Isabella Robertson ’18 Interns in Sweden

The Gustavus communication studies major used a Wallenberg Foundation Intern Award to work for the American Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm.
Posted on August 28th, 2017 by

Isabella Robertson in front of Drottningholm Palace, the residence of the Swedish Royal Family.

Gustavus Adolphus College senior Isabella Robertson is back on campus after spending the summer in Sweden as the winner of the College’s Wallenberg Foundation Intern Award. Robertson, a communication studies major from Honokaa, Hawaii, completed the internship after studying away in Ireland during the spring semester. Now that Isabella is back on campus, we sat down to ask her a few questions about her time away from the hill.

Robertson interned at the American Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm.

Gustavus: Why did you choose to study away during your time at Gustavus?

Isabella Robertson: Studying abroad had always been on my list of things I wanted to do before I graduated college. I knew a little trip abroad wouldn’t be enough. I wanted to be immersed into the life and culture of a country and experience getting an education there as well. I believe studying abroad gave me a newfound sense of confidence and taught me how to adapt and be more flexible in other cultures. I had the opportunity to immerse myself in Irish culture and education, work in Sweden, and travel to several other countries as well.

G: What was an average day like during your Wallenberg experience?

IR: I was the Communications and Operations Intern at the American Chamber of Commerce in Sweden (AmCham) for the month of June through the middle of July. On my first day of work we met early at the U.S Ambassador’s Residence in Stockholm and had a round-table meeting with members of the U.S. Embassy and other diplomats and international business members discussing the topic of cybersecurity. Some examples of the different types of tasks I did while interning with AmCham were creating plans of engagement for companies which included a brief description of the company, an industry landscape and a SWOT analysis, researching how we could help a company if they became our member, and connecting businesses with our sustainability board or mentoring board. I also worked one on one with my boss on a letter to the U.S. Congress that expressed AmCham’s concern with the budget cuts proposed for the U.S. Department of Commerce and Department of State.

G: How did the experience help prepare you for your future career?

IR: Overall I gained insight into a wide variety of potential career opportunities that I was not aware of before this internship. Working in Sweden and interning at AmCham has influenced me dramatically. It has completely changed what I had thought of doing in the future, because I am now fascinated with world politics and bridging connections between different countries and cultures.

Isabella Robertson ’18

G: What was your best day in Sweden?

IR: AmCham invited me to go to Almedalen, which is located in Vispy, Gotland. Almedalen is a weeklong political gathering where each night the leaders give speeches from Sweden’s political parties. There are more than 3,500 seminars and events during this week. We hosted approximately 10 seminars, from working with MasterCard to present “Reinventing Retail” to having a seminar on self-driving vehicles with speakers from Tesla, the CEO of Volvo, etc. One of my favorite seminars we hosted with the U.S Embassy was with Dr. Timothy Wedding, who is the deputy assistant U.S trade representative and he spoke about deepening transatlantic trade in the new economy. Later that night we watched the sun set over the Baltic Sea. The experience at Almedalen was one of a lifetime that I will treasure forever.

G: What advice would you give to other Gustavus students?

IR: Find a way to break out of your comfort zone by learning to adapt to new surroundings or cultures. I believe that one of the best ways to gain perspective and confidence in who we are as a person comes through traveling. So I would recommend all Gustavus students to try and travel during their four years on the hill.

Gustavus Adolphus College’s Wallenberg Foundation Intern Award provides financial support that enables Gustavus students to complete an internship in Sweden during the January Interim Term or summer session. The purpose of the Wallenberg Foundation Intern Award is to enable Gustavus students to benefit from the educational enhancement, personal growth, and career and professional development that result from the completion of an international internship, regardless of their ability to pay. The award is made possible by a generous, five-year grant from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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