When an internship is more than just work: How my summer experience made me grow as a person

Everything started one Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m. I came into the corporate offices of Almacenes Siman and started my summer internship. Almacenes Siman is a 90-year-old company and the biggest chain of department stores in Central America. With its presence in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and of course the country that saw its birth and houses its corporate headquarters: El Salvador. Almacenes Siman is characterized regionally by offering its clients the products that they need and giving them the best shopping experience.

What was meant to be an internship has become one of the biggest experiences of my life. In this internship I have been able to learn not only about marketing but also about the different areas in a department store, including buying, choosing outfits for productions, launching events, speaking in the media, being part of the rebranding the store is going through, and taking charge of really important tasks in the office.

My internship at Siman has been a success thanks to my boss and everyone in the different departments. Everyone has made me feel at home and part of the family since day one. In only a few days, I felt that I had known everyone for years and gained the confidence to approach them whenever I need something. My coworkers always incorporate me in everything and have trusted me in the various tasks and projects they assign me. The trust everyone has given me has been a huge part of the positive outcome of this internship since I have the confidence to perform the tasks I am assigned.

One of the projects I have loved the most by far is choosing the outfits and inspiration pieces to be used in a production that was shot in Costa Rica. While choosing the outfits I had to be aware that this production was going to be seen regionally and had to attract thousands of individuals. So I had to take many things into consideration. Primarily, I had to think about my target consumer: a 28-year-old woman, who is married, works, eats healthy and exercises. But also about her “friends,” and “husband” that were also going to appear in the production.

While choosing the outfits, I incorporated a huge number of things that I learned at Mercyhurst. I had to think about the weather in the different countries of Central America, about the scenes the photographer was going to shoot, and also about the trends this Central American target market was willing to accept. Some trends, outfits, or pieces might be too bold for this market.

I was a little nervous when I handed in the mood boards and outfits for each scene the photographer was going to pitch to my boss. But I felt huge excitement and pride when I saw the face my boss had when I handed her the papers. She was really impressed with my work and pleased with the pieces that I chose.

My internship at Siman is soon to come to an end. I am happy to say that this experience has been more than an “internship” to me. This office has seen me grow, learn, and incorporated me once more into the office environment and what it really means to work.

The experiences one gets by interning and putting themselves out there in the real world are priceless. I truly recommend everyone to do an internship. Believe me, it will be the best experience of your life. I am sure I will leave my internship in a few weeks with a huge smile on my face, confident and sure that I really love my major and actually see myself doing it in a just couple of years when I graduate.

Maria Moreno, '19

Salvadoran living in Erie.  I'm in love with fashion, discovering the world...and matcha