Professional Internship Program
Learn more about the organization and past events.
Funny moments to remember
Elephant Bar greeted us with an awesome music and lovely atmosphere. This jazz bar is famous among locals and was suggested to us by a very nice Uber driver who said that one can really sense the Austin authentic feeling there. In one of the enrichment trip evenings Jelena, Lauris, Balázs and Marta in this particular jazz bar decided not only to have a glass of a good beer, but also to use this possibility and promote BAFF and HAESF. This bar, as you can see, is decorated with dollar bills on the walls and ceilings providing the readers with various random information.
On the next pic you see our contribution to the bar and people of Austin. With the help of athletic Jelena the bill was successfully glued on the ceiling and now is spreading the word of the amazing organizations: BAFF and HAESF.
Active Latvians decided that Austin is the best place where to start sailing class. Well, if not sailing then at least a nice boat trip in the Lady Bird Lake. The weather was just perfect and here five the nature lovers (from the left: Emīls, Lauris, Marta… and two girls who got lost behind the scenes: Anna and Jeļena) decided to take this chance and enjoy a different, less touristic view of Austin, enjoying the skyline and amazing bridges approaching from the water. This particular picture I like because here you can see the typical busy view of the trail near the lake: the amazing guy playing guitar in the background, or to be more precise, “on the top of Emil’s head”, also, the girls jogging with the stroller and others just exercising. This spot under the bridge was magical! The guitar guy was playing really typical Texan songs and had a wonderful voice – basically we enjoyed this private concert sitting in the “first row” in the boats at the wavy water.
As I mentioned we started as five people: Emīls, Marta, Lauris, Jeļena, Anna, but on the way Anna and Jelena mystically disappeared. They had their own little adventure that they will probably tell in another BAFF reunion. Here in the last pic we are all happy together, alive and dry ready to go on the shore and enjoy the wonderful Texan food for dinner.
The last Saturday morning in the US started with a quick breakfast before taking the bus to Boston. The first thing we did in Boston was the Museum of Science. The museum in Boston was definitely bigger than the ones in the Baltics. It was a true American version of a science museum. The contents were very interactive and easy to follow. The most popular attraction was the lightning show, whilst the students’ favorite seemed to be the temporary caterpillar and moth exposition.
After experiencing the American way of science, we took a Duck Tours’ bus to discover Boston. The DUKW is a bus designed during World War 2 to drive on streets and rivers. As our tour guide (professionally a time traveller) said, the DUKW drives faster on land than a ship on a river and faster on a river than a tank on land. Once we were on the river, everyone got to steer the DUKW. The tour was full of history and the tour guide definitely exceeded our expectations.
The most awaited part for many of us was visiting Harvard University Campus. The biggest impression? The neverending groups of Chinese tourists. A 2013 graduate conducted the campus tour for us, so we learned a lot about student life which is full of fun and not-so-serious-at-all freshmen challenges. After touching the grass for the last time to raise our IQs, we headed to the souvenir store, from which many of us purchased T-shirts or sweaters to get a taste of being a Harvardian.
It is officially the end of the CIEE Global Entrepreneurship program and we are now on our way to explore the cities of New York and Washington DC. We are very excited for the adventures ahead of us.
It was quite a long 7-hour trip, but we made it!
After a short visit to our hotel (nearly in Times Square!), we went on to visit the High Line, a small green spot in between the skyscrapers, go up the Empire State Building and have a peek on the Times Square, before getting a rest before the new long day ahead.
Perhaps the pictures can explain more than any words could do. Most of us had an impression that New York is so big and we couldn’t stop looking up at the tops of the skyscrapers. We felt the constant rush of the city and its people, experienced the endless traffic and, most importantly, enjoyed the beauty of the city lights at night from the top of the famous Empire State Building. It was truly amazing and we can’t wait for tomorrow!
This week has definitely been full of assignments and events. We had our main Biz Box project presentations, but the night before we were also truly excited to meet all of our Teachers, Program Leaders and all the CIEE Staff who made the Global Entrepreneurship program possible. For this evening, we were assigned to create four videos (three from each Baltic country and one from France and Argentina) to showcase our experience here in Portland.
We dedicated some of the time on Monday and Tuesday for the Reception Display activity, which was all about these short movies. We thought about what are the most memorable experiences that we could capture and how to assemble them in one creative video. We also had some filming sessions and photoshoots, and some of us (very courageous, dedicated and truly hardworking people) spent the whole evening (and night) editing the footage. I would like to especially thank Karolis, Patrīcija, Hans and Kémil for their editing skills and devotion to make the movies so enjoyable and awesome!
Here are a couple of snippets from our Reception Display activity:
On the Wednesday of our third week here at the SMCC campus, we were fortunate enough to be able to listen to Teresa Thompson from Bangor Savings, which is a local bank, who talked a bit about her life, her job, the financing world, and what one has to consider when requesting a loan from a bank for starting a business.
In addition to a very insightful conversation about financing a firm, Terry also showed us numerous physical documents which are required when approaching a bank in the hopes of getting a loan, for example the template of a business plan, a firm’s financial report, monthly cashflow forecast, personal financing statement, and told us what exactly it was that banks want to see in a business plan, before proceeding with the loaning process.
Moreover, Terry didn’t only focus on the finances, we also talked about business ideas, what it takes to have a successful one, and what to do next, if you believe you have a solution to a problem. She stressed numerous times that it is essential for a business to work to road test the idea multiple times, to analyze the results, to find the flaws and fix them, and to do anything possible that the idea will grow to something bigger than just a thought inside one’s brain.
It was very delightful to hear some pieces of advice from a person who has been actively engaged in a finance world for over 20 years and I am sure that everybody were able to collect some tips that were useful in completing our start-up projects.
On Wednesday we finished our Sea Dogs projects. All the presentations went really well and we genuinely hope that some of our ideas will be used by Portland Sea Dogs. But as one project ends, the other one starts and our new project called the Biz Box project.
We are divided in three groups, that consists about 3-4 small teams. This time we basically got to choose our team members, so everyone should have the perfect teams. As I already said there are three groups and each group has to design a product that has something to do with Portland. There are also three topics: food, souvenirs for kids and apparel. There will be a lot of work to do with that project before we can present it on Friday, but we are actually really excited about our ideas and we are looking forward to make it reality.
Even though we have to work hard on our project, we also have free time too and so far it has been amazing! Portland has been such a great place. All those little trips to the light house, and evening walks by the ocean have been so cool! Portland is the perfect place to relax and hang out with friends. Also field trips have been really interesting and not to mention kayaking and Old Orchard Beach day. It has all been really awesome and we can not wait to see what our last here week will bring!
As a result of the Portland Sea Dogs management's order we took our first step into the unknown depths of entrepreneurship. When we visited Hadlock stadium for the first time, we were separated into three big groups after which we were given three different tasks: improving ticket sales among millennials, finding new ways of marketing through social media and improving the Sea Dogs' merchandise.
In groups of 4-5 we tried to come up with new solutions. Every day we learned about the theory of marketing and every afternoon our groups had time to come up with our own solutions and prepare to present them. On Friday we went out to Portland to survey people in order to get data for not making ASSUMPTIONS! Surveying the people was probably the hardest thing about this program so far. The most difficult part was finding people who would not run away at the sight of the blue CIEE shirts. Karolis solved the problem creatively: every time someone would try to escape he said “STOP! I’m not trying to sell you anything!”.
We experienced American cultural diversity and even though the surveying did not go as smoothly as planned, we learned how difficult it is to get solid data. We came to a conclusion that becoming a surveyor is not going to be an option, which is a positive thing.
As presentation day got closer, the hours of sleep got shorter and free time was a resource difficult to find. On presentation day some students could be found practicing in the laundry room from 6:30 a.m! In Estonian we have a saying: “If the end is good, all is good”. We managed to woo our clients - heads of Sea Dogs marketing - with our innovative ideas. They loved the way we integrated the current Pokemon Go epidemic to their marketing campaigns and designed iPhone cases with Sea Dogs’ logos. The hands-on experience we got made us realize that entrepreneurship is not a glamorous nor an easy career path to choose.
This Sunday we spent the day on the Old Orchard Beach, which is about 40 minutes away from Portland. Without a doubt, the time to relax a little bit and not to think about all the projects and assignments ahead of us was a perfect way to end the week.
We had such a fun time here. While some of us took the chance to enjoy the sun as much as they could, others decided to spend time more actively. We played volleyball, went on exhilarating rollercoasters and played carnival games (and even won a stuffed Pikachu!). However, the best things about the beach were probably the height of the waves and the warmth of the water. It’s definitely incomparable with the Willard beach on campus!
All in all, the trip to the Old Orchard beach was very fun and enjoyable way to unwind with friends after a long week of hard work. Well rested, we are now definitely ready for Monday!