November 21, 2022 / CPOVs
CP Abroad With Alyssa Stevens
Alyssa Stevens, Director of Public Relations & Social Media
15 years ago, I backed out of my study abroad program in Paris just weeks before I was scheduled to depart. I had no good reason other than I was scared. Sure, I had traveled as a young adult, but the idea of being in a foreign country and traveling alone made me more uncomfortable than I was ready to admit. At the time, a wise friend told me that the experiences that put you out of your comfort zone are the ones that help you grow. I didn’t understand what that meant at the time…maybe I didn’t really want to. But with age comes wisdom, and I’ve often thought back on that moment of my college career with regret.
The fact is that, over the years, I’ve realized how much I LOVE to travel. The sound of a stamp hitting my passport, paired with those first hours of pure discovery in a new locale, give me a rush like no other. From the rolling hills of Switzerland to the torrid Sahara Desert, I’ve been to many amazing places. But despite checking destination after destination off my bucket list, that feeling of wishing I had pushed myself to study abroad in Paris has lingered.
So…you can imagine my delight when Connelly Partners announced its CP Abroad program. A second chance to live abroad and work alongside my Irish colleagues? The opportunity to visit new countries every weekend? Sign me up! Ready to embrace the experience with open arms, I packed my bags to head to Ireland for the month of October.
Part of being ”defiantly human” is uncovering new cultures and exploring the different ways that people work and live. Being able to work from our Dublin office, attend international industry conferences such as the Influencer Marketing Show in London and “The Long Lunch” with Dave Trott in Dublin, and be interviewed about influencer marketing in several Irish media outlets (you can check those out here and here) enabled me to truly embrace my CP Abroad experience. I gained an enlightened global perspective on how to approach social media, PR, and influencer marketing, along with a better understanding of ways to enhance our client strategies around those learnings.
CP Abroad also opened the door for some amazing travel opportunities…five countries in five weeks!
I frolicked through the Emerald Isle, exploring the Dingle Peninsula and Ring of Kerry. This is such a gorgeous part of Ireland with the most lush landscapes and jaw-dropping coastlines. I loved seeing the Dunquin Pier, the colorful town of Dingle, and driving (as the passenger!) on the ever-so-narrow roads through Killarney National Park.
I touched down in London to attend the Influencer Marketing Show, soaking up industry knowledge, before heading to the mystical city of Edinburgh, Scotland. Charming shops, winding streets, medieval architecture, and a picturesque castle perched atop a dormant volcano make Edinburgh appear like something out of a storybook.
I hunted for truffles, rode horses, and tasted the fine wines of Italy during a relaxing trip to Tuscany. With unseasonably warm weather, our days were spent lounging by the pool and indulging in copious amounts of cured meats and pasta. Tuscany has some of the most amazing sunsets I’ve ever seen!
And during the weekend I was traveling solo? Well, I went to Paris. A decade and a half later, I embraced my favorite city on my own accord. From strolling through the quaint streets of Saint-Germain and people watching at sidewalk cafes to spending the afternoons meandering along the Seine and soaking in the views of the Eiffel Tower in the distance, I realized that timing is truly everything.
Being “uncomfortable” did make me grow…not in years, but in rich experiences that will last me a lifetime in memory. For me, CP Abroad was an incredible personal journey that allowed me to garner new work perspectives while facing my fears. It also helped me to finally lay an old regret to rest…and for that, I am forever grateful.