What My Summer Internship Taught Me About Columbus

Photo by Walker Evans.

Jenna Anderson is a members services intern at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

Walking into my internship at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, I had no idea that everything that I thought I knew about Columbus was about to be turned on its head. I used to think that Columbus was just another small city trying too hard to be a big one; and not doing a very good job of it. My friends and I even had a saying: “There’s nothing to do in Columbus but eat”.

But after spending the summer working Downtown, I realized everything my friends and I thought about Columbus was wrong. Every field trip, project, lunch and learn, and presentation that I experienced with my cohort of interns and incredible coworkers changed the way I viewed where I grew up.

Through my summer internship at the Columbus Chamber, I’ve learned three very important things about Columbus, and they have sincerely allowed me to fall in love with Central Ohio.

Small Town or Big City?

Columbus isn’t your usual city. Sure, there are tall buildings all around and hundreds of people lining the sidewalks, but what I’m talking about is the actual feel of Columbus. You know, that not-so-warm-and-fuzzy feeling you get while walking around New York or Chicago? Well, Columbus offers something totally different. Here, you get a whole lot of Midwestern charm mixed in with city life, and it makes for a place where you can feel at home and safe, while also having loads and loads of fast-paced fun.

Reputation, Reputation, Reputation.

San Francisco probably knows that it’s a tourist attraction. I mean, who doesn’t want to make it to San Fran at least once? It doesn’t have to do much to attract people to it. But how many people do you hear of having Columbus, OH on their bucket list of places to go? If you’re like me, the answer is not many. The good thing is, Columbus gets that; and, man, is it working hard to change it.

Organizations like Experience Columbus and Columbus Underground help run the show in terms of touristy and extremely fun things to do around Central Ohio. Because of organizations like these—and many more—there is never a dull moment in Columbus. And it is all readily available to everyone who wants to visit or explore this great city.

Live and Play. Play and Live.

Columbus is on the “up&up” for driven young people as a bustling, never-boring place to live. The extremely low unemployment rate makes hiring managers hungry for fresh talent at businesses all across Central Ohio, which certainly attracts newer generations. The increasing number of younger people staying in Columbus makes the city feel even more refreshing and exciting. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in a place chock full of young intellectuals, ready to fully experience life and change the world at the same time?

Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that Columbus is a hidden gem in a world full of huge cities. Not many people know it (I lived in Columbus for 19 years, and I didn’t!), but Columbus is an incredible place. I have the Columbus Chamber to thank for my newfound love for the city I grew up in, and for my discovery of the wonders of Jeni’s Ice Cream.

— The Columbus Chamber of Commerce provides access to the connections, resources and solutions you need to help start and grow your business. Learn more about the Chamber at columbus.org. —