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Q&A: Grooming for the World Traveler Internship

Q&A is a new series on Nomadderwhere that uses questions posed by readers and commentators to address topics of travel, alternative lifestyle design, blogging, and other interests. You can expect this series one or two Saturdays a month right here on Nomadderwhere.com. To send in your questions, contact me or send me a link to your video question on Youtube!

QuestionThe videos and fun blogs posted by you and Chris this summer were wildly entertaining and made me smile as I watched each clip. Your spunkiness and energy definitely reflects on the viewers as you took us along the adventure!

To give you an idea of my foundation, I do use twitter and take travel photos everywhere I go. Since January, I have been capturing video on my digital camera for memories of being silly with friends, monologues of what is going on and practice STA Travel footage! I keep a journal on my side at all times, just in case I want to jot down specifics of something interesting that happened.

I have yet to upload videos on youtube (have videos on websites, professional interviews, promotional video used at my university, etc.), written on an online blog, or utilized flickr to post some of my favorite photographs.

Lindsay, I am willing to do anything and plan to fully prepare and engage myself in creating video montagues of all my experiences in New York, Los Angeles, everywhere I go and travel from here on out! I can send you anything your way if you would like. What should be my next step? -K

Answer

I’ll start off with the obligatory disclaimer.

I am not a part of the selection process for the World Traveler Internship, nor do I know for sure what they look for each year. Instead, all I can provide is my honest opinion of what qualities help an individual prepare for and seem more suitable for the job.

On that note, let’s look at the job in basic terms.

The World Traveler Interns are meant to:

- Experience a number of travel adventures and showcase their experiences daily with videos, pictures and blogs.
- Describe everything they do with the ultimate goal of inspiring other students and young people to become world travelers.

Now, let’s think about the job in the less obvious way.

What’s a more accurate understanding of the internship?

- The interns help sell the products STA offers; therefore, this is a marketing job for a strong, global company.
- The interns will be constantly changing time zones, producing a lot of work, dealing with cultural, technological, physical, mental barriers constantly, and experiencing more in 2.5 months than most do in years, if not lifetimes. This is a hard job.
- And the obvious one….this is a job.

Now, let’s do a mental exercise.

Imagine you are one of the judges, one of the marketing department employees at STA, looking at the hundreds of eager applicants and trying to decipher via online property who you can count on to do the best job possible. It’s not about granting a prize that doesn’t affect you; the interns have big shoes to fill.

You would probably want interns who:

- Know this isn’t a free trip and can prove they have the work ethic to get things done well.
- Can create videos, photos, and blogs that engage the STA clientele to the point of convincing the sale…not to mention have social media savvy to work the venues of the content
- Exhibit the skills of an ambassador: charisma, eloquence, diplomacy, and a personable nature.

Take these points and roll with them. This is what I worked off of when preparing my application in 2009.

Planning for Next Year

If you want to hold the coveted internship for 2011 (or beyond), don’t wait until the application pool opens up. Start now proving STA you’re the ideal candidate. Here’s how to begin:

Start a Blog

Brainstorm a title, and steer clear of something generic like Trisha’s Travel Blog. Begin compiling your travel stories (or any topic pertaining to young people and living adventurously), whether you open up old e-mails to your mom while on the road, rewrite stories from your personal journal, or just start thinking back to your times abroad or stateside. You’ll want to have a lot of stories in the bank to prove your commitment to documentation.

Warning: If this doesn’t feel fulfilling, if it feels forced and uninspired, write about what you truly care about…and if it still feels wrong, maybe you’re not meant to blog. Not everyone is a mental exhibitionist.

Tools: Start a free blog at WordPress.com, and if you are set on a name, buy your domain through WordPress as well for about $15.

Publish Your Photos

You’re going to need visuals for your blog and proof you can click a mean shutter. Pick your best 100 shots and publish them online, linking to them on your posts about the same topic. Photos of yourself on the go are also good proof you like being active.

IMG_0198

Tools: Start a free account at Flickr, and you can always upgrade to the premium account later (which allows you to download an unlimited amount of work). I don’t direct people to my account actively. It’s like a workspace or storage unit you can pull from.

Self-Promotion

Whether you already tweet or not, you’ll inevitably feel weird using Twitter to self-promote and network. It will work in your advantage to have a lot of followers that are interested in your travels and personality. Fill out your profile fully, choose a good photo, befriend and follow people that do what you love in the travel field, start talking to them and RTing their good tweets. Start linking to your Flickr photos and online work, being sure to use catchy wording to inspire clicks.

Don’t see Twitter and Facebook as places where you plea for people to look at your stuff and love you. See them as tools for free marketing. Think like a marketing professional.

Twitter Self-Promotion

Tools: Twitter through the web works fine, but TweetDeck is my favorite platform for organizing all my favorite tweeters and easily performing all tasks (RTing, replying, linking, etc.). Also, install the Twitter application on your Facebook page to automatically update your Facebook status when you change your Twitter status.

Showcase Your Videos

Start making them! Use Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, Final Cut – whatever you have – and start taking your raw footage and assembling great little snippits of life. In short, the creation of these videos is about trial and error. Start off making something, then take a step back and wonder:

Would I watch this whole thing over and over?

Would I watch this or like this if I wasn’t my friend?

Does this video have me on the edge of my seat?

Would an 8 year-old with ADD sit through this whole thing?”

My first videos were pitiful slideshows. I’ve learned from my own mistakes over a long period of time.

Get started there, and let’s see how you evolve into the ideal candidate!

Was this Question and Answer post helpful to you? Would you like me to expand on any points above? Any other questions about anything? Comment below or contact me by either writing a message or sending a link to your video question!

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  • http://www.twitter.com/chriscuzzy Chris Cousins

    Great write up and as I am going for the UK position, it gave me some food for my thoughts!

    I’ve retweeted it on my Twitter account also.

    Chris

    • http://nomadderwhere.com Lindsay Clark

      Good luck, Chris! I’m glad it was relevant for you!

  • http://nhlg.blogspot.com Natalie

    Great advice and an interesting read.
    Thanks Lindsay, and congratulations on your new job!
    I’ve retweeted the link to this post,
    Natalie Lyall-Grant (one of the ten UK WTI finalists)

  • http://crosswalkmuse.wordpress.com Miel

    Hi Lindsay,

    Thanks so much for your advice, it’s really put a different spin on the program as well as given me an idea of where to begin :)

    Your photography, by the way, is fantastic – very inspiring!