Attending college in a different city can feel like a brand new world, and the experience can be both challenging and exciting. In 2016, when senior business major Bryce Berry arrived in Memphis as a first-year from St. Louis, MO, little did he know that his college journey would take him to Cape Town, South Africa.
Berry was selected in 2018 as one of the students majoring in either business or economics to receive the Theodore William Eckels International Business Internship. This merit-based scholarship allows students to obtain work experience in a foreign country. Berry spent the summer in Cape Town working as a finance intern for the nonprofit organization Gold Youth. “I used knowledge I learned in the Financial and Cost Accounting course taught by Professor Pamela Church at Rhodes to help me in my internship,” he says. “I was able to quickly identify different accounts and balance them for the organization.”
The mission of Gold Youth is to empower youth peer leaders through educational programs to become positive role models and agents of community change. “The experience at my internship was more than just work,” Berry adds. “It was an office filled with different cultural perspectives and personalities that enabled me to form bonds I will never forget.”
This was Berry’s first time traveling out of the United States, and he says good communication was the key to living and working in a new country. “I became more conscious of slang and the pronunciation of my words when speaking with my co-workers, and they did the same.”
Berry credits now-retired Rhodes professor Dr. Luther Ivory with encouraging him to study abroad. “I had taken several of his courses, and he wrote a letter of recommendation to help me secure the internship. Brittney Jackson and Sandi George Tracy of Career Services also provided support.”
Outside of the classroom, Berry is a guard on the men’s basketball team at Rhodes. He says skills he learned in the internship—adaptability, commitment, and perseverance—even translated onto the court when he returned in the fall and the team had a new coach. “I had to adapt to the new way of doing things, similar to how my first couple weeks went in Cape Town. It made that transition a little more insightful, because I could relate to my coach coming into a new situation as well.”
Berry has published two books on financial literacy, and looking toward graduation, he says his plans include building a platform with his books and starting a real estate company.
By Meg Jerit ’20