NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Networking has proven key for Stephen F. Austin State University senior international business major Kelly Gomez, who, because of her connections, was able to intern at Green Ibérica, a shipping container company in Vigo, Spain.
For three months, the tall pines of East Texas were replaced with the sandy beaches of Spain as Gomez, a Cleburne, Texas, native, gained real-world, corporate experience handling imports, inspections and invoices for Green Ibérica, an agent of the Evergreen Line.
During the 2015 spring semester, Gomez studied abroad in France at La Rochelle Business School, where she met people from around the world. The connections she made in France helped her land the Spain internship.
"Networking is very important, and it helped me a lot," Gomez said. "I wouldn't have had this chance if I hadn't met my friend when studying in France."
In Spain, Gomez began her training in imports. "That's what I did most of the time. However, I did a little bit of everything," Gomez said. She added her responsibilities included inspecting containers for damages and translating shipping and merchandise information into English.
Gomez was a top-point earner in SFA's Rusche College of Business' Student Success Passport Program and received a $1,000 scholarship, which she used for her airline ticket to Spain and to enroll in an internship course at SFA. The Student Success Passport Program offers students an opportunity to build their professional skill set through workshops, conferences and online assignments while competing for scholarships.
Megan Sellers, coordinator of career success and corporate engagement in the Rusche College of Business, said the scholarship component of this program offers students unique experiential learning opportunities.
"Experiences, such as Kelly's internship, can be quite expensive, and participation in the Passport Program gives students the option to have those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities while also building their professional skills and networks," Sellers said. "I can't imagine a more rewarding experience."
As an international business major, Gomez said she loves to travel and experience different cultures. She has already used the skills she learned during her internship to her advantage during a job interview.
"I had an interview recently, and it was for logistics, which was a lot of what I learned in Spain. I explained everything I had done and talked about being in a different culture," Gomez said. "The internship experience will help me in any interview."