We have finally reached the last week of my internship and my semester in London. Though I was not placed in an industry that I had much experience in, I was able to gain new experience and transferable skills. I learned how to conduct myself in business meetings and grew my knowledge of email etiquette. I learned more methods of content creation and the importance of contact points with clients and users. Being the owner of a business is not easy, but the payoff of your hard work is inspirational and satisfying. I cannot wait until my time comes and I can put into practice all the skills I was taught at UF and show the world my talent in floral arranging.
My last Friday in London was full of activities. To start the day, I headed to a new borough to participate in a renowned Floral Art and Design show. I got the chance to see a variety of designs made with seasonal, foreign, and regional flowers. Though I would not personally use such abstract and grand style, I learned more elements of floral design and how the flowers are highlighted by the decorations around them. As I watched throughout the floors, I noticed that there was a lack of diversity in race, age, and gender. Most of the people around me were old (65+), white women. I want to shake up this demographic by shifting the market to reflect millennials, as the baby bomber generation is close to the end of their lives. As they are a huge part of the consumer base, this will be a difficult task, but I believe in myself and the skills I have been taught across industries. Since I am starting my floral career much earlier than many designers who start after they have completed 30-year-old careers, and I have started with a business perspective before floristry, I can stand tall against competitors.
One of the last activities I had before I left was watching an world renowned musical that has had a long-lasting impact on the theater industry: Phantom of the Opera. I was recommended this musical from my Godmother, so I decided to listen and see if I would enjoy it. The theatrical effects did surprise me with their detail. The iconic chandelier was so big and close to the crowd! Overall, the performance by the cast was amazing though. You could tell they were passionate about their career and the impact they would have on the audience. The music was an interesting blend of techniques from the 1980’s with an early 1900’s aura. Without a doubt, my favorite song was the theme song. Whenever it was played, chills rang down my spine and I got goosebumps. I am still in awe about how someone’s vocal chords can produces such sounds.
My last full day was spent thanking South Kensington for the joy it brought me. We lived in such a beautiful area for the past three months. It’s central location allowed us quick and easy navigating to many of the activities FIE had set up for us. Despite being only a dew minutes walk away from two very large and well visited museums, I could never find the time to visit them until my last day! Would you imagine that? I am so happy I took the time to visit them because I ended falling in love with the beauty of gemstones. I had only started being to like jewelry less than a year ago but after seeing all those designs and shiny minerals, I could not help the smile they put on my face. I hope to continue doing my research and learning more about jewelry and all those gems I saw.
After 88 days, my study abroad journey in London has come to an end. Though I may have to leave, for now, my London experience doesn’t end at those coordinates. The time I spent in London has changed me. I am not the same person I was when I arrived in London on May 16th. This new me is a result of a semester of challenges, new resolve, and increased self-efficacy. My last few days I spent in stages of disbelief and shock but with an overwhelming feeling of preparedness. My soul knew that this was the end of an era. I felt ready to go since the last week of my internship, not because I was tired of London but because I had completed all the growth, that I would gain from this semester abroad. There were so many next things I tried, so many difficulties I faced, but I stood tall and succeeded at them all.
Getting the rare opportunity to study abroad is a blessing that I will not take for granted. Without scholarship funds such as the Fund for Education Abroad, Benjamin A. Gilman, Foundation for International Education, and internal scholarships from my university and college, I would not be here in London. I would not have been able to afford my program fees and other expenses without their faithful support of one of my biggest goals. As I prepare to start my next semester, I will move forward with strength, knowing that the challenges I face are nothing in comparison to what I have faced in the past. I plan to continue my study abroad journey and grow, even more, becoming more competitive in the job market and prepared for more international assignments. I hope to continue learning patience, grace, respect for others, acceptance, and appreciation for new experiences. Thank you FEA and I hope to continue spreading the joy from my experience!