Blogs from Abroad: A Day in Liverpool, My Experiences as an Intern at English National Ballet, Asli Aybar (COM’19)

 

The World Museum in Liverpool. Photo credit: Asli Aybar.

As a student in the London Internship Program, I have spent the second half of my semester abroad in a public relations internship for the English National Ballet (ENB), one of the U.K.’s five top ballet companies.

Before I started, I was nervous about having an internship in an industry I didn’t know much about, as I only did ballet as a child. However, being surrounded by the arts every day, I slowly picked up on new terms and remembered things I had learned all those years ago in ballet classes (the differences between first and fourth position, and what exactly an arabesque and pas de deux are).

Knowing much about ballet isn’t a prerequisite for my internship, but it is helpful to know about the techniques and terminology of ballet as they come up in conversation nearly every day, and are useful in writing blog posts, press releases, and even choosing photos for digital content (Tip: The perfect photo of a dancer in the right position can make all the difference in enhancing the quality of a post).

Generally, my responsibilities help with ENB’s administrative and PR activities. I do a lot of media monitoring (reading physical papers and online publications), updating spreadsheets, where I record everything from dancer’s social media handles to press ticket data, and I spend some days writing blog posts for the ENB website.

Cup of coffee from Filter + Fox – Cafe, Bar, Hideout in Liverpool. Photo credit: Asli Aybar.

I was recently asked to go on a work trip to see Akram Khan’s version of the iconic ballet Giselle for its opening night in Liverpool. I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen a ballet in person, and I was so excited at the possibility of checking out a new city.

I immediately jumped at the opportunity.

My team and I left after midday on a Wednesday, and got to Liverpool around 5:00 pm. The show was at 7:30, and after checking into the hotel and freshening up a bit, Allison (a coworker of mine and the Senior Marketing Officer at ENB) took me out for my first dinner at Nando’s (so good). Then, it was showtime at the Liverpool Empire Theatre.

Photo credit: Asli Aybar

 

At the theatre, I worked with my supervisors at the press desk, fielding questions from members of the media. During the intermission, we went to the theatre’s bar and met with the press again, answering and asking questions while drinking (complimentary!) wine. It was all very surreal and exciting – there were journalists present from all over the U.K. and the thrill from the first half of the show was so palpable among everyone milling about.

When the show was over, we went to the pub, which is the standard locale for most post-work celebrations, and then I headed home the next day after spending a couple of hours in the city, going to the Tate Liverpool, walking around Albert Docks, and popping into stores in the city center.

Albert Docks. Photo Credit: Asli Aybar.

I couldn’t believe that, as an intern, I was allowed to go on a work trip. I’m not sure if this is a standard internship procedure, but I didn’t hesitate to pack up my things and spend 24 hours in Liverpool. The city was a beautiful, trendy, sea-side port and Giselle was stunning. I also learned a lot about how to interact with press during events, getting an insider look into the environment as PR practitioners work events with the media.

I am looking forward to my next show – The Nutcracker on December 13th, which happens to be my last night in London. I can’t wait to see the performance that the entire Company has been working toward for the last few weeks. It really puts all of the hard work into context when you get to see the final result up on stage. Overall, I am so grateful to be in London and to be interning with an amazing organization that I truly care about. My only complaint? I wish my internship was long enough to actually teach me some ballet! 

 

Asli Aybar, London Study Abroad Program Correspondent

Asli Aybar is a junior studying public relations, French, and European Studies. When she graduates, she wants to work in publishing or music PR, hopefully in a country where she can put all those years of French class to good use. She loves Thai food, blanket scarves, Jane Austen, and a good striped tee.