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Van Andel Global Trade Center Experience

Sarena

Experience Information

Employer: Van Andel Global Trade Center
Job Title: Intern
Major: International Relations
Received Credit?: Yes
Paid?: Yes

Description of the Organization

Van Andel Global Trade Center is a non-profit business assistance center hosted by Grand Valley State University. As their mission statement reads, VAGTC strives to strengthen the community through increased global business by providing high quality international consulting, training, and resources. In order to achieve this mission, VAGTC regularly puts on training events on a vast range of international topics such as importing, exporting, culture, sustainability, and more. Annually they put on World Trade Week, a week of events for the international trade community culminating in a full day business conference and reception, and the Automotive Suppliers Symposium, a conference bringing together all tiers of automotive suppliers. VAGTC also offers a great number of resources to companies such as worldwide credit reports, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Kent-Ottawa-Muskegon Foreign Trade Zone, and leading trade missions around the world.

Description of the Tasks/Projects Completed

A majority of my time as an intern has been spent learning about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States and applying that knowledge to actual client projects. I helped develop and execute a process for NAFTA Supplier Solicitation and performed NAFTA analysis on client's goods. I also spent time researching various international trade issues and agreements for clients. Other tasks included creating marketing pieces for training events and assisting the Center with day-to-day activities such as telephone calls, database maintenance, and program preparation.

Skills/Knowledge Gained Through The Experience

I gained knowledge on international business rules and regulations, NAFTA requirements and classification of goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. I also strengthened career skills such as time-management, problem-solving, and working as a team.

Favorite Part of the Experience

My favorite part of this internship was being given the chance to use the skills and knowledge I gained to actually complete and present client projects. I was able to work closely with local businesses and share my knowledge on topics such as NAFTA in order to assist them.

How the Experience Influenced Future Career Goals

This experience has inspired me to pursue a career that will make an impact in the local community. After working here, I would prefer to work for a non-profit than for-profit company. However, I have also learned that I would prefer not to work in an office and that I am more interested in other aspects of international relations such as culture, language, or politics than business.

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of GVSU.

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