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My Experience Living in New York as a Design Intern for American Eagle

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

I heard the same mantra from all my design professors during my junior year, “the summer between junior and senior year is THE time to get an internship.” So, I knew it was either now or never to gain enough experience to secure a job in the fashion industry post-grad.

When I was doing my research, I already had my dream internship in mind. I have worked at the same Aerie store for five years. With AEO being such a large fashion brand and corporation, I knew that they offered internships in almost all of their departments and they were back to being in person for the summer of 2022.

I was checking the AEO internship page every single morning for almost four months, just waiting for the design internship application to open. I spent countless hours revising my resume and cover letter over and over again until it was nearly perfect. On the day I saw that it had finally been posted, I freaked out so much that when it came to the final page on the application, I stared at it for half an hour before forcing myself to click the submit button.

Was this dream about to come true? Will they like me and think I am a good fit? Am I going to be able to survive living and working in New York City by myself? What if I don’t get it? I told myself that for now, I will only apply to the AEO design internship and if I don’t get it, then I will apply to others. I tried to not get my hopes too high up because you never know what could happen.

It was the beginning of April and I was sitting in class when I got the email. All it took was reading the subject line before I nearly fell out of my chair: “AEO – Intern Offer!” They liked me. They liked my sample project and my answers during my interview. This dream was coming true.

Fast forward to the last week of May, I bid farewell to Virginia and headed up to New York City! I took the bus and subway for the first time going to Manhattan from Queens and made a mental note to never lose my yellow Metro card. On the morning of June 1, I walked past the Empire State Building on my way to the AEO Design Office for the first time and continued to walk past it every morning and afternoon for ten weeks. This dream came true.

I met the design team for American Eagle Men’s Underwear and the rest of the teams that design for the men’s category at American Eagle. I met and spoke with the heads of design for both Aerie and American Eagle. I got to listen and ask questions to high-level executives from various departments in AEO. Even as an intern, my opinion was valued and I never felt like at the bottom of the totem pole.

My boss was interested in my school projects and praised me when I showed him pictures. I always felt like I belonged in AEO when I was working in the store, but the feeling I got when I was in the office is indescribable. I felt more confident in myself, as a designer and as a person. Making the hour-and-a-half commute on a bus and subway every day from Queens to Manhattan was worth it.

Living in New York as a design intern for American Eagle was an amazing experience and I would not trade it for anything in the world. If I could go back in time and tell 18-year-old Arba that you do get your dream internship and get to live in New York for a summer, she probably wouldn’t believe me until I show her the yellow Metro card and bag of quarters in my purse.

Arba Choudhury is currently a senior at VCU, majoring in Fashion Design. In addition to being a writer for HerCampus at VCU, she is also the Social Media Director and runs the Instagram for the chapter. Choudhury loves watching YouTube videos, browsing on Pinterest, and hanging out with her friends in her free time. She loves reading about style and beauty while also keeping up with pop culture and current events.