When working for a travel organization, chances are you’ll get to do quite a bit of sightseeing and traveling yourself — and what better place to do that than in London?
This summer, Sarah Hibler ’14 has been interning with BritBound, a travel company that helps foreigners who are relocating to the U.K. Hibler, who majors in business with a minor in anthropology, is responsible for answering email and phone inquiries, scheduling insurance appointments and helping to organize and run events.
“I am focusing on the business management area of the business major, so helping find venues, set up and manage events will be a great experience,” she said when we spoke with her before she left for London. “I also think having first-hand practice in international business will help me gain a further understanding of multiple styles of management.”
The internship has also allowed her to meet people from various backgrounds.
“BritBound helps people from Australia, Canada, Africa, New Zealand and other places around the world,” Hibler said. “It is always fun learning about the places where they have traveled and their plans for their time here.”
In addition to connecting with “BritBounders,” as she calls them, Hibler has been writing articles for the company’s website and scoping out tourist attractions around the country.
“My most recent event was planning and setting up a day trip to Bath and Stonehenge, which will be a lot of fun because I will be able to take part in it as well,” she said.
During her internship, Hibler has also had the chance to experience some of London’s cultural offerings. Every Wednesday, she goes to see musicals and other stage productions, including “We Will Rock You,” “Singing in the Rain” and “Woman in Black.” “Wicked” and “Billy Elliot” are also on her schedule.
And with the Olympic Games taking place in London this summer, there’s even more to see.
“We will be having a boat cruise on the River Thames during the Olympics, which will be crazy experiencing the city and excitement from the river,” she said just days before the Games opened. “The Olympic mascot is everywhere, and in the past week they have been putting up large posters supporting team Great Britain. In the different parks large flat screens will be covering the Olympics live, which will be very convenient. Despite all the chaos that is expected, I think everyone cannot wait.”
For some of BritBound’s clients, the sporting event is more than just a tourist attraction — it’s an opportunity to get their new lives started.
“A couple of BritBounders have found jobs working for the Olympics, so they have been rehearsing the Opening Ceremony and it is supposed to be spectacular,” Hibler said before the event got under way.
Clearly, there hasn’t been a dull moment since she arrived on the island — both on and off the job.
“[It] has been amazing living and working in London!” Hibler said. “This will definitely help me out in the future because I have participated in all the different aspects of the company, from the administrative work to planning and running events. The experience I am gaining is invaluable.”
It’s also given her a different perspective on life after college, with new career options to consider.
“I still hope to go to law school once I graduate from SBC, but BritBound has helped me be able to identify with a company I would potentially want to work for; from their values and mission to the people who are the heart and brains of the operation.”
When Hibler isn’t organizing trips for other people, she’s doing quite a bit of traveling herself. One recent trip took her to Italy, where she spent a long weekend in Florence and a day in Pisa.
“One of my friends and I crammed as much of Florence into three days [as we could], and we were pretty successful,” Hibler said. “We climbed to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, climbed to the top of the Duomo di Firenze [and] visited the Uffizi, Gucci and Ferragamo museums. We didn’t have much down time because we would spend our spare time wandering around the streets of Florence and experiencing the city. But my friend and I ensured we had real gelato twice a day — it was our motivation and reward for walking up all those steps!”
Hibler is making the most of every minute in the U.K., as well. She’s seen the white cliffs of Dover, where she caught a glimpse of France, has visited Brighton and the Brighton Pier, as well as various attractions in London, including the London Eye, Kensington Palace and a number of museums.
Next, she’s headed to the University of Manchester, where she’ll be studying her junior year.
“I have loved my time in London, but I am also getting very excited about spending a year here in the U.K.,” she said.
Classes won’t start until the end of September, but Hibler is already making plans for her return to Europe.
“I have a friend from high school who lives in Germany, and we hope to travel around Germany, Belgium or the Netherlands for a weekend,” she said. “My main goal is to take advantage of being able to travel so easily to amazing places — I will be so close to the rest of Europe, Africa and Russia. It will be a busy year, but I am getting pretty excited!”