International content creator: A feel-good story about interning abroad

Cooper Martin (back row, far right) and other members of the Raccoon Digital Marketing Commercial team pose for a picture outside the office next to the company pool. (That’s right, there’s a company pool!) Photo courtesy of Martin

Name: Cooper Martin

Year in School: senior

Major: advertising, international studies

Position: new business specialist, Raccoon Digital Marketing

My name’s Cooper Martin, and I’m an advertising and international studies double major.

As a result of my majors, I need to complete an internship and a study abroad experience before graduation.

I’m pretty fluent in Portuguese. I spent a gap year living in Brazil and learning the language. (It didn’t count for my study abroad, unfortunately.) Being 3 1/2 years into my advertising degree, I was pretty good at what I did in that department too.

So, I decided I wanted to combine my study abroad and my internship and intern at a marketing agency in Brazil.

With a little investigative work – and a whole lot of luck – I got an offer from Raccoon Digital Marketing. They are a large digital marketing agency, arguably the best in Brazil, and they hired me to join their U.S. team. They were opening a branch in Miami because the previous year they were top 3 in the world in Google Shopping Innovation, but lost out on the top spot because they weren’t an international agency. So for that reason, among others, they set their sights on the U.S. market.

I was super excited. It was the absolute perfect position for me. I’d be working at a Brazilian-American marketing agency, helping with international business. I couldn’t have dreamt up of a better internship, and then it fell in my lap. I accepted it on the spot.

The only problem was I didn’t know what I would be doing. Like at all. My title was New Business Specialist, but seeing as they didn’t really have any old business in the U.S., that could mean anything.

Before I started, they said I would be “assisting with the review of materials, websites, presentations and e-mails to suit the language and culture of the United States.” It’s vague, but this was my shot, and I knew I had to take it. So I headed to São Carlos, Brazil.

I got there, and I was totally lost. Sure I spoke a lot of Portuguese, but there was a lot of business-speak that was totally lost on me. Google Translator became my best friend.

I had no idea what I was expected to do. Raccoon had opened their agency in the U.S. and I was the only native English speaker on the team, but I had never worked in a real agency and I had a lot of catching up to do on the business front.

It’s a strange sensation being an expert and an absolute novice at the same time.

As I went through my first couple weeks, I was all over the place, copy editing marketing materials, translating case studies, learning a lot. Over 90 percent of the employees at Raccoon are engineers and statisticians, so the numbers side of digital marketing came easily to them. That was not the case for me. I knew I had to focus to understand exactly how digital marketing worked, so I did.

Now I’m starting my third month and I finally feel like I’ve gotten a hold on things. I’m working closely with the inbound marketing team and even got my first blog published the other day. It’s a translation of someone else’s article, but still, there’s more where that came from! I’ve been involved in structuring pretty much every aspect of Raccoon’s U.S. presence, all as an intern.

I never thought that I would be able to combine my two areas of expertise in such a coherent way, but here I am, and I couldn’t be happier!

Vote for this blog post in Round 2 of the 2018 Greenlee Summer Intern Blogging Competition. Voting opens at 11:59 p.m. CST on August 8 and closes at 11:59 p.m. CST on August 15. The author of the post that receives the most votes will receive the $50 Amazon gift card.