Arabian Adventure

By Debbie Lechtman 

August 5, 2012

Newhouse grads' exotic summer internship

Dubai Internship

For four years, Christopher Jennison hardly took a break. As a Syracuse University student majoring in public relations, Jennison took internships in Syracuse, Washington D.C., and even remotely throughout the school year. After his graduation this past May, he expected to finally be able relax, especially before starting his Master’s classes at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.

Instead Jennison, originally from Silver Spring, MD, found himself living in Dubai this summer. He interned at Ketchum Raad Middle East , which oversees companies such as PepsiCo, where Jennison is doing most of his work. Another recent SU grad, Lisa Gapinske, also completed the same internship, working mostly with TBWA/RAAD , the advertising section of the company.

When Jennison saw a call for applications to intern in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, over the summer he was immediately intrigued. Even so, he did not apply until the last day of the application process. When he heard that Newhouse School faculty had selected him for the job, he didn’t think twice about taking the offer. “Of course I decided to go,” he said.

Jennison worked in Dubai for six weeks, from Sunday to Thursday. “Weekends in Dubai go from Friday to Saturday,” he explained. He says that the majority of his duties involved completing research reports and competitive analyses, drafting and editing speeches and press releases, and utilizing social media. Jennison was also an integral part of the team that created the second annual Corporate Social Responsibility Youth Forum, a PepsiCo initiative to engage the region’s youth in discussions about living a sustainable future. 

In addition to acquiring invaluable work experience, Jennison and Gapinske also enjoyed the best that Dubai has to offer. “The other intern, Lisa, is a good travel buddy,” he says. Jennison and Gapinske have taken up all kinds of activities exclusive to Dubai: visiting a ski resort inside a mall in the middle of the desert, dune bashing in an SUV, and taking weekend trips to Abu Dhabi, among others.  

“This city is the most international that I’ve ever experienced,” Jennison said. He said the vast majority of people living in the United Arab Emirates are originally from foreign countries. He mentions how welcoming everyone has been, often wanting to know as much about the American culture as he wants to know about theirs. “We met a group of four Pakistani guys one day, and they’d never met Americans before. It was very surreal to meet somebody who’d never met an American.”

Throughout his stay in Dubai, Jennison wrote a blog about living and working in a foreign country. You can check it out here: