In her time at Northeastern, Communication Studies student Bakari Olivetti has sought out unique and challenging experiences. Following a successful co-op at The Boston Globe, and a Dialogue of Civilizations to London, Bakari decided to travel to Sevilla, Spain to complete a co-op at Glamping Hub, a company that aims to provide unique and stylish nature-based vacationing. We were able to talk with Bakari about her exciting experiences, from on-campus to the streets of Sevilla. Read more below!
In your position at Glamping Hub, what were your responsibilities, and what did an “average” day at work look like for you?
I worked in the marketing team, where I wrote listings for the thousands of nature accommodations on the website. Listings are the pages that customers use to learn about accommodations before booking their stay. I wrote about cabins, treehouses, villas, airstreams, yurts, and much more all over the world! I was also one of the co-ops that managed the marketing department email. I communicated with hosts of the accommodations when they were dissatisfied with how we wrote about or presented their accommodations. It was cool to speak with people all over the world and learn about the glamping sites they manage!
The office environment was casual and productive. I could arrive at work anywhere between 9am and 11am, so sometimes I would go to the gym next door before work and arrive closer to 11am. I would work on writing listings for a few hours, and then have a call with a host to hear how they would like to edit or improve their listings, and then go to a marketing meeting to learn about the department’s current projects. The office was very laid back, especially being in Spain, so it was a comfortable environment to get my work done but also get to know my co-workers.
What would you say was the most rewarding part/experience of your time working at Glamping Hub?
I loved the fact that the employees and other co-ops/interns at Glamping Hub were from all around the world. I was able to meet so many new people and learn about their cultures, while also living in a completely new country. I also think a rewarding part of my co-op was being able to write about glamping sites, and know that people actually read and determine their nature getaways and vacations based on my writing. The fact that I could have been an influence or resource for people to go glamping and get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and connect with nature and each other is very exciting.
You mentioned you worked previously at the Boston Globe and completed a Dialogue in London. How did those two experiences help prepare you for your co-op abroad?
The continuous problem-solving skills I acquired while co-oping at the Globe and while on a Dialogue in London are what prepared me for an international co-op. I was relieved I had many other experiential learning opportunities before going to Spain, because they helped me gain the confidence and excitement I needed to move to a completely new place. I’ve learned the importance of being comfortable with the uncomfortable,because after a while a new experience will teach me more than I expected and help me learn more about what brings me meaning in life.
What were some challenges, highlights, or other notable facets of living and working abroad?
A challenge I experienced before going abroad is thinking of the unknown- I had never been to Spain before and had no idea what to genuinely expect at work each day and with the people I would meet. But I also think that was one of the best parts, because quickly as the days went on, I began meeting other interns and employees from around the world, began understanding my work responsibilities, and started to see more of beautiful Sevilla. Even though it was very bittersweet when my co-op came to an end, I am so proud of my growth personally and professionally in Spain and could look back at the many months of continual adventure.
Living and working abroad has given me so much perspective of how other cultures live and work compared to the United States. Spain functions at a much slower pace and I noticed more emphasis on family and community than what I was used to. The culture taught me not only about the country I was in, but also helped me see how I wanted to live my life in the future. The emphasis on community really resonated with me, because people often prioritized their connections and relationships with those around them, something I also value. It taught me that I want to live in a place in the future that values community, because I think people live better when they know they have others supporting them.
What are some of your interests and passions, and how have you been able to incorporate them into your academic and professional experiences?
I’m very passionate about creating and maintaining community wherever I am. Before I accepted my two co-ops at The Boston Globe and Glamping Hub, I made sure to understand the work culture and how it would feel to work at these companies. Work culture is very important to me because I appreciate being able to truly enjoy the people around me and make sure people feel that they belong at their work. I have loved the work environment of both of my co-ops. At The Boston Globe, I worked in the community relations department and assisted non-profits in the area with spreading the word about their events and programs. At Glamping Hub, I like to think of my role as working for the global community to help spread the word about many different glamping sites, to help people experience nature how they wish.
Beyond co-op, are there any particularly notable experiences you’ve had at Northeastern that you feel were instrumental in gaining experience?
I’m a member of the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority which has truly been an invaluable experience during my time at Northeastern. I have learned how to be a leader, and have held several positions that have helped me gain confidence and experience. I’m currently the Vice President of Academic Affairs for the sorority, so I aim to provide resources for my fellow members to succeed in their classes and co-ops. One of my favorite parts of being in my sorority has been watching my role transform over the years. I joined as a sophomore, and as the years progressed I have been able to go from looking up to so many older members to becoming an older member who helps support the younger members now. I’ve gained experience in communication, planning events and programming, leadership, and so many other applicable qualities that will help me in navigating my future jobs and experiences.