My experience with USAC’s Global Perspective Virtual Internship was a unique experience that challenged my communication skills, pushed the limits of my French language learning, and offered information on how to be a valuable member in the working environment. The internship was very interactive and included two different components; one being the seminar section, in which the students participating in the program would discuss different types of readings in reference to building intercultural relationships, researching and learning about the different moving parts of our host organizations, developing and reflecting our own personal brand and even discussing the cultural differences between other students’ internship organizations. The second part of the internship was the work I did in Pau, France with the Méliès cinema. With the Méliès cinema, I worked with Xavier le Falher communicating about what the Méliès cinema was, their connection to the public and the festival they host annually called Rock this Town. The work I did for the organization was preparing documents for the festival by translating them from French to English and occasionally English to French. Notably, I translated the home and about us section on the website, which allowed for a bilingual webpage.
My internship organization was based in France and the majority of the work that I did was in French. I chose to work with a French organization because of my field of study being a French major and the importance of language immersion. This aspect was initially intimidating speaking and corresponding with French natives because of my language level, however this allowed room for growth to see what areas in my language development need improving. We corresponded through emails and Skype video calls, where we discussed the work that needed to be done with the festival. Rock this Town is an annual international music festival that debuted in 2007 that host documentaries, fiction, short films, video clips, biopics, events, record market, concerts and DJ sets. The festival was originally set to start in April but was moved to November 9th through the 14th because of the pandemic. The first meeting I had with Mr. Le Falher was in December 2020, accompanied with my resident director Robina Müller, who had been a major contributor to the adjustment and management of my internship organization. We met in December before the start of the program to discuss the aspects of the program and some of the work we would be doing together. During this first meeting we also talked about the hours of the internship and how best they needed to be completed. In France students who are participating in internships have certain duration limits they must abide by; we initially presumed that we would have to follow those protocols, but as the internship started, we made adjustments as necessary to finish the internship within a timely manner. Through this first meeting, I was also introduced to the time difference of six-hours, and it was made evident that this would be an important factor moving forward with communication. There were many interesting things I learned along the way with not only France’s response to the pandemic compared to the United States but with working hours, holidays and time change.
My experience with the Global Perspective not only provided me with indirect language immersion, I was also able to develop valuable skills and lasting relationships with my resident director and internship organizer. This internship was a great experience to prepare me for studying abroad and how to conduct myself within a foreign professional environment. This program requires timeliness and organizational skills to ensure that all the required materials get completed, but also having good communicational skill was an important factor that benefited me greatly throughout this program. I would recommend this program to anyone, the options provided when I first applied were bountiful and could potentially suit ones academic or future career goals.
Sara Marc is majoring in French and participated in a Spring 2021 virtual internship abroad in France through USAC. Sara had the following to say about (virtual) interning abroad, “Through the pandemic I learned that studying abroad is not limited to strictly traveling, there are experience opportunities available right from your bedroom.” Sara will spend Fall 2021 studying abroad in Lyon, France.