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Daily Express of London

University of Florida journalism senior Nicole Janok pursued her internship quest through a study abroad program with the American Institute of Foreign Studies. After miles of applications and financial considerations, interviews and classes on European culture, she ended up working in the summer of 2002 with the Daily Express, a national British paper based in London with a circulation of 1 million.

Nicole describes the publication as a tabloid-style paper that "emphasized features and entertainment but still had good hard news coverage."

As for the extensive application process, this budding journalist says patience is a virtue.

"To get into the program, I had to complete several lengthy forms, which required two letters of recommendation, a 3.0 minimum GPA and an essay," she says of her attempt at a stint in Europe. "To get the internship, I had to modify my resume to British standards – they don't understand GPA and honors – and interview with prospective papers and magazines that I suggested."

Once in London, Nicole prepared for her interviews by thinking of questions to ask her interviewers about her perspective publications and brushing up on the goings-on of British pop culture. She also brought her portfolio of American writing and copy editing work to show her would-be employers.

"After two interviews – one really bad and one good – and a reporting exercise on the Falkland's War, I landed the Daily Express."

Nicole worked in the features department, where she assisted with research for other writers, wrote obituaries on well-known people, wrote reviews and articles for the television page, pitched story ideas to editors, assisted with fashion/feature shoots, and yes, she did end up doing some of the dreaded administrative duties (i.e. answering the phone and practicing her coffee-making skills).

"My experience is pretty unique to most college journalists," she says. "I saw a different perspective on journalism and found out how a big paper runs from day to day. I was a bit intimidated by the cultural differences, which in hindsight may have hindered my overall performance, but I really enjoyed being in the field and would never take back my memories of London and Europe!"

Nicole says she thinks she might have had more hands-on experience and clips if she'd gone to a smaller paper that needed more assistance, but this doesn't affect her overall opinion of her internship experience. It's a personal choice whether your goal as an intern is to gain amazing clips for your portfolio, or a fantastic line on your resume citing tenure with a large publication.

"I plan to do another internship this summer, but I am keeping my options open to online/new media, magazines and newspapers. "

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