After studying abroad for a semester in Granada, Spain, Allison Cohen, a senior Communication major and Spanish minor, was eager to utilize her Spanish. Her chance came when she landed an internship with Otsu Group, a Spanish-based marketing company, at their New York City office.
“The most rewarding aspect of studying abroad was coming back and being fluent in Spanish,” says Cohen.
Speaking another language, she says, wasn’t just a cultural experience for her, but one that she thinks gives her a leg up in the global job market.
“Knowing Spanish was really useful because I was surrounded by it all the time,” says Cohen, who regularly participated in Skype calls with the company’s headquarters in Valencia, Spain. “My bosses would speak to each other in Spanish, so it was nice to be able to understand what was going on.”
As an international marketing agency, Otsu Group provides marketing services for companies around the world, including law firms, sports agencies and clinics. Cohen worked in public relations for their frozen yogurt company, called Yooglers.
Cohen says working and communicating with supervisors who lived in a different country so far away posed a challenge that was initially hard to surmount, but ultimately taught her the benefits of international business savvy.
“With the time differences, it was really difficult not to have such a structured physical relationship with my bosses,” says Cohen, who says her long-distance communicating skills definitely improved. “I learned how to make decisions for the greater good of the company.”
Further, Cohen says she developed her skills in compromise and developed a good business sense.
“I think from a PR and advertising aspect, so it was really beneficial to understand how the industry works in a business setting,” says Cohen.
“I can’t imagine going into my senior year with having had an internship. It’s just a foot in the door, and that’s so invaluable.”
Before working at Otsu Group, Cohen says that combining her interests in communication and her love of Spanish was an idea that was encouraged by her high school Spanish teacher.
“I had an amazing teacher in high school, Louise Giardina, who really inspired my and encouraged me to pursue Spanish,” says Cohen. “I feel that the basis of language is the proper communication skills, so I figured why not make a major out of both of these things?”
Cohen says that graduate student Alex Merceron and adjunct faculty member Susan Grantham of the UConn Communication Department have helped shaped her long-term career goals of working in public relations.
“They are both phenomenal teachers, and they have made it very clear that PR is something that I would love to do in the long run,” says Cohen.
Moving forward, Cohen says she feels that by learning the ropes of the marketing world and making international connections, she is better prepared to enter the job market after graduation.
“I can’t imagine going into my senior year with having had an internship,” says Cohen. “It’s just a foot in the door, and that’s so invaluable.”
Cohen says that in the future she would be interested in working at Ostu’s headquarters in Valencia.
“I really enjoy planning and communicating with people, as well as cross-branding,” Cohen says. “I love speaking Spanish and learning about different cultures, so this internship has definitely encouraged me to travel and pursue my dreams.”
By Samantha Ruggiero ’14 (CLAS)