A Semester in NYC

A playground for the rich, famous and ambitious, New York City truly is a “concrete jungle where dreams are made of” (in the words of Alicia Keys). I took advantage of the American education system to spend the second semester of my study abroad year interning at Ladies’ Home Journal, the fifth-largest women’s lifestyle magazine in the States.

In the place where Sex and the City was born, I arrived at the internship full of hopes and dreams of what the semester would bring. Would I get to attend fabulous fashion parties, would I be whisked away to South Beach to help out at a photo shoot, would Orlando Bloom finally realise his true feelings for me during an interview? Thus, I could hardly contain my excitement when my first task as an intern was to attend an event hosted by none other than Whoopi Goldberg! Unfortunately, she was MIA due to snowstorms, and I had to listen to a group of 50 year olds discuss their bladder issues. Hmm…slightly less than fabulous.

Nonetheless, with a new flair of confidence as a Carrie Bradshaw protégé, I was determined to immerse myself in glitz and glamour. Amidst the hustle and bustle of New Yorkers, the city offers a window of opportunities for new arrivals. The plethora of city sounds, dazzling lights and vibrant atmosphere is enticing. One step on the subway and the melting pot of diverse cultures and races, all with a thirst for success, can be observed in this cosmopolitan city.

My expectations of The Devil Wears Prada anxiety-fueled office were pleasantly false. The staff were welcoming and insured that my experience was fantastic. The Fashion-Editor even handed me her tickets to attend Mercedes Benz fashion week – a time when the city embraces itself for the couture, the chic and the celebrities. Dining on the table next to Leonardo Di Caprio and partying besides Chase Crawford’s VIP table becomes a genuine possibility; nothing says bright lights until you are blinded by the plethora of flashes by paparazzi cameras at these shows.

As the weekends arrive, city-dwellers prepare to spend their hard earned dollars on Sunday brunch, sight-seeing and shopping. Nonetheless, as an unpaid intern, I was deluded when strutting down Fifth Avenue in the hope of purchasing the latest trends. Only once I had noticed that the bag I was admiring in Louis Vuitton would wipe clean my student loan did I decide to stick to H&M instead. Perhaps I was getting a little Carrie-d away. To satisfy one’s hunger from walking crazily around the grid system (a life-saver for those of us who lack any sense of direction), delve into the trendy Meatpacking district. Late-night dining at the assortment of high-rated Asian-fusion restaurants, followed by dancing and delectable cocktails, kept me going back. Testament to the ruthless and fashion conscious city, even the bouncers at Buddha Bar “don’t do flip-flops.”

As the jazz ensembles prepared to end their musical accompaniments on a high final note in lower Manhattan, I too was slowly approaching the end of my internship. With fashion shows, media events and photo shoots under my belt, I decided that there was only one way to culminate the trip on a high: with a famous New York steak. The juicy Prime Grill steak certainly hits the spot and puts those in the ‘city that never sleeps’ to rest. Until next time, partying in Ocean will have to suffice.

Shara Hikmet


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