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.
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.
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.