By: Nick Santangelo

No matter what you study, no matter what you work on, your environment matters. The more comfortable you are, the better access you have to things that matter to you, the better you’ll perform. Amma-Sika Adomako, CLA ’18, knew this when she was choosing schools. That’s why she picked Temple University’s College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and Philadelphia.

The psychology major and Columbus, N.J. native wanted to be close to home and in a large city but not one that felt overwhelming.

“I felt like in Philly, because the size isn’t too big, it's very easy to get immersed into the culture and then immersed into the neighborhoods and the history of Philadelphia,” says Adomako.

Studying Abroad

But while Temple and Philadelphia “definitely” lived up to Adomako’s expectations, she didn’t constrain her college journey just to North Broad Street. Having traveled outside the U.S. with her family before, Adomako knew she had to experience different perspectives to get the most out of her liberal arts education. So she studied abroad in France in her last semester this past fall.

She’d studied French in elementary school, high school and at CLA. With graduation looming, Adomako wanted to expand her fluency in the language’s native country.

“The experience of being in another country really opens your mind up and changes the way you think,” explains Adomako. “I think a lot of times people can forget how big the world is. But when you travel to another part of it, especially a part of the world where they don't speak the same language as you, it really shows you how small we are in comparison to everything. There is a whole world outside of what we know and what we're used to.”

While she knows it can be “nerve-wracking” for students to make that first leap into the unknown, Adomako thinks every liberal arts student should take advantage of what might be their only chance to live in another country.

Learning on the Job

Studying abroad is just one way she thinks CLA students should step outside their comfort zones. She also recommends they follow in her footsteps and take multiple internships to help them figure out what they might (and might not) enjoy doing for a living. After taking several human resources internships while at CLA, she decided her last one before graduating would be with Amazon.

“I just liked the culture of Amazon because, in comparison to other Fortune 500 companies, it's very relaxed,” she says of why she was drawn to interning for the tech behemoth.

It was actually Amazon who reached out first. Thanks to Adomako’s well-maintained LinkedIn profile, a recruiter found her and asked her to apply. It took months, but she eventually got an interview, aced it and landed the job. She credits CLA’s Professional Development team with helping her prep for the internship and the career she’s now pursuing.

“The Professional Development team allows you to practice the real-life skills you're going to need after you graduate college. I think people forget how important human interactions—networking and elevator pitches—are in the real world.

“I definitely feel like working with the Professional Development team can help you get the outside-of-the-classroom skills you might not necessarily get from just taking courses.”

Of course, classwork helps too. When a project Amazon initially wanted Adomako to work on for 10 weeks fell through, she was able to create her own project. Relying on her psychology education—especially her Industrial Organizational Psychology course—she created a project to increase employee engagement by giving out a monthly stipend.

The experience taught Adomako that working at a large for-profit company wasn’t for her. But that’s OK. Between that and her past internships at non-profits, it’s now clear to Adomako that what she really wants is a job focused on helping people over helping profits.

“I just want to urge students to keep their minds and options open to different things. Because I feel like when you put your mind to something, it honestly usually works out for the better.”

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