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Harrison takes in a Minnesota Twins baseball game at Target Field. Photo courtesy of Harrison Malone. 

Career, Culture, Cuisine, and Always Saying “Yes”

An Interview with J-1 Intern Harrison Malone

By saying “yes” to every opportunity, Harrison Malone is living out the dream of most young professionals! He combined his passions for the creative industry and sports, landing a dream internship with PadillaCRT, a PR agency based in Minneapolis, MN. There, Harrison has struck a balance between working hard at his internship and enjoying everything the city has to offer! After he finished his first internship, Harrison decided to apply for a program extension so that he could continue to grow his communications skillset and further develop his professional network. We caught up with Harrison right before he started his second internship at CSL International hear all about the new experiences he’s embraced so far!

What impact has your J-1 experience had on your life and your career?

There are various impacts the J-1 has had on my life and career. Firstly, I’ve fallen in love with the Twin Cities. It feels like home now in terms of the people I socialize with, the food I eat and how I navigate myself around. It’s cool to have more than one place I call home as it makes me feel like a global citizen. Secondly, I’ve been fortunate enough to work alongside senior people in the creative industry. Being able to get their feedback on a day to day basis has been super valuable. I’ve tried to ask as many questions as possible as to apply the lessons they’ve learnt to my own career. Thirdly, having these roles on my resume will be of great value by the time I get home. I believe that I’m more employable having worked overseas at a young age and this will put me ahead of the pack. Not only that, but I’ve built up a great network of connections who I can turn to for job hunting advice.

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Photo courtesy of Harrison Malone.

What was your favorite cultural activity to do in your city? 

The culture in the Twin Cities is something that many people are unaware of. Some of the best and most diverse food in the world is here! My favorites include Burch in South Minneapolis, Punch Pizza and Rusty Taco in the North East and Skyway Wok in downtown. My favorite coffee shop, where I’ve also spent a lot of time writing, is Spyhouse which has a couple of locations all around the city. Another one of my favourite activities, especially in the fall, was going for runs around the Lake of the Isles. There was one particular run that I remember on a balmy October night, and the sun set was one of the most spectacular things I’ve ever seen, with the colors bouncing off the lake. I did a fair bit of riding in the warmer months as the bike paths here are next level good. I even rode to work. I’ve been to the football, baseball and basketball, with the ice hockey on my to do list. The record stores and vintage shops here are also world class, and on a Sunday I’ll often just go for a bit of a browse. The bars and breweries are again some of the best I’ve ever been to. I’ve spent many evenings at UpDown in Uptown (sorry about the tongue twister) which is an arcade craft beer bar. Pacman, Super Mario and Skeeball are some of my favorites there.

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Harrison tailgating before a Minnesota Vikings football game. Photo courtesy of Harrison Malone. 

What advice can you offer to future exchange visitors coming to the United States? 

I think the best advice for future exchange visitors coming to the United States is to say yes to every opportunity you get. It has been something my mum has been saying to me a lot, and I’ve tried to live my life with this always in the back of my mind. When you say yes often enough you’ll have interesting experiences, ones that you might find challenging, but the rewards far outweigh these challenges. My other piece of advice is that if you’re coming to the Mid West in winter bring a jacket. However, the cold is nothing to be afraid of. I now know what minus twenty feels like and it’s actually not that bad if you dress properly. The heating here is also so much better than back home, so you’re usually comfortable in short sleeves once indoors.

What is your favorite memory from your J-1 program?

My favourite memory is incredibly hard to choose because there is so much to pick from. I think the number one experience has to be going tailgating and then seeing the Minnesota Vikings play. That whole day was a whirlwind and just a crazy experience. The giant nachos actually exist like in the Simpsons! Special mention to Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween as well as seeing it snow for the first time which is fascinating from an Australians perspective. I also look back fondly at the travel that I’ve done having been to New York, Chicago, Montreal and Toronto. There was one particular night in New York where I was with a friend from Melbourne and we just had the best time. We kind of joined in on a bar crawl in East Village, meeting some great people and then dancing the night away. We somehow stumbled upon the classic New York diner Katz’s on the way home which made the whole experience feel like a movie! The place was packed at 3AM and had these amazing smoked meat sandwiches. Highly recommend it.

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Photo courtesy of Harrison Malone. 

What does cultural exchange mean to you?

Cultural exchange to me means pushing boundaries and associating yourself with people you aren’t normally used to being around. It means giving the new culture a go, investing yourself fully in it and coming out the other side with a new perspective. It means being a great example of a person from your home country, showcasing all the great things it has to offer and educating people about it. It means inviting them into your home if they ever decide to travel there. It means asking questions about the new culture and trying to learn something new about it everyday. It means being friendly and respectful.