Aaron Hathaway ’18 was a summer 2017 intern at the Copenhagen Post in Denmark, after studying abroad in Copenhagen during the spring semester. Aaron majored in Journalism and Scandinavian Studies with a certificate in Digital Studies. He is currently employed at Famly in Copenhagen, Denmark.
How did you end up where you are now?
I did my internship in the summer of 2017, then returned to UW-Madison and graduated in May 2018 with degrees in journalism and Scandinavian studies. Then I got a [post-grad] internship with a Danish architecture firm called Henning Larsen, and I worked in their press/media department for a year and a half, mostly writing articles for the website and helping with PR campaigns. I very badly wanted to stay in Copenhagen, so I went hunting for a full-time job here [and was hired] as a Content Manager for Famly, a Copenhagen-based firm that makes a software for kindergartens and child care centers to help keep track of their administrative tasks. The job’s a wonderful fit, and I continue to love living in Copenhagen.
How did your IIP internship experience influence your current path?
I think my IIP internship made me realize that working abroad was a lot more feasible than I’d thought. It seemed hard because I didn’t know anything about it. But it was great to take those first steps, and be able to have IIP there to offer resources, assistance and support.
After the internship, pursuing a career in Denmark seemed a whole lot more feasible. I had a bit of a network going here, and I knew I could do it — it felt way easier searching for internships and jobs after graduation, because I knew what to expect from the whole application and relocation process.
What were some highlights or key takeaways from your IIP internship?
I think my best highlight [from my internship with the Copenhagen Post] was when I was writing a story about virtual reality in Copenhagen. I learned that Tivoli (an amusement park in the city) was debuting a roller coaster with a VR experience, and I figured if I wrote about it, they’d let me ride the roller coaster for free. I was right! I got to interview the park’s ride designer, and he took me around the whole park and told me stories and let me ride the VR roller coaster. Very cool.
What message do you have for undergraduates who are considering interning abroad?
Give it a shot! It’s probably never going to be easier for you to move abroad. From here on out, you’re only going to have more professional/personal/family commitments that are going to make it tough to do. Plus, once you’re there, you can start building a network that will make it easier to pursue something more permanent in that country, if you’re ever interested.
What advice would you give to students returning abroad, including how to use their experience to enhance their professional growth?
Keep in touch with the professional network you make while you’re interning abroad — having personal contacts in a country helps so much if you’re trying to get a job there later. And if you’re not applying for jobs in that same country, it’s still great to bring up your internship abroad. Emphasize that not only did you build your skills/knowledge at the job, but you did so while learning the ropes of a new culture and city. People love multi-taskers, and all the better if you’ve learned broader cultural sensitivity and empathy along the way.
Is there any custom, food, tradition from your host country that you still enjoy now?
In my opinion, Denmark has a fundamentally healthier attitude toward work than the US. In just about every job, workers get paid more, enjoy more vacation and benefits, have stronger job security, and can expect a much gentler balance between work and one’s private life. Things like this make a meaningful, tangible difference in my day-to-day happiness, and make me so glad I was able to explore working abroad through IIP.
In honor of the International Internship Program’s 10th Anniversary, we will be bringing you profiles of IIP alumni who have interned all over the world! Find more alumni profiles here.