This is the blog of the MWW Interns. Here you can observe our experiences and exciting projects. Interns in every department from Visual Branding to Financial Relations will be updating and documenting our experiences on a weekly basis. Follow us to get an inside look at what a true interning experience is like at MWW!
 

How I Learned to Fix the World

Posted by: Amelia Dougherty
July 25, 2016

Split to Zagreb I graduated from college in June of 2015 and did the most logical thing I could think of at the time: run away to Europe to escape adulthood for just a bit longer. My list of destinations was extensive and included countries like Hungary and Croatia, who had recently found themselves in the center of the Syrian refugee crisis. I planned to take a train from Budapest to Split but had been warned that the train stations were absolute chaos- with refugees covering all floor space and ticket lines being 10+ hours long. I had also heard rumors that they were closing the borders to all refugees. Thinking I would beat the system, I went to a travel agency upon my arrival in Budapest and bought a ticket to Split for the day of my departure. I also asked, re-asked, and then asked again if I would be able to cross the border via train. The disgruntled woman behind the desk assured me that yes, it was fine, the borders were open.

On the day of my departure I arrived at the train station and was surprised to see that it was empty, with just a couple of tourists and a few policemen. So far so good. I boarded the train that would take me to Zagreb (the capitol of Croatia) where I would then switch trains and continue on to Split to meet my friend.

It was about 11 o’clock at night and I had been on the train for around four and a half hours (it was supposed to take 5) when the train started to slow. I looked around and from what I could see, we were in the middle of a field, with no buildings around except for a tiny train station with one light. Seemed meager for the capitol of Croatia. As soon as the train came to a halt, five policemen with bulletproof vests and huge machine guns got on the train and ordered everyone to get off, the border was closed.

Shocked and confused, I approached one of the officers to ask where this train had dropped us and what the options were. After some back and forth, he managed to tell me (in very broken English) that we were 6 kilometers from the border of Croatia and the options were to walk and try to get through border patrol (not likely) or try to find a bus or cab to go to a nearby city and find a hotel. He pointed to a tiny flyer in the corner of the room with the name of a cab company. Trying my best to repress the panic that was boiling just under the surface, I reviewed my options. I came to the conclusion that, despite the fact that it was almost midnight, going to a hotel would not have been the best option, because I:

a) would have missed my connecting train
b) may or may not have been able to find a hotel, seeing as I had no idea where I was
c) would be in the exact same predicament in the morning, without the option of that connecting train

I decided I had to get across the border.

I saw a guy using his phone and since mine didn’t work (no Wi-Fi) I asked if I could borrow it to call a cab. If a cab could take me to a hotel it could take me across the border right? After more back and forth and many misunderstandings, the cab driver agreed he could take me to Zagreb. As we were approaching the border, he pulled into a gas station, got out, and took the taxi light off of the top of his car. Cabs, buses and trains were not allowed to cross the border, he explained- only personal vehicles.

More panic.

We got to the border and there was not a single other person there, other than the border police. One of the Hungarian guards and the cab driver exchanged a few words while the other stared at me and I tried to look like I wasn’t about to cry. They examined both of our passports for what felt like an eternity, walked to the other side of the booth and let the Croatian border guards do the same.

Then they waved us through.

I made it to the train station with five minutes to spare, boarded my train to Split and breathed a sigh of relief.

As I sat on the train, unable to sleep, I reflected on what had just occurred. I realized that though that was the most stressful, potentially dangerous situation I have ever been in, it could have been exponentially worse. I was able to pay for a cab to drive me. The guards looked at me and saw a white tourist with an American passport. There was a very slim chance that I wasn’t going to make across the border. I thought about all the refugees walking for weeks with young children, no money, no plan, no help, and no place to go. As scared as I was, my experience cannot even be compared to theirs. It is easy to remove yourself from a situation that does not directly affect you. It is easy to ignore privilege when you have it. The world is currently a frightening, broken place, and as idealistic and simplistic as it may seem, I think it would be much better if everyone took a minute to see things from someone else’s perspective. To, quite literally, walk a mile in their shoes.

Posted by Amelia Dougherty at 12:06 pm | Comment (0) | Trackback (0)



Tales of a Brit at Smorgasburg

Posted by: Rebecca Metzer
July 21, 2016

rebeccablogpic1

Anyone who sits on the 9th floor at MWW might be aware from my frequent trips to the two kitchens up there that I enjoy sampling the various foods NYC has to offer. I’m from London, so I’m no stranger to international cuisines, but my trip to Smorgasburg in Prospect Park this weekend exceeded anything I’ve experienced before.

We entered the park and were immediately met with the distinctive smell of truffle emitting from the Home Frites stall. Having saved our appetites that morning, we were ravenous; we succumbed to temptation and bought the truffle skin-on fries with lemon and garlic aioli sauce. They were phenomenal (albeit a touch too salty), and were a fantastic introduction to the event. From then it was a free-for-all – we buzzed around the market like bees looking for the sweetest nectar. Some generous stall-owners gave us some Texas yellow watermelon for free, we purchased cornbread grilled cheese, sweet and savory parathas, oozing mozzarella sticks with garlic tomato sauce and tangy lavender popsicles. We then moved on to dessert: french toast banana pudding, melon shaved ice with pop rocks, ice cream sandwiches. The variety of tastes and smells was dazzling, and we went home thoroughly satisfied, if a bit over-stimulated.

What struck me even more than the innovative and high-quality foods was the wonderful array of people and the passion they had for their food. While of course there is a time and a place for a quick and easy Starbucks, or a cheap late-night McDonald’s, I felt far removed from the allure of those things when I was surrounded by the artisanal dishes, the production of which had clearly been a labour of love.

Yes, the food there irebeccablogpic4s expensive, but when you’re presented with these beautiful dishes, most of which have been invented by the stall you’re buying it off, it feels worth it. There’s also something heart-warming about the communality of the event: when the vendors promote their food, they promote Smorgasburg as a whole, and when one of the stalls sold out, there was no competitiveness or hostility from the others. This seemed to be the cutting edge of the food industry, as indicated by the progressive nature of the event – for example, all the packaging used at all the stalls was either recyclable or compostable.

I don’t know whether it’s because it’s outside of cut-throat Manhattan, or because the young people of New York are attracted to foods which they feel that they can directly source to their makers, but either way the place buzzed with excitement and had a friendly atmosphere, and I’m so glad that I visited it.

Posted by Rebecca Metzer at 11:30 am | Comment (0) | Trackback (0)



Summers in Croatia

Posted by: Ivana Jadrijev
July 13, 2016

FullSizeRender2Ever since I can remember, my parents have been taking me to Croatia every other summer. Although my brother and I were born and raised in New Jersey, my parents and extended family were not. They immigrated here during the Croatian/Serbian war in the 1990s, leaving all of their friends and family behind. It was no wonder that they had raised me with such awareness and knowledge of my culture. Croatian was even my native tongue and I preferred it over English for a very long time. My childhood summers and memories are shaped in that country and I will never forget them.

There is quite a multitude of memories I have in Croatia, but my favorite summer there was the summer I was going into high school. Usually, I had been a little shy there because all my friends were in New Jersey and I did not know many people my age. Croatia is very dissimilar from New Jersey when it comes to the environment and surroundings. In New Jersey, I would make friends at school or other nearby towns, while in Croatia I had to find friends at beaches or hangout with only family-friends. I decided to be more outgoing that summer and finally gained myself a great group of friends there. My mom introduced to me to her friend’s daughter who was my age and I instantly had a bond with her and group of friends. Instead of acting introverted and quiet, I endlessly exchanged information about what America was like with her experiences of growing up in Croatia. She was amazed at how close I live to New York City and someday even hopes to visit. We did so many things together like swimming in the clear blue water, walking around the city of Zadar, going to café’s, and more. Summers in New Jersey can often be boring and usually just consist of me staying home to watch TV or going to local restaurants with friends. I feel too used to America all the time and love the experiences I have in Croatia. Although I like the Jersey Shore, I love the island beaches in Croatia so much more. I’m thankful to have met such a friendly group of people that made me feel less upset about being away from my friends in New Jersey.

Although my parents left a big chunk of their lives behind in Croatia, they are glad they ended up moving to America and I am too. There is so much more of an opportunity for a better life and education here. I am grateful that my parents kept me in touch with my heritage, as it has become part of my identity. I hope to give the same experience to my future children.

Posted by Ivana Jadrijev at 9:30 pm | Comment (0) | Trackback (0)



There’s No Place Like Home

Posted by: Christina Luchkiw
July 16, 2015

ChristinaLuchkiw PicOn paper, I’m a Jersey girl: born in New Jersey, raised in New Jersey, and educated in New Jersey—from kindergarten all the way through college. On paper, New Jersey should be my home. But as we all learn in life, things are not always as they seem. Despite knowing nothing but a life in New Jersey throughout my entire youth, that feeling of comfort you get from your surroundings never made it much past the time I spent with family. If you asked me one year ago what it felt like to be “home,” I wouldn’t have a good answer, as I always thought home would be a physical place in which I had a sense of belonging. Today, if you asked me the same question, I would have a great answer—an answer that I found in the most unexpected of places: perspiring, fatigued and packed like a sardine inside a ramshackle train in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The commute between my university and my center-city apartment was one of the most uniquely challenging and revelatory experiences during my time studying abroad. Every day I watched the inimitable blend of the city’s vibrant culture and devastating poverty pass by through the murky windowpane, reflecting on how my sheltered beginnings had brought me to such a place. A one-legged man in tattered clothing hobbled toward me asking for spare change. A teenage mother whose eyes spoke of sorrow struggled to stay awake, praying for a better tomorrow yet rejoicing for the loving son in her arms. And although I stood alone among these different walks of life, clearly an outsider with pasty white skin, there was not a single moment that I felt lonely. I shared laughter with a toothless laborer, giving strength to his legs that wanted to buckle after a hard day’s work. I witnessed genuine gratitude when the teenage mother offered the one-legged man her seat. And although I was physically uncomfortable, shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers and my wiry figure pinned against the train’s plastic walls, I found tranquility amid chaos, and finally discovered that home might not have to be a place at all.

Now I wouldn’t say that this hectic train ride is how I define home, but it did help me realize that what I once considered a place is more of a state of mind. It’s that state where we feel comfortable not with our surroundings, but rather with ourselves—despite all differences. On this train nothing mattered; age, disability, race, and nationality were pushed to the side, replaced with genuine humanity. And although these conditions are something that can’t be reproduced everywhere, we can all do our best to bring a little bit of home to everywhere we go.

Posted by Christina Luchkiw at 10:15 am | Comment (0) | Trackback (0)



How Being An Educator Has Prepared Me For PR

Posted by: Julia Di Capua
July 9, 2015

Try and get twenty-five sixteen year olds to read The Catcher in the Rye front to back. It’s more challenging than you think.

As a teacher, I practice the art of pitching every day. How else would I get my students to believe that Holden Caulfield is more than a privileged, angsty teen who can’t face reality? Better yet, how could I convince them to spend two weeks reading a novel that spans two days in the form of a flashback?

I start big with an overarching question and narrow it down – drilling into the core of the story. “Let’s talk about Holden’s opinion of institutions. According to him, they’re all “phony.” What is an institution you engage with and how do you feel about it?” School is consistently brought up. I listen and write as students call out phrases that come to mind. “Meaningless, forced labor! A jail cell! Why do I need to ask to go to the bathroom?!”

A mod mentality begins to bud. I try and redirect the discussion to a more productive (and positive) route – tying it back to the novel. From here we get to the “nitty-gritty,” including the plot, characterization, symbolization and theme – everything necessary to absorb the story’s meaning.

As both a rising senior at Boston College studying English and Education and a student teacher, I have learned to become sharp and articulate.  I rely on media to make 20th century novels more relatable to pop culture. Perhaps most importantly, I have become more concise in order to capture my audience: “hormonal, social media obsessed, bothered teens” with infinite potential and curiosity.

Similar to engaging a classroom full of students, my goal as an upcoming PR professional is to capture the attention of both media and consumers by producing compelling content. As I embark on my internship at MWW, I realize that the skills I developed as an education major are also applicable to the public relations industry. Like a lesson plan, it’s all about knowing your audience and using the right angle to reach your audience. At the end of the day, it’s all about communication.

Posted by Julia Di Capua at 6:05 pm | Comment (0) | Trackback (0)



If You Don’t Think You Can, Then You Have To

Posted by: Samantha Mcclean
June 30, 2015

BlogPostPhoto_Samantha Mcclean2Back in 2011, my senior year of high school, I didn’t think I was going to be able to go to college, mainly because I doubted myself. While I was steadily applying to schools, I still could not imagine that the next chapter in my life would be going away to college.

I knew that if I wanted to go away to school, I was going to need a little help getting there. I made it a priority to regularly sit down with my school guidance counselor and my Aunt who had just sent her son off to college. With their help and encouragement, along with some determination and hard work, eventually everything worked out.

My Aunt encouraged me to go away to school but told me to make a decision that I was comfortable with. She told me that only I could decide what was best for me. After hearing this, I pushed the doubt out of my head. I knew that I wanted to go to college to make myself and my family proud.

I got into several schools and even though I didn’t get into what I thought was my dream school at the time, I knew that when I picked Western New England University (WNE) I had found myself a new place to call home. Once I got there, I was determined to excel in college. I wanted to make my time there last.

I knew I found my niche when I decided to pursue communications. My hard work paid off and my grades showed it whenever I received letters for my placement on the Dean’s List, the President’s List and eventually membership into honor societies. But my time at WNE wasn’t just about academics. I met a lot of new people, some of whom have turned into my best friends.

I remember my Aunt telling me that it seemed like I had made the right decision. It was true; I had happily proved myself wrong.

I am truly glad that I was able to get past my negative thoughts. As it turns out, I learned a lot about myself along the way. I am now able to acknowledge that I have the tendency to second-guess myself. The experience taught me to always keep a positive mindset in order accomplish the things I know that I am fully capable of doing. My doubts have turned into my motivation.

Posted by Samantha Mcclean at 2:30 pm | Comment (0) | Trackback (0)



Mastering the Art of Commuting

Posted by: Taryn Ottaunick
January 20, 2015

TarynOttaunickWhen I told my friends I would be interning in New York City this summer, the first thing I was warned about was the commute. It can’t be that bad, I naively thought. Needless to say, on my first day home from work I took the wrong train on the subway and got lost in Port Authority.

“Don’t worry,” my mother said. “Eventually, you’ll get really good at commuting.”

After experiencing several weeks of the Lincoln Tunnel Lifestyle ™, I realized my mother was right. Now that I’ve become something of an expert, I’m graciously sharing my tips and tricks for conquering the commuter bus – and beyond.

1. Assert Yourself
Some might deem it impossible to make the 6:20 p.m. bus when work ends at 6 p.m., but trust me, anything is possible if you just believe make it a mission to get to the bus stop. I find it most effective to eschew walking altogether and simply jog through the underground connection path. This can be difficult, particularly due to the fact that these walkways are often crowded with lost tourists, or groups of teenage girls who feel it necessary to walk in a horizontal line, creating a human wall. Although this creates an issue, I remember being one of this breed long ago (or last year). One day they too will be commuters, and they will understand.

2. Come Prepared
Since a bus ride can last up to two hours due to traffic circumstances, I find it crucial to pack accordingly. My Commuter Survival Kit includes noise-eliminating headphones, a good playlist on Spotify, gum and large, dark-framed sunglasses.

3. Make Friends
I feel it is wise to spread a little good karma through the rows of bus seats. This is where making friends comes in. Often, there is congestion in the bus garage that causes my bus to be late. Although this can be annoying, one veteran commuter, a UPS guy, is never afraid to push into the garage and shout our bus number at the dispatchers until it arrives. Offering him a supportive high five ensures that he will continue this practice in the future. Another friend is the sassy lady who somehow managed to collect the cellphone numbers of several of our route’s bus drivers. Becoming friends with this lady has proven advantageous, because we can always figure out where our bus is if it’s running late. These friendships not only make for a more collegial wait, but a shorter one as well.
Although nothing can make the bus move faster once it’s on the road, these strategies have allowed me to whittle my evening arrival to a much more manageable 7:20, thus expanding my time for socializing Netflix. Follow my expertise, and anyone can master the art of commuting.

Posted by Taryn Ottaunick at 5:00 pm | Comment (0) | Trackback (0)



Summer in D.C.

Posted by: Jacquline Tauberman
January 20, 2015

JackieTaubermanHaving lived in Potomac, Maryland for my high school career, I am no stranger to D.C. I have toured the national museums, walked up and down the mall, and experienced lots of different cultures’ cuisines through the District’s array of restaurants. However, there is something to be said about spending the summer in D.C.

Most people focus on the sweltering heat and humidity that plagues the District in the summer but now that I go to school at the University of Vermont in Burlington, I have a new appreciation for the warm weather. There’s something very refreshing about not having to bundle up simply to walk down the street.

Besides the weather, I really enjoy all the events that the District has to offer in the summer. One of my favorites is Jazz in the Garden at the Sculpture Garden. I love sitting around the reflecting pool with my toes in the water and listening to the smooth sound of jazz and people chatting around me. I often venture to Jazz in the Garden a few Fridays of the summer with a couple friends to enjoy the summer afternoons and the music.

There are many other fun events that I have yet to explore such as the Folklife Festival. This year they are showcasing Kenya and China. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to experience the festival this summer.

Posted by Jacquline Tauberman at 5:00 pm | Comment (0) | Trackback (0)



Rwanda University

Posted by: Stanley Usovicz
January 15, 2015

StanleyUsoviczAs a 19 year-old boy standing in Kigali Airport with my over-stuffed military duffle bag, I could never have conceived how greatly one summer would alter the way I saw and thought about the world. Though I was booked to fly to Rwanda months in advance, took all of those nightmare-inducing malaria pills, and learned a few basic phrases in Swahili and Kinyarwanda, I had forgotten the plain fact that adventures and epiphanies can’t be planned.

As part of a group of five students from St. Andrews University in Scotland, we were the first unpaid volunteers that had been in the country since the Rwandan Genocide in the early 90s. For a little over a month we would be living in the southern Nyamagabe region and teaching classes in the Kigeme UNHCR refugee camp. The people living in the camp had escaped the violence between the rebel group M23 and Congolese government forces, and were simply looking for a place to live in peace and safety. Though they had established a school in a nice brick building for the camp’s children, the school only taught students until the age of 16-17. There were many in the camp whom had left the brick school behind, but had not yet quenched their thirst for knowledge. At the top of the biggest hill, these 18-25 year old learners had constructed a shelter of wood and blue Unicef tarp to teach and learn from one another and from refugees whom had been teachers back in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

They were students unlike any I had encountered in my life. In America and in the UK, school – for many people – is a process of trying to achieve the highest grades, a way to gain entry to famed and prestigious schools, and a name to type proudly atop a resume for job interviews. In Kigeme, however, school was a personal journey of learning about the greater world around them. There were no parents nagging them to get to class, no true grades, and – sadly – a very slim and distant chance of ever attending university. They were there because they were curious enough to learn for learning’s sake, and nothing more.

This inspired me as I went back to university, and even now in NYC, to challenge and appreciate the world of privilege that surrounds me. No one chooses the circumstances of life that they inherit; I had no more choice in being born an American than they did of being children of Lake Kivu, yet our worlds are completely different as a result.

Though our lives are so separate, there is something so common and bonding between us, which I had naively neglected to consider before my trip. We all grapple with the same questions, laugh at the same jokes, and smile on a sunny day. Though my title was “teacher,” I learned more in just over a month than much of my life as a student.

Posted by Stanley Usovicz at 5:00 pm | Comment (0) | Trackback (0)



Sailing in the Tunnel

Posted by: Songlan (Susan) Ouyang
December 23, 2014

SusanOuyangExactly a year and three months ago, I wanted to explore the so-called real world and graduated a semester early from University of California, Berkeley.

My parents questioned my decision and they had every reason to do so. I was officially off the rosters for scholarships and student insurance, and I insisted on staying in the Bay Area, one of the most expensive places in the nation.

Much to their delight, I started my first paid internship right after graduation. Four months later, it was all over. My job-searching journey turned into a two-month hiatus. Every day I would send out numerous resumes and wait for responses.

I kept applying to entry-level positions that drew my interest until I had finally received an offer letter from a boutique communications firm that inspired my interest in PR and eventually led me to MWW.

Looking back, would I have chosen differently and take my time in school? Maybe. Without the help of counselors and career advisors, finding one’s footing in society can be quite frightening. Do I regret the effort I devoted to find my place in it? Not for a second. My first internship had not only given me lifelong friendships, but also the experiences of working in a team under constantly changing priorities. And even during my darkest hours, I trained myself to persevere and keep going.

After all, there is light at the end of the tunnel and I owe everything I have right now to all the different turns made along the way.

Posted by Songlan (Susan) Ouyang at 5:00 pm | Comment (0) | Trackback (0)