grown-up" clothes before. I've never worked in sales, trade, or investment. But I'm loving it! I'm hooked. Every time I confirm another appointment, I punch the sky.

And the best part is --> my supervisor is sending me to Paris for a day so that I can see the fruits of my labor firsthand at the Paris Air Show. She gave me my train tickets today. I'm going to Paris, for the first time in my life, on Wednesday, June 15th. And someone else is paying for it. I'm a lucky, lucky girl.

Here's a link to a local TV station in Rockford, Illinois, that did a story on the Paris Air Show. Click on the little camera next to the title "Paris Air Show" to watch the story. Then you'll get an idea of what I'm doing in Brussels.

I love Belgium. I don't ever want to leave.

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