My name is Joseph Rivera. I’m from America, to be more precise, I’m from New York City. This year, I studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), where I graduated with an associate’s degree. This fall, I will start my journey towards a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications. Originally I was given the opportunity to intern in London, but because of the pandemic, I could not travel. Then I was offered an internship with WeddingDates in Ireland as a virtual international experience. This was huge because WeddingDates is my first ever internship. I have to say that I love telling people I just had an internship in Ireland!
My internship partner Kalen and I were assigned to WeddingDates. Nerve-wracking? Yes. Exciting? Yes. Life-changing? Yes. I knew this opportunity would help me succeed in my future. I was excited about my upcoming endeavours at WeddingDates. WeddingDates is a company that helps engaged couples find their dream wedding venue and suppliers. WeddingDates helps wedding venues and suppliers to drive up their revenues through its software offering. Most importantly, it helps Venue Managers with better planning and decision making with its real-time reporting. The company is committed to the wedding industry and regularly supports industry initiatives, and produces an annual industry report.
During my time at Wedding Dates, my projects were manageable and straightforward. Sarah O’Farrell, Head of Operations, firstly gave us a location assignment. The location assignment was to research and gather facts about specific regions in the UK. We were required to research and write a short piece of content about the location. Next, we included information such as describing the landscape and urban areas, the best places to visit and other quirky facts about the region – things that might be useful to people considering getting married in the area. We worked on a variety of locations like Jersey in the English Channel, the county of Devon in England, West Lothian in Scotland, and many more.
I learned about the UK, and it was good because I couldn’t be there in person. Another task was to audit wedding venue listings on our website to ensure that descriptions which the venues had uploaded were unique to our site and not used on other sites. We used a plagiarism checker tool which helped us search and check. This assignment meant I was reading and learning about what those venues had to offer. Lastly, I had to review a checklist of criteria for each wedding venue to ensure they were making the most of their opportunity on the WeddingDates website.
Although sometimes it was repetitive work, I knew that my work was important at the end of the day. All of these tasks were to help with the SEO of the website, and it’s phenomenal to see that the location content that I researched and wrote has already gone live on the website. I learned so much about the industry, my work ethic, and life from this experience. I learned that you can make things happen for yourself. This brings me to the CEO, Ciara Crossan.
She started WeddingDates 13 years ago during a recession, and, wow, she didn’t give up on making her dream into a reality. Fast forward to now, WeddingDates hosts venues in both Ireland and the UK. They have had 750 customers to date, 27 000 weddings booked through the websites, seven business awards, and much more.
My work experience before WeddingDates consisted of taking and serving orders at a catering hall and as a receptionist for a church. Now, I can finally say I have started working in my chosen field. I have always considered myself a hustler and give 100 percent in everything I do. After working virtually abroad, I am absolutely doing anything I can to get ahead in the game. Having an internship in another county is huge and makes me grateful to everyone who has helped me get to where I am today. I am glad to be able to say I have worked in a culturally diverse environment as well.
I have gained so much from this experience that I am going to be forever grateful for. This is only the beginning of hopefully a lifelong career. A huge thanks to my professor at FIT, who saw something in me to grant me this once and a lifetime opportunity. My phenomenal and superly skilful partner, Kalen Davie, who I honestly couldn’t possibly think of having completed this internship without. Sarah, who was nothing but a delight and truly an amazing person to deal with throughout, who was so kind and patient in explaining what’s going on. I have to give a big shout out to Ciara for telling me her story of her career and her wise words of wisdom. Another shout out to Alix, Head of UK Sales, whom I met during my last days, who opened my eyes that anything is obtainable. Yanisah is also an intern at WeddingDates remotely, but within Ireland, and she was sweet enough to have a call with us and fill us in on what’s going on in Ireland during this time.
Finally, I want to thank my family.
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Joseph Rivera interned at WeddingDates in June 2021. The work he carried out enormously helped to drive our current SEO project forward. The positive output and enjoyable experience was our first remote international intern experience and will pave the way for future intern programmes.