Squash.  Where I am from, it’s nothing but an oddly shaped, fleshy vegetable (or is it a fruit?). Occasionally it’s a sport. We certainly never drink squash.  But during my first week at Make Happy I learned that in the UK, squash is a fruity juice concentrate. We all had an innocent laugh at my American naivety.  I still think its weird.

I have the same sentiment for many things I’ve encountered in my first trip across the Atlantic Ocean.

Driving on the opposite side of the road?  Cliche, but weird.

Going to the pub before the work-day ends?  Pretty wonderful, but weird.

Going to a pub named The Slaughtered Lamb? Weird and a bit unsettling.

Being the new intern in a small office in a new country?  Very weird.

Despite all the weirdness, I still have the undeniable happiness of working with a great group of (British!) people.

Interning at Make Happy is everything I hoped for and more.  Of course I’m occasionally the typical intern – running to the post office and picking up milk (for the wonderfully large amounts of tea everyone
drinks).  But I’m also learning, and gaining legitimate experience in my chosen field of study.  The fact that I’m doing it in a different country, with minimal, albeit distinct, cultural differences, makes it
all the more fun.

I’m in my third year at a university in Boston, Massachusetts studying communications and advertising.  The best and worst part of an internship is realising that all the theory you have theoretically picked up in the classroom is only of marginal use in the real world. It’s like realising that something you thought you knew all about – like Squash – has a whole secret identity.

For example, one of the most useful things I’ve done so far in my short time at Make Happy is learn about the Business Model Canvas, a previously unheard of tool for me.  Is it as much of a miracle as drinkable squash?  Much more if you ask me.  It’s an essential component in the work that Make Happy does to help make other businesses happy.  They are even using it to clarify their own business model, which I tried to do as an introduction to the company.

But what really intrigues me is the concept of using this model for personal purposes, which I was reading about in the book Business Model You.  It’s once again weird for me to think about outlining a business model for my life – but maybe one day I’ll give it a shot.

Of course, the familiar tools are still there too.  May the good old SWOT never go out of style.  And may the good old squash once again be a simple pumpkin in time for Halloween in America.