This blog post was written by Cisco Security intern Andrea Youwakim.

During previous internships, I felt like a small cog in a big machine – constantly surrounded by people unaffected by the importance of all my cool projects.  I existed as an unknown contributor on my team.  So, when looking for a company to call home for my very last internship, I put a lot of importance on company culture – enter: Cisco.

Andrea, and eight of her fellow Cisco Interns, pose for a group photo.

Still – I was torn, and the decision on where my last internship would be was difficult.  I had competing offers guaranteeing me a chance to see new parts of the world or promising me big projects that I could design and develop all on my own.  However, it was clear to me by the end of my interview with Cisco that working here would be the best choice for me.

And almost nearly as proof, immediately after accepting my offer, I was invited down to the office to get to know my future team, months in advance.  Their warm personalities and friendly faces made me eager to finish the semester and start my journey in this small Austin office.

I am now six weeks into my twelve-week internship, and my #LoveWhereYouWork story has been writing itself since day one!

I’ve gotten to know my charismatic and candid team even further, to the point that it feels like we’re a family that has been collaborating for YEARS on projects in comparison to the mere weeks I’ve been developing code at Cisco.  Interns here aren’t just part of the big machine, we’re actively working on large projects, making big impacts, and are valued members of the team.

Think it’s all work and no play?  Think again.  I soon found out there was a sand volleyball court on campus and couldn’t resist – I began asking around the office if people would like to join me for a game, and they were all in!  This not only helped me to spark new friendships that we were able to strengthen because of our love of volleyball, but it also extended my connections within Cisco to different areas of the company all at once!

Andrea and two other Cisco interns enjoy treats at an event on campus.

Diversity was another huge perk for me, and something that you can clearly see is important to Cisco. I’m Lebanese, and it is often difficult to find another Lebanese or Arab person to relate to on cultural notes or share stories with about my childhood summers where I spent time running through the mountains behind my grandmother’s house in a small town in Lebanon. But, shortly after joining the Cisco family – I met a Palestinian person who lived in Lebanon for quite some time! We often play backgammon (a popular Lebanese board game) together outside of work hours and share stories about our travels and our crazy fun families.

I never thought I would wind up at Cisco for my last internship before heading out into the “real world” – but I am so glad that this is where I am. In my first six weeks here, I didn’t expect to be so close to so many Cisco employees, but I can safely say they feel like family.    It has been such a unique experience already in which I have learned and grown so much – all while having the time of my life!


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