Internship Spotlight: Nicole Banakis, EI Travel Group in Dublin, Ireland

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Nicole Banakis BSBA ‘24 (Business Management with Global Business and History) was a Global Intern at EI Travel Group in Dublin, Ireland.

If you worked on a big project during your internship, please describe what you did to help. 

Though I did not work on any large projects during my internship, I found the entire experience to be very enlightening with concerns to how small businesses run, operate, and interact with adjacent corporations. Daily, I was managing administrative taskwork, meaning that I sorted, filed, and copied important documents for EI Travel Group. While this task was, at times, mundane and tedious, I often spoke to my supervisor about company operations, shortcomings, and areas for improvement. He walked me though how the company operates and allowed me to ask all questions; Since I am majoring in business management, my supervisor wanted me to understand how to run a company effectively, efficiently, and ethically. In doing so, he was very open in delineating company adversity and hardship.

What did you find most challenging about your internship?

Adapting to cultural (professional) differences was the most challenging part of my internship. My supervisor and coworkers were very casual and laid back; they frequently “chit-chatted” with me about my daily life here in Ireland. In lieu of a fast-paced and rigid work environment (which we are used to in the United States), my internship in Dublin was easy-going and relaxed. Employees even used profanities on occasion, which was quite a shock at first. Nonetheless, I adjusted to my newfound work environment quickly, and began to embrace the variations in culture and customs.

What advice do you have for other students that are also considering interning abroad?

I would advise (future) international internship students to be flexible and adaptable. While the internships are semi-structured in terms of hours and workload, large variability exists daily, especially when living in a foreign country; many of us were unaware of our placements upon landing in Dublin (and solely had 72 hours’ notice). For an avid planner like me, this was quite a stressful experience. Yet, from this incident, I began to understand the importance of adaptability; life in the twenty-first century is ever-changing, and it's necessary to be a malleable member of any workforce.

How did Eller (or your previous coursework) prepare you for your internship? 

The University of Arizona has provided me with the confidence to ask questions, act, and step up during my internship in Dublin. With a foundation in transferable skills developed through Eller, I retained the business aptitude to not only act professionally but also adapt to cultural differences in the workplace. When asked to utilize Excel or Word, I felt assured and optimistic in my abilities. The Eller College of Management is a fantastic place to learn and grow, and I am grateful for how my professors, faculty, and peers have equipped me for my international internship.