Samuel Andryk ’15 was a summer 2015 intern at the Centro Ecuatoriano Norteamericano in Guayaquil, Ecuador. At UW-Madison, he majored in International Studies and Spanish, with certificates in Afro-American Studies and African Studies, and studied abroad in Argentina. He currently lives in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
After some years to reflect, what were some highlights or key takeaways from your IIP internship?
You will be pushed outside your comfort zone, and unexpected things are bound to happen, but such is life. No matter how young or old you are, you will always be faced with the opportunity to step outside your comfort zone. Allow for your internship experience to do just that. The experiences from my past internships and opportunities abroad during my university studies set the foundation for me to continuously step outside my comfort zone today, 7 years later. I am forever grateful for that courage, and grateful for giving myself the opportunity to experience such great things.
How did you end up where you are now?
I studied and worked for a year in Buenos Aires, Argentina through a program at UW-Madison, then worked at my IIP internship for 5 months in Guayaquil, Ecuador. After graduating I worked for a year in Chicago to save up money. Moved to Amsterdam 4 years ago where I am currently based as an independent singer-songwriter, playing local shows all over Amsterdam. I also work as a strategic online marketing manager for a media publication based in the Netherlands. And lastly, I am working on founding my own creative agency that will offer personal and professional coaching services, as being a life coach has always been a dream of mine.
How did your IIP internship experience influence your current path?
My IIP internship experience taught me to be fluid like water. This is one of the most valuable skills you can learn in both your personal and professional life. When you are fluid like water, you let go of the things that you can’t control, and you start focusing on what you can control, and that allows you to truly be focused and learn from your surroundings. I have lived and worked in 4 different countries so far, and being fluid enough to adapt to any situation has given me much success in both my personal and professional life.
Why should undergraduates consider interning abroad?
Because the world is so big, and yet so accessible at the same time. When you force yourself to not just live, but also adapt to another culture apart from your own, you will realize that we as people are all the same. And that makes the world feel a lot less big and scary, which is such a reassuring feeling to have. Sure, we speak different languages, have different points of view on what is “normal,” eat different things, have different struggles, but the essence of who we are as humans never changes. It is a beautiful thing to connect with others.
What advice would you give to students returning abroad including how to use their experience to enhance their professional growth?
Use your newly found knowledge and experience as a force to keep propelling you forward. During your time abroad you need to be able to adapt. If you can keep that fluid mentality, you’d be surprised at how many opportunities you can find. Don’t be so quick to get fixated on doing one thing the rest of your life – “I studied this, so that means I have to do this the rest of my life otherwise I won’t be happy.” Upon graduating, I thought I wanted to work for the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires. Could have been epic, but look where I am now – also epic, and I don’t regret anything.
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.