Record breaking temperatures for a record breaking summer at Sprouts

My Saltire Scholar summer internship with Sprouts Farmers Market in Phoenix, Arizona began at the start of June with temperatures of 36C. At the halfway mark, the desert state kicked it up a notch and then broke its own record with temperatures above 43C (110F) for 31 straight days with the odd day at 48C thrown in for good measure. The heat progression reflected my own professional and personal development throughout this internship.

I was welcomed into Sprouts Farmers Market with open arms and my job started slowly allowing me to settle into my role, understand expectations, meet new people and become well versed in American culture. My team helped greatly with this and encouraged me to always try new things including root beer! At first living far from home and adapting to a new culture felt daunting but the time flew by in the blink of an eye. I learnt a significant amount in a short space of time whilst being a Saltire Scholar at Sprouts Farmers Market, they are a forward thinking and sustainable company that takes pride in every product in their stores. My role within this community was to help develop new culinary products and help ensure that the quality of current products was maintained, this was an exciting and fulfilling team to be a part of.

Despite my short time in Arizona I was lucky enough to explore both Arizona and US culture. I recommend networking (safely) when arriving in a new place in order to settle in quickly. I was very successful and able to make a great new friend for life with the added bonus that they worked for the Arizona State Baseball Team, The DiamondBacks, and was able to get us tickets to their game on the 4th July. It was a tick off the bucket list, definitely an exciting and very American experience with an amazing atmosphere as everyone was dressed in their best red, white and blue. I was also fortunate that I shared my experience with another Saltire Scholar and thanks to Sprouts we were provided with a hire car during our stay which allowed us to explore further afield including the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and many more bucket list places. These adventures, alongside a great work environment, made this summer one to remember albeit a very hot one with Phoenix hitting 48 degrees C on numerous days.

Not only was it challenging being in a different country and adapting to both different weather and cultural climates, and the odd scorpion and rattlesnake (diamondbacks), but I also had to adapt my skills to driving on the wrong side of the road, or should I say the ‘right’ side.

Arizona is a hot state and you don’t see many, if any, people walking the streets during the day in the severe heat. At first driving was difficult and getting used to the large American highways took some time. However I persevered and I now feel confident and proud as I conquered this challenge that at the start felt impossible. This is similar to how I feel about my internship - I stepped off the plane into a new country and I didn’t know how it would turn out but I kept an open mind to everything that came my way and loved every second of it. Learning how to overcome everyday challenges is an important part of what the Saltire Scholarship scheme offers and I am thankful to Saltire Scholar, Sprouts and the University of St Andrews for making this internship possible.

The people that I met and collaborated with enabled me to develop my skills personally as well as professionally and my confidence has grown significantly in both areas as a consequence. With the help of this amazing experience I feel that I am more prepared for the world post university, I understand the work environment more and perhaps have a better idea of my career path direction. My first challenge on returning to beautiful Scotland was to re-learn how to drive on the left. I was nervous but I am a Saltire Scholar so I nailed it!

Written by: Daniela Jones
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