Helix Culture

From England To The States: Interning As An International Student

August 21, 2023 8:35 AM

The Process

Welcome back to the internship blog series, where you will learn about the behind-the-scenes of a content writing internship. 

A quick recap about me, I am Keri Matthews, and I am the content writing intern at Helix House. I am an international student-athlete studying marketing at Arizona State University, and most importantly, I love football. If you do too, come support Sun Devil Soccer this fall.

Interning in summer is one of the most valuable things you can do in college. Not only do internships equip you with new skills, interning allows you to gain real-world experience that the textbooks can’t teach.

However, interning as an international student throws a spanner in the works (creates some barriers) because as an international student studying in the US, you must follow the rules and regulations of the F1 visa. From firsthand experience, finding an internship as an international student is not a small feat. But it is all worth it!

Let's be honest; doing application after application for internships may feel like a dead end or a never-ending battle. I know the feeling. The bottom line is to stay consistent, and you will find your opportunity. Luckily, I found an AMAZING opportunity at Helix House.

The first thing to remember as an international student is to keep in line with your visa. As an international student studying in the States, gaining a CPT or an OPT authorizes you to do your internship. 

My top tip is if you are an international student, look for internships that accept CPT/OPT. Handshake is a great platform to use where you can narrow down your search results to find something that will work for you! 

The Agency Experience 

Opportunity To Learn From The Best

Navigating the internship experience is challenging when you don’t have the proper support. Fortunately, Helix House is filled with amazing and talented people! I am over the moon to have the opportunity to learn from everyone here. 

As an intern, every part of the experience is new and fascinating, making each day engaging. Right off the bat, everyone was super-duper-friendly, which helped me settle in quickly. 

Sitting in meetings and hearing different ideas popping up left, right, and center has been exciting. In creative meetings, I learn about influencer marketing, landing page optimization, and ad formats. On the flipside in content meetings, I hear Elaina, Nate and Cody bounce creative ideas off each other for blogs and email marketing campaigns. 

On top of the great vibes from everyone, I am lucky enough to be mentored by Elaina. Elaina is great, super talented, and has been fantastic in helping me improve my writing. Between our daily check-ins and the incredible feedback Elaina gives me on blogs, I have already learned so much. 

Each summer many students are applying for internships making finding one competitive, especially finding one in an area of interest. And so, gaining agency experience can be rare. Nonetheless, it is true when people say gaining work experience is extremely valuable. I couldn’t recommend it enough.  

Making Mistakes

When Elaina tasked me with writing my first blog for Albuquerque Self Storage, it goes without saying that I was nervous (but also very excited). I know in soccer we have prematch nerves; maybe it’s called first blog nerves!? After I handed my first-ever draft to Elaina, she gave me feedback on improving my writing, which I now use daily and will continue to use in the future. 

Odds are that, like me, you learn the most by doing. That is why it's a no-brainer to find an internship. Internships allow you to see what you like and what field of work may be right for you. Let's say that you hate your internship; regardless, you will still develop professionally and personally. Knowing what you don’t like is equally as important as knowing what you do like.

My interest in copywriting was sparked before this internship and has increased tenfold since being at Helix House! Being exposed to the inner workings of creating blogs and advertisements  has only increased my passion for marketing. Beyond that, learning about all the different areas that make up an agency from copywriters to account managers has been amazing.

Above all, interns are like sponges; both soak up everything. Being an intern at Helix House, I am constantly learning, from gaining SEO knowledge to learning that Cody loves Dungeons and Dragons. Each day is an opportunity to learn, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Remote Internship 

As a car-less international student, finding a remote internship was the ideal option for me. A remote internship may be off-putting to some people as you feel you won’t get the whole experience. However, I can say with certainty that interning remotely is excellent. 

Every day I commute to my work desk with a cuppa tea (Yorkshire tea, to be exact) and my gran's homemade shortbread (yes, the shortbread did travel across the sea with me). Moreover, as a student-athlete, the flexibility of remote work is a massive plus. Elaina has been amazing at working around my schedule.

After the pandemic, remote work has become more accessible, making it very convenient. My favorite thing about working from home is the lack of commute. Being able to log in straight away from home is frankly, unbeatable! In our digital age, remote work has become a great option. 

Thank You

Thank you for tuning into the second part of this internship series. I hope you enjoyed my reflection on interning at Helix House.

Helix House is a fantastic place to work, with even better people. And as I have learned from being away from home, it’s the people that make a place!