An Internship Abroad | LivItaly Tours

Studying abroad opens up a lot of experiences that wouldn’t usually be available in the average semester at college. One aspect of the program with IES is the chance to apply for a part-time internship. While doing an internship in itself can be done any semester at home, interning abroad provides the opportunity to experience the work culture of another country.

This semester I got the opportunity to have an internship with LivItaly Tours, a family-owned tour company that sets itself apart with its small group (6 people max) and private tours throughout Rome, Venice, Florence, and other Italian cities. I get to be a part of creating and editing content for their travel blog.

woman taking photo of Roman forum
That’s my supervisor, Louise, taking a picture in the forum while we were on LivItaly’s VR tour

Along with the internship, there was a once-a-week seminar with other interns where we discussed all kinds of aspects of an internship and cultural differences. My favorite part of that class was getting to hear about everyone else’s internship.  Some worked in a big office, or a cooking class, or one-on-one with just their supervisor. Some faced language barriers, others worked with Americans now living in Italy. While we all worked in Rome, we each had experiences unique to our placements.

My internship was in an apartment building around a big table with 3 or 4 other people at the beginning of the semester. Now, with a few new interns joining the team, we have around 8 of us in the office at one time. Plus, my favorite coworker, Dorris. Her job is to be cute, greet everyone that comes in, and carry her bone from person to person trying to tempt us to stop work and play instead.

Any day is a good day when Dorris says hello

An internship is always a great way to build a resume, learn some new skills, interact with new people, etc. What I ended up appreciating the most though, was having something productive be a regular part of my routine as I figured out life in Rome. Adjusting to a new culture, living in a big city for the first time, and not knowing anyone wasn’t an easy or quick process. Throughout that transition of finding my way to feeling good about myself and living in Rome, I valued having my internship as one of “my places.”

Just like I have my apartment, my walking route to school, my favorite gelato place, grocery store, park, historic site – all these little places that become familiar and make a place become a kind of home. My internship was the my place to go, interact with people I knew, and be productive. It has been something I really appreciated as a part of my study abroad experience.

While you might consider doing an internship for the typical, professional growth kind of reasons, you might come to find that, like me, it becomes a lot more.

Happy Birthday, Rome!

On Friday, Rome celebrated it’s 2,770th birthday! The official founding date of Rome is April 21st, 753 B.C. All weekend there were historical re-enactments culminating in a huge parade reminding me that the Roman people truly cherish and take pride in the rich history of the city they call home.

The Most Brief History of Rome You’ll Ever Read

Legend has it that twins, Romulus and Remus, were raised by a she-wolf. Eventually Romulus killed his brother and became the founder which is why we call the city Rome, not Reme.

Romulus became the first of the seven kings of Rome. However, the people weren’t happy with the monarchy (a preference that would come back to haunt Juilus Caesar later) and decided make a change. Fun way to remember a nice Jeopardy worthy trivia fact – the the last king Tarquinius Superbus, who was driven out of Rome.

Then came the Roman Republic [510-23 B.C.] where the ruling class, the Patricians, were the elite, wealthy, men of Rome. Every year the senate elected two consuls to lead them. Rome then began to wage war and expand its territory. One of the most notable, the Punic Wars, included three wars between Rome and Carthage, involved elephants, and ultimately resulted in Rome destroying Carthage and expanding into North Africa.

Mean Girls Roman history referemce

Occasionally the senate would appoint an emergency dictator who held imperium, complete power, until the issue, usually a war, was resolved. Best example of someone weilding imperiumCincinnatus. Worst example: Julius Caesar, who declared himself dictator for life which was too close to a king for the people’s liking. A group of senators plotted together and just totally stabbed Caesar 33 times during a senate meeting, and effectively sped up the transition from the Republic into the one man rule of the Empire that the senate was trying to avoid in the first place.

Augustus, Caesar’s adopted heir, avenged his predecessor’s murder and eased his way into becoming the first emperor of Rome. From then on, until around the 5th century B.C, the Roman Empire stood under the rule of emperors.

And there you have an incredibly brief, basic overview of Ancient Rome.

Natale di Roma

So, yesterday I got to go to a parade! It started at the Circus Maximus, the race track of ancient Rome. At one end of the track dozens of legions of Roman soldiers, groups of gladiators, preiestesses, and Vestal Virgins were lined up. Two commentators were speaking which probably really added to the experience, but my limited Italian vocabulary meant I understood numbers, happy birthday, and random words here and there.

Vestal Virgin torch lighting ceremony

Before the parade, the standard bearer of every legion lit a torch in a ceremony with the Vestal Virgins. The Vestal Virgins were a group of female priestesses who were in charge of tending the eternal flame of Rome. If the flame went out, bad things would happen. So, the flame was an important symbol and superstition in ancient Rome.

After the opening ceremony, the parade began. There were dancing priestesses, soldiers showing off their testudo battle formation, and emperors with their wives.

Overall, it was a fun weekend in Rome with so much to see and remind you of how important the long history of this city is to its people.

Thanks for reading,
Erin

Senior Struggle #7: Rejection Can Be Good

I hope that I can remember this every time I face rejection in my life!

Happy Tuesday, readers. Only a few more days until Easter Break – I know you all can push through!

Something that has been on my mind a lot this semester is what to do this summer. It’s on everyone else’s mind too, but especially seniors as graduation is just around the corner. Fortunately, I know what I’m doing this summer so a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders, but for many people, there is still the looming uncertainty that summer will bring.

“Will I move home after graduation?”

“When will I hear back from that job that I applied for and really want?”

“When will I know what I’m doing with my life?”

These are just a few stressful questions that I’m sure everyone has been asking themselves, especially seniors. In lieu of these questions, I want to focus on rejection and how it doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.

People see rejection in their lives mainly by not getting jobs, internships, or acceptance into student groups. Those are the most visible ways rejection rears its head, but there is also rejection in relationships, friendships, and other areas of your life. Getting turned down for a date, being overlooked or losing touch within a friendship, or getting a poor grade after working hard on your homework are other ways that rejection is poignant in life. I’ve experienced all of these types of rejection, and although the rejection stings, in many ways I’m happy the rejection happened.

If it weren’t for the different types of rejection I’ve been through, namely rejection from internships and employers, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s hard sometimes to see the good that comes out of rejection in the moment, but that bad grade or the denial of entry from that student group could open up your schedule for something that you want to live into.

It’s may be hard to see now, but rejection can be beneficial. I hope everyone is able to see that as graduation nears and summer worries start to pile up.

Until next time!

Senior Struggle #6: It’s OK to Want an End

As I get ready to graduate, I have to keep this saying in mind!

Hello, readers! I hope your week is going well so far! We have five weeks of school left, and those weeks are flying by! The time passing quickly is sad as I realize that my final year of college is coming to a close, but at the same time, I’m happy that it will be done soon and I will be able to start a new chapter of my life.

Throughout this second semester, I’ve felt that it hasn’t been okay to feel that I wanted college to be over. College is supposed to be the best four years of your life, right? While these years have been amazing, I feel like there is a reason that college is only four years: because at this point, I’m supposed to grow up. I’ve outgrown communal living where I have to share a bathroom (even though I’m living with my best friends), I’ve outgrown classwork, even though I know I’m learning a lot in my classes, and I’ve especially outgrown the feeling that I have to do everything and be busy to be the best version of myself.

I’m ready for independence. Hope has prepared me well to use the skills I’ve learned in class for internships and jobs. I’m ready to live into things I’m passionate about and I’m ready to say no to things that are a source of stress. I’m ready for my own space; I’m ready to find out who my close friends are, and I’m ready for a new chapter of my life to begin.

For a long time I thought that this readiness wasn’t normal and that I was being selfish because I wanted to move on from college. I would suppress these feelings and try to be sentimental when people asked me if I was ready to graduate. “No way!” I’d say, “I want to stay here forever!” But that wasn’t true!

Although Hope has given me skills and memories that I’m thankful for, I don’t think this feeling of wanting to move on is bad for me. It’s one I’ve definitely had to come to terms with, but I think every senior has been or is going through the struggle of feeling like they want to stay and go at the same time. What’s important is knowing what these feelings mean for you individually, and how they affect you.

Whether you’re a freshman or a senior and these last weeks come and go, enjoy the time you have left at Hope, but also be at peace with what you’re feeling. Until next time!

Spring Is Here and So Were My Parents!

I was lucky enough to spend my spring break traveling in Italy with my parents! We started in Rome and toured the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. It’s hard to describe visiting a place that holds such renowned artwork and museums showcasing items that span a longer period of time than Christianity itself.

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The next morning we boarded a train to Venice where we spent a few days exploring the Floating City. There’s nothing quite like this city of stone bridges standing over countless canals that carve narrow watery alleys between the bordering buildings.

Today, tourism is a primary contributor toward keeping this city afloat. While we toured Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica, both incredible and definitely worth seeing, I had the most fun getting lost winding through narrow alleys and finding the locals’ Venice. Once you step beyond St. Mark’s Square or the main Rialto bridge area, you can find a different side to Venice’s enchanting charm.

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From Venice we traveled to Florence, a city known for its Renaissance art and architecture. We went to the Uffizi Gallery, home to Raphael’s Self-Portrait, Caravaggio’s Bacchus, Botticelli’s Venus, work by Michelangelo, Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, etc.

We spent some time in the Duomo, climbing the bell tower, and seeing the baptistry, I even climbed to the top of the dome! And, of course we also saw Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia.

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The rest of my parents’ time in Italy was spent in Rome. I was able to show them where I live in Prati, what I see on my walk to school, and play tour guide at some of my favorite places. From Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman forum, we saw a lot of Rome together.

It was really nice to be able to spend time with my parents here in Italy. We saw so many beautiful sights, ate a ton of pasta, and tried a lot of different gelato flavors. It made spring break that much more special to be able to share it with people I love. And hopefully they had just as much fun exploring Italy with me and getting to see what my life here in Rome this semester is like.

Thanks for reading,
Erin

My Spring Break

Happy Monday, Readers!

I hope you all enjoyed your Spring Break and feel relaxed and rejuvenated as we enter this last sprint before the school year ends. As a senior, it felt like this Spring Break was needed more than ever before. Here’s a little glimpse into what I did!

For my break, I headed down to sunny Florida with my family. It was so nice to be able to spend one final break with them before my sister and I graduate. We had been to Florida before, but this break was different. This break was needed, and it didn’t feel long enough. We didn’t want to come home!

When we boarded our plane Thursday afternoon heading to Florida, we were cold and ready for the sun. I can say with confidence that we didn’t leave the sun for 10 straight days. We spent every day on the beach reading books, taking much-needed naps, and dipping our toes in the warm Gulf Coast water. We had some different excursions during the evenings, like going to a play, exploring the surrounding Naples area, and going on a sunset boat ride, but other than that, we played many games of cards and read a lot of books. It was blissful! Leaving Florida’s 75 degree weather and coming back to Michigan’s 30 degree weather was a wake-up call, but I’m glad to be back with my friends for these final weeks until graduation.

A view of the sunset from the boat tour we went on!
It was so much fun being able to go on Spring Break with my best friend!

I hope you all had a great break and are ready to push through these next few weeks!

Until next time!

Porsche

We all know Porsche. One of the most luxurious and most technically developed cars one can buy in current market. People think Porsche is one of the symbols of brilliant German engineering, precision, and reliability. As of right now, it is truth, but most people do not know that Porsche is not German company. It is Czech company, which moved to Germany and became German. Actually, the founder Ferdinand Porsche, was born in Vratislavice neighborhood, which is part of Liberec, my hometown. He went to Technical University in Liberec and got a job in Vienna when he turned 18. On of the reasons, why he did not come back to the Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia back then) is because he sympathized with Hitler and his ideas.

Also what people do not know is that Volkswagen Beetle is a reality only because of Adolf Hitler. The VW Beetle is a direct product of Adolf Hitler. He actually contracted Ferdinand Porsche in 1934 and asked him to design and construct it.

The fact that Porsche had a lot of sympathies for Hitler was a big controversy of reconstructing his house where he was born in Vratislavice, Liberec. Nevertheless, Škoda the Czech car manufacturer bought it and made a museum out of it.

Porsche´s house back then.
Porsche´s house back then.
Porsche´s house now.
Porsche´s house now.