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What I learned from my Infestation Internship

For the past three months I have been lucky enough to intern at Infestation Design. Today, one of our art directors asked me what I learned interning abroad in Cape Town. She also wanted to know my thoughts on the differences between working in South Africa and where I’m from in the United States. At first, I didn’t know how to answer her. Now I know why.

I learned a lot working at Infestation. I learned that South African Wifi doesn’t care if you have a deadline or a skype call, designers love it when you obnoxiously remind them to do things over and over again, that South African’s are just as clueless about American geography as most American’s are about African geography (Yes there are TWO Washington’s) and more thought, time and effort go into designing a beautiful website than you could ever imagine.

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But the most important thing I learned while interning abroad in Cape Town is not something that jumped out at me at first, because it’s not exactly a tangible skill. I learned that I can travel 12,557 km (or 7,803 miles as they would say in the States) from home and survive. I learned that no matter where in the world I may be, as long as I bring an open mind, a good attitude and surround myself with people who do the same, I can survive and thrive.

I also learned that interning in South Africa is not that different. On the surface, some things take getting used to – there’s new slang to learn and adjusting to an office where couches and hammocks exist but cubicles don’t. But after an initial adjustment and help from my awesome co-workers, I quickly realized that Infestation is an incredibly impressive company that would rival any in the States. Everyone here works hard every day to deliver their best work and to advance the company that they feel a part of. I don’t think that is a trait of a South African company but rather a universal trait of successful business all over the world.

You may think that I’m copping out from actually answering the initial question. I’d have to disagree. That’s a huge thing to learn- that the world’s not that scary. Infestation showed me that I can be successful wherever I chose to be and that is a lesson that I will take with me wherever I go. Besides, how boring would a list of the technical and marketing skills I learned be in a blog post? That’s what Linked In is for.

So, a big thank you to Christo and the team at Infestation for having me and I hope our paths cross in the future.

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by Shelby Szuba

 

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