Meet Emily Arnold, an RIT Croatia Senior: The benefits of gaining experience prior to graduating!

By Angela Madjer, a Chicago Gal and RIT Croatia alumna

September 3, 2019


Emily Arnold moved from the United States to complete her undergraduate degree in Zagreb, Croatia and there is no doubt in her mind that she made the right decision. Emily is currently a Senior at RIT Croatia in Zagreb and has recently gained experience for her co-op at the United States Embassy in Zagreb. Check out what it really means to complete your co-op, the benefits it brings as well as what her plans after graduating!

 Q: What key attributes do you enjoy the most and what has your overall experience been since becoming an RIT Croatia student?

A: Since I’ve began, there hasn’t been one doubt that I made the right choice. My favorite thing about studying at RIT are the professors. Professors see our potential and push us to achieve it. There’s an openness of communication and an atmosphere that encourages students to ask questions and help is always given when asked for it. Professors and the administrative staff are completely dedicated to making sure each student has the best learning experience possible!

Q:  During their studies, each student at RIT Croatia has to take minimally 800 hours of internship related to their program. Tell us about your last internship.

A:  The goal of the United States Commercial Service in Croatia is actually to create jobs in America, it does this by helping American companies who wish to distribute their product/services in Croatia. As an intern at the United States Embassy in Zagreb, I helped with initial market checks and research, finding and verifying contacts for special events and salesforce, helped organize promotional events for U.S. companies who are present in Croatia or looking to expand to the country, and searching for potential Croatian partners for U.S. companies. It’s different than working in other sections of the Embassy, in the sense that it’s very tangible. You can see your direct impact on American citizens and its measurable by the amount of money that comes into the company as a result of our services. It means a great deal to see that progress and how I had a hand in it!

Q: How were you able to incorporate skills and information that you learned at RIT Croatia into your co-op experience?

A: The course that helped me the most during my internship was Global Marketing. We completed an entire project in class relating to new market entry, logistics, finding a target audience, forecasting costs, determining potential problems with local bureaucracy, and deciding which mode of entry would work best for the product and the business climate. Although we don’t work on all these things directly with clients, they’re important to understand in order to give information and relevant advice. That advice will tell the interested company if their goals in Croatia are achievable!

Although I am pursuing my undergraduate degree in International Business, the idea of putting everything into practice can be intimidating for a lot of students. It’s the kind of push we need to put ourselves out there and begin our professional careers. Through my co-op experience I’ve learned how much I can handle and that even though something may seem intimidating at first, if you take a step back, prioritize and organize, everything becomes achievable if you’re willing to put in the work.

Q: What do you enjoy to do the most while not on campus?

A: The Croatian culture has had a huge influence on how I spend my time off campus. There’s a term you’ll hear many times throughout a stay in Croatia which is "polako,” roughly translated means, take it slow or easy. The coffee culture in Croatia goes hand in hand with this word, which is why I, along with the vast majority of my peers, like to spend our time socializing at a café for a few hours a day. Besides that, I love to read, cook, and I try to take a few trips a year. Most recently, I took a trip with the B.E.E club (RIT Croatia’s Business Environment Exploration student club) to Vienna and stayed a few extra days to see the city. It’s definitely an added bonus that Europe has so many diverse cultures close at hand and is easy to travel!

Q:  Would you recommend studying in Croatia to others? If so, why?

A: Croatia is the ideal location for international students. The people are down to earth and very friendly to foreigners and there are many international companies with jobs available in English. The country is beautiful and the coast is less than an hour away depending on where you want to go!

Q: Now that you’re a senior and graduation is close, what are your plans once you graduate?

A: After I graduate, I plan to apply for a master’s programs in England focusing in management consultancy. While I’m studying, I’d like to gain some experience in a consulting firm and continue to build my resume. In a few years I plan to apply for the Foreign Service, which is a program for embassy workers. It would allow me to move to a new country every three years and even change departments, so I can have a full range of knowledge from politics and economics, to public affairs and management.  After that I’d either like to start my own consulting firm or continue in a firm that would specialize in my expertise!

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