From a small village to a large city

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I am born and raised in a small village called Vosselaar, in Belgium, but I always wondered what living in a big city would be like. Now I even get the chance to live and work for a full semester in the nation’s capital of the United States at Double R Productions. I am definitely experiencing a whole different lifestyle during my stay here in America. This brings me to the topic of my blog this week, living a professional life in a city within the field of video production. There are three new major aspects of building up a media network that I learned during my stay.

I will start with the one that was the most challenging for me, as I was not familiar with it, namely attending networking events. I have never been to a networking event before or considered events as networking opportunities. I am now aware of the fact that this is something that I lacked during my education In Belgium, both regarding the academic as well as the internship segment. Initially, I was nervous to go to such events. Fortunately, both through The Washington Center program and my internship position at Double R, I forced myself into this. From my perspective, it is a very good thing that I get the chance to attend these events. I have reached out to more people I met for the first time than I have in the past twenty years. For instance, I met these wonderful people Murray Horwitz, of Washington Performing Arts, and Jennifer Lawson, formerly of PBS, during a breakfast event. Overall, it gave me more confidence to speak up in public spaces.

The second challenge is meeting up with people to have a one-on-one conversation in a private space. One of the assignments of The Washington Center program is to conduct informational interviews. This networking tool is excellent for job seekers such as young professionals like me. The purpose of this assignment is to expand your professional network. Through Double R connections and events I got the chance to interview two very interesting ladies both in my field of interest, namely Piper Hendricks, of p.h. balanced films, and Andrea Sims, of Lion’s Share Communications, Inc. I have never had such great chats with people I didn’t know before. They both gave practical and useful advice regarding my professional career to take it to the next level.

The last and most convenient aspect that I learned, is exchanging business cards. In all honesty, I never had personal business cards in my hands for the purpose of reaching out to others. Here in DC it is considered a usual habit, bur for me it was initially a strange manner as part of interacting with other people. Nevertheless, it becomes something to which I get more familiar to and I actually think it is an easy way to keep in touch with others. Overall, I can say that I definitely learned more about networking tools and opportunities and the effectiveness regarding my professional outreach. So, thank you Double R and The Washington Center to give me more insight into and awareness of this part of professionalism.