This past summer, I had the opportunity to intern abroad in Krakow, Poland. Now, I know what you’re thinking- why in the world would I travel thousands of miles for a summer internship? I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone by challenging myself to gain a more global view of business. My corporate experience had strictly been based in America before I had the opportunity to go abroad. Working with skilled professionals at the IBM Client Innovation Center in Poland gave me a chance to appreciate the importance of cultural understanding and diversity.
As a leadership development intern at IBM, I was quickly immersed in the culture of the company. I participated in client visits, boot camps, seminars, and discussions of a variety of topics with IBM’s specialists. One of the most enlightening aspects of working for IBM was meeting for lunch with “IBMers” from functional divisions of the company. Not only did I hear firsthand about the role that their culture and background had on their work, but also how they each managed their work-life balance.
In Poland, I noticed that people are much more practical and straightforward than those I have worked for in the United States, where we often have bells and whistles that are not necessary to complete tasks. I noticed these cultural differences in the workplace and also in my homestay.