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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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Hank Hill '14

London Internship with MintTwist

Hank Hill '14

Hometown: Memphis, TN

Majors: Economics and Politics

Minor: Creative Writing

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Reformed University Fellowship Leadership Team
  • Outing Club
  • Philanthropy Chairman for Phi Kappa Psi

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Analyst at Morgan Keegan 2011
  • intern at LeBonheur Children's Hospital 2011
  • Spring Term Abroad in Belize 2012

Why did you apply for this particular internship? I wanted the overseas experience, with the ability to both study and work in a global city.

How did your work apply to your studies at W&L? As a politics major, the Contemporary British Culture class fit perfectly into my course load, while giving me a newfound perspective of a foreign government and culture. As a potential marketing man, the internship helped tremendously as well.

What was the most unexpected aspect of your experience? I knew I would be in a city filled to the brim with diversity and life, but the full extent of London's variety cannot be wholly understood without living there. I admit I still didn't entirely grasp it by the time I boarded the plane back to Memphis. Also, the devotion of W&L alumni to current students is remarkable to say the very least. They hosted a few events for our group as a meet and greet, where they shared advice, memories, and good times. W&L stays with you during and after graduation, even across the Atlantic Ocean.

Post-Graduation Plans: I'll enter either the banking or marketing world. I'm still trying to keep all my options open, however. You never know!

Favorite Class: iStartup with Professor David Touve

Favorite W&L Event: Various on-campus speakers

Why did you choose W&L? You can't beat a nationally ranked liberal arts university, bursting with intelligent, enjoyable and kind people, located in a small, historic town. You may have to be smart to get into W&L, but it doesn't take a lot of brainpower to say "yes" to it.

Why did you choose your major? I find that understanding how the world works is extremely important. Economists think in a certain way, while political philosophers view the world in another, and being able to write efficiently and persuasively is always a vital tool, regardless of occupation. Ultimately, I'd like to be a "Jack of all trades."

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Keep your eyes peeled and start building lifelong relationships with the awesome students and professors at W&L.

What do you wish you'd known before you came to campus? The nearest Chick-fil-a is 45 minutes away. On a serious note, I wish I had fully understood that W&L allows you to get involved and impact the school from the second you step on campus.

I'm standing at the East Finchley tube stop in London, England, waiting on the next train to shuttle me to Kentish Town, home of my workplace for the past seven weeks. At the sight of the crowds of people on the tube, I briefly wonder how this place will handle the Olympics. They'll be just fine, I'm sure.

It's approximately 9:05 AM, and I've left enough time to stop at the closest Pret A Manger to bid adieu to the two French women who hand me breakfast every morning. They still don't believe Americans eat so much.

I waltz out of Pret, eager to make the short trek to MintTwist, the web-marketing agency and my aforementioned workplace. I make sure to look right then left, when crossing the street, instead of left then right. I've avoided death that way one too many times on this trip. After entering the 7-digit code on the office door, I hop inside and avoid the oncoming onslaught of rain. It's your typical Tuesday in London.

I greet my coworkers upon arrival: the eight British guys, the three French people, the one Swiss girl, the other American, the Irishman, the Scottish Korean, the man from Portugal, and the lone Lithuanian. Diversity is an understatement. Nonetheless, the cohesive bond inherent in this familial workplace is remarkable, outstanding, and typical of most London companies. 

I tend to my list of tasks throughout the morning, making sure I consume more tea than the Brit next to me, which is no easy feat. Before I know it, I've learned yet another brilliant piece of marketing, and it is time to catch the tube to the "Contemporary Britain" class with my fellow Washington and Lee mates.

The Northern Line wisps me from Kentish Town to Embankment in about 30 minutes, which means I'm a tad early. It's about 1:50 PM, and I fill the time with people watching.

In the next five minutes, our entire class flocks to the tube stop, after their mornings at their respective jobs. Minutes later, we spot our elderly British professor, meandering outside the Embankment tube station, smoking tobacco out of his high quality briar pipe. If you've ever envisioned a quintessential British man, you'd know Professor Fosdal the second you saw him: the mannerisms, the accent, the pipe, the teeth and the garb; everything but the top hat. He even lives in the countryside of Oxford.

Today is our last class with Professor Fosdal, and the plan is to visit Olympic park in the East End, which has become home to the 2012 Olympic Games. We board a boat on the Thames and float down the river much like Queen Elizabeth II a few weeks ago for her Diamond Jubilee. It rained that day too.

After reaching the East End, we jump off the boat, rid ourselves of the rain jackets, and tour around the area with the help of Professor Fosdal. He tells us that the East End used to consist of the shipping docks and was only recently improved to house the Olympics. I'm reassured that London will host the world just fine, and we end the day hanging out in a nearby pub, talking about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

And that's what we, the 16 Washington and Lee students, did the past seven Tuesdays. On Mondays, we would enter the hallowed halls of the University of London, where our teacher led lessons, where we met a homeless woman, ate biscuits (cookies) and drank tea.  This portion of our program was set up through Hollins University in Roanoke, which sponsors our group of W&L students under the supervision of Sarah Levine, a resident of London.

The beauty of our program is the experience of studying and working. Through an organization called CAPA International, we were placed in different firms, agencies, companies, and areas throughout London, depending on our interests. As mentioned before, I worked for a marketing agency, while others contributed to the banking industry, an art museum, a physics laboratory, a real estate agency, an online dating company, and even worked with Sigmund Freud's granddaughter, who is an artist.

Our group travelled some weekends, as London is a central hub for all of Europe. Destinations included Barcelona, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Oxford, Paris and Florence.

To sum it up, each of us gained international experience, eight academic credits, an internship during your sophomore summer, and an awesome time, all of which greatly add weight to our personal development, our resumes and our future both during and after our time at Washington and Lee.

I can't recommend this program enough. Above all of the resume boosting comes a new appreciation for the world, a greater understanding of its intricacies, a wider toleration for diversity and the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.