Julia Angeles (Middlebury College)
Centre Animation Jeunesse
During my second semester in Bordeaux, I interned with the Centre Animation Jeunesse (CAJ). The CAJ works with middle and high school youth year-round, offering them a variety of activities, as well as a safe space to hang out, meet new people, and receive support. As an intern, I mainly worked with their education sector. Among others, I helped middle school students with their schoolwork in French and English, I ran the center’s English Workshop (English homework help and a fun activity to help middle school students work on their language skills), and I started an informal English homework help/conversation group for high school students. In addition to learning about different aspects of French culture and education, I gained insight into my identity as an American, and I became more confident in my ability to lead others in French. It definitely helped that the staff members were so supportive and welcoming, always telling me to feel right at home. Ultimately, the internship was an excellent way to cap off my year in France, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone interested in learning about the culture in a really practical way.
Kristen Meredith (Middlebury College)
Aquitaine Wine Company
This semester I interned at the Aquitaine Wine Company, a négociant company based in Bordeaux which specializes in selling wines from Bordeaux and the South of France in the United States. I got to experience the day to day of working at a wine company and work on many different projects, including translating informational sheets about different suppliers’ wines, communicating with different chateaux, helping with all of the preparations for wine shipments to the U.S., and contributing to the submission of several suppliers’ wines to be reviewed by Wine Spectator. My internship greatly helped me improve me French: speaking on the phone to clients, speaking with my coworkers, and listening to everything that went on in the office were all very helpful to my speaking and comprehension skills. It was also a great opportunity to gain interesting work experience and develop wonderful relationships with my coworkers. I would strongly encourage any student to consider completing an internship during their time abroad!
Alex Saunders (Middlebury College)
This semester I interned for eight weeks at the “Centre Animation Jeunesse” (CAJ), in Talence, which is just outside of Bordeaux. The CAJ is an organization where youths between the ages of 10 and 17 can go after school and during vacations to relax, socialize, and participate in numerous activities. At the CAJ I helped with English homework, hosted several “American” cooking classes, and had the opportunity to go surfing each week—just to name a few of the things I did! During my internship, I felt that I was really able to integrate into the organization; it allowed me to improve my French and also offered me valuable cultural experiences I would have never had elsewhere. Interning at the CAJ was the best decision that I made during my semester in Bordeaux; it was an incredible experience and I was able to form great relationships which I hope will last a lifetime!
Emily Slatter (Middlebury College)
During my second semester in Bordeaux, I began working as an intern at a Red Cross-Nestlé center for young mothers in need called L’Espace Bébé-Maman. I was working with a team of 10 other women, all volunteers from a variety of backgrounds. The environment was very informal, and I often spent time with my co-workers outside of the center. I had the chance to work in the Boutique section of the center, helping the beneficiaries choose clothing, food and other products. With both my co-workers and the women coming to the center, I had the chance to discuss French society, poverty and social programs. My French improved dramatically through these interactions. This internship was one of the most rewarding parts of my time in France.
Cherish Molezion (Scripps College)
Cabinet Castellane Avocats
For my internship this fall, I worked with Béatrice Castellane at Cabinet Castellane Avocats, a law office based in Paris. Madame Castellane is an international lawyer (specializing in business law, employment law, and real estate law) as well as an arbitrator. Madame Castellane is the sole partner of the office, and I was fortunate enough to work with her one on one. She was very welcoming and supportive of me, as she knew that I wanted to learn. As an intern, I worked on activities with Madame Castellane, such as reading, critiquing, and analyzing cases as well as writing various documents such as letters, summonses, and other correspondence. Despite that I was not a law student, Madame Castellane respected me and entrusted me with serious tasks, and I gained significant experience in the sector of international law–an opportunity I wouldn’t have otherwise had. I was able to make an impact in the office, and see how the various cases develop over time. I have a solid idea of international law at this point, from a hands-on approach, and I am confident that I want to pursue a career in this sector. My French improved greatly from all of our interactions; since we worked in both English and French, I have a better grasp of legal vocabulary as well. I would highly recommend doing an internship – it was a very positive experience, and by far one of the highlights of my semester abroad.
Shubha Ganesan (Middlebury College)
Robin des Bois
During my fall semester in Paris, I interned for Robin Des Bois, an environmental NGO in the Belleville area. RDB does a number of activities (including working with the French Minister of Ecology and selling organic products) but mainly focuses on research, specifically on animal trafficking, nuclear waste, ship-breaking, and pollution. The staff was small (~6 people), but they were all incredibly welcoming, warm and friendly – I shared a desk with my boss, and she and the other staff were always there to answer my questions and give me advice. They made sure to make me feel included in all aspects of office life, which I really appreciated. The work itself, as a previous intern mentioned, was very translation-heavy, which ended up getting a bit monotonous after a few weeks. I eventually asked my internship director if I could help her with other subjects that were of more interest to me (namely, cartography) – though there wasn’t much for me to do in that area, they did give me some more diverse projects to work on after that. Though I realized that my interests are somewhat different from those of Robin des Bois–their research topics skew more towards the “ecological” than “environmental,” and they don’t do much work on issues related to climate change – I learned a lot about other subjects that I hadn’t known before, and left feeling like I gained a lot. It was definitely a great experience, and I feel like I really improved my French and learned more about working at NGO environment, especially one that deals with international issues.
Hannah Beinecke (Bates College)
Delegation of Palau at UNESCO
I'm working for the delegation of Palau at UNESCO and Palau is a small island country in the western Pacific just east of the Phillipines. The country has a population of about 20,000 people and the state controls more ocean than it does land. It's an interesting country because they're working to make their entire national oceans into a marine sanctuary and they've made some really strict environmental policies that other countries have tried to emulate. It was really cool because for the celebration of the world oceans day on June 8th the President of Palau came to visit and I got to work with him and his delegation including a UN representative negotiating for climate change. With them I got to go to a conference at the senate here in Paris and meet the special envoy to President Hollande and different senators and ambassadors!
Emmet Shipway (Bates College)
This semester I interned for eight weeks with a sports marketing company called Youfoot in Paris. The company mainly deals with soccer and is based on the idea of Youtube – a user-dependent website to generate as much data as possible for anyone connected to the world of soccer. Most of my internship consisted of entering data into the Youfoot system: updating scores, creating teams, updating player profiles, updating championships and tournaments, etc. Youfoot also creates mobile applications for soccer clubs to centralize all of the consumption of their club (scores, ticket office, contact information, player profiles, etc.). I had the opportunity to create a presentation which aimed at convincing national soccer federations to let Youfoot sell their applications to soccer clubs in their country. Youfoot actually uses a version of this presentation for this purpose. To be a small part of this process of developing soccer around the world was a very gratifying and unique experience and is definitely a highlight of my semester abroad.
Joanna Marks (Connecticut College)
Le Centre Popincourt
This semester, I was an intern at Le Centre Popincourt, a suicide prevention center in Paris that uses both conventional and alternative methods in order to help those at risk of suicide and those recovering from the aftermath of a suicide attempt. There are psychologists and psychiatrists employed by the organisation, but also a large focus is on art therapy and alternative types of treatment. As an intern, I sat in on sessions with patients, helped with research, and helped out at art therapy sessions. This internship was one of the best aspects of my study abroad experience. My level of French skyrocketed because I was forced to interact on a professional level in French for two full days each week. In addition, I was able to sit in on sessions with patients. This direct clinical contact would not be possible for an undergraduate in the States, so I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have done this, as I learned a lot about the clinical aspect of psychology. I would strongly recommend doing an internship. It provides a nice balance to your coursework, and is a vision of another aspect of French Culture to which you wouldn't otherwise have access.
Natalie Barbaresi (Pomona College)
Planète des Enfants
This semester, I had the opportunity to intern at Planète Enfants, a French NGO that fights against child trafficking and women and children's sexual exploitation in Nepal. Even though the majority of the personnel work in Nepal to oversee its many programs, a small team works here in Paris to promote and expand the NGO's image and reputation in France and Europe and to secure funds and donations to finance its programs abroad. Given that the majority of its transactions, appeals, and publications are written in English, translating from French to English represented the core of my work for Planète Enfants. Nonetheless, I was able to improve my French writing and oral skills by writing a research report for the organization on early childhood development in the Third World and socializing with the staff during our lunch and (many) coffee breaks. In all, I felt that I was able to completely integrate myself into this NGO, improve my French with the staff, and produce work that was respected and useful for Planète Enfants, all of which contributed to a positive internship experience that represented a highlight during my semester abroad.
Andrea Penman-Lomeli (Middlebury College)
During my spring semester, I was given the opportunity to intern at the Mexican Embassy in Paris where I worked in the Bureau du Ministre-Conseiller. While I was there, the office was preparing for the visit of the Mexican President to Paris- the first of his presidency. These preparations involved planning events, creating documents, and composing and cataloging the main library - where all formal meetings take place. In addition to these preparations, I wrote letters, worked on the embassy's archive and organized the library's database. Interning at the embassy also afforded me the opportunity to meet Mexican diplomats and government officials. Due to the multicultural nature of the work environment, it was necessary that I felt comfortable switching between communicating in French and Spanish. In addition to exposure to the French professional environment, the internship granted me an intimate look into Mexican-French diplomatic relations.
Aviva Shwayder (Middlebury College)
Maison des Journalistes
I interned at the La Maison des Journalistes (MDJ), a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting journalists who have fled their countries (such as Syria, Iran, Rwanda, Tunisia, Cuba) who are now political refugees in France. The MDJ not only provides these journalists temporary housing, but the staff also helps them apply for political asylum, teaches them French, and find employment so that they can integrate into their new community. The journalists are able to continue to pursue their work in the name of freedom of the press by writing for the MDJ’s online publication “L’oeil de l’exilé.” The MDJ also organizes outreach to secondary schools and universities throughout France, explaining the importance of freedom of speech, the press, and human rights. Aviva worked in the communications department, where she translated documents, designed promotional material, and assisted with weekly events with the journalists.
For more information on the organization and its activities, please see their website : http://www.maisondesjournalistes.org/.
Sarah Brooks (Boston University)
L'Espace Pierre Cardin and Artistik Rezo
During my second semester in Paris, I interned at L’Espace Pierre Cardin and Artistik Rezo. L’Espace Pierre Cardin is a cultural center at place de la Concorde that hosts a diverse selection of plays, art exhibitions and private events. Artistik Rezo is a cultural events website that was created by the director of the EPC in 1998. The website publicizes different museums, galleries and performances and aims to encourage more Parisians to get out and experience the culture offered in the city. As an intern, my main task was to research and write descriptions of these exhibits and shows for Artistik Rezo. This daily exercise was a really great way for me to improve my french writing as well as to learn more about all that Paris has to offer apart from well-known museums and theaters. I was also fortunate enough to have free access to multiple exhibit openings, concerts and plays — it was truly incredible how much I was able to see and learn during my time as an intern. The office environment was very casual and friendly and I learned so much about the internal aspects of both of these companies. Interning in Paris was a truly special opportunity that added a certain depth and uniqueness to my experience here; I would definitely recommend that other students partake in the program to enrich their time abroad.
Jivika Rajani (Pomona College)
I interned with Forecast Pictures – an independent production company specialising in international co-productions. This internship has definitely been the highlight of my experience abroad. I was able to get a real behind the scenes view into the business of film because I was sitting in the same room as the producers / my supervisors. I wrote coverage for and recommended/rejected scripts in both English and French, redesigned the company website, translated the pitch document for an animated feature film in development, analysed and summarised industry talent/marketing/music contracts, did various research tasks to provide leads on future marketing opportunities, and shadowed meetings with other producers/directors/screenwriters. All in all, my internship was a great learning experience and my supervisors were very supportive and happy to answer any questions I had. I am confident that the skills / knowledge I gained can be easily transferred to entertainment-related opportunities in the US since Forecast concentrates on producing mostly English language films (although all at-work interaction takes place in French). Check out their new film Race when it hits theaters in April 2016!
Sonia Marton (Pomona College)
During my semester in Paris, I had the chance to do an internship with the French feminist network, Ruptures. In my work for Ruptures, I attended conferences with different feminist groups all over Paris regarding issues ranging from how France will represent itself at UN Conferences to how to best integrate female African immigrant entrepreneurs into established feminist entrepreneur networks in Paris. I also translated documents from English to French and help my supervisors compile their bimonthly newsletter. Overall, it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life--personally, professionally and intellectually.
Jialong Wu (Middlebury College)
BnbSitter is an innovative start-up company founded in 2013 that allows hosts of Airbnb and other short-term apartment rental sites to welcome their guests with the help of independent caretakers, or “Bnb Sitters”. On our website, the hosts may book services of Check-in (arrival of the guest and key drop-off), Check-out (departure of the guest and key pick-up) and housekeeping according to the availabilities of the Bnb Sitters, while the latter may choose their own working hours and places to cover. At BnbSitter, I not only worked on the translation of the website, the Bnb Sitter guidelines, the contract, and the recruiting advertisements from French to English but also the market research of London where our services will be expanded. It was a very enriching experience because I’ve always been interested in the business sector of collaborative consumption and sharing economy. Through my internship, I learnt a lot about the daily operations as well as the future perspectives of e-commerce companies such as BnbSitter. Thanks to BnbSitter, I had a more precise idea of the internet industry and of what I want as a career in the future.
Alexis Cheney (Connecticut College)
During my spring semester abroad in Paris, I interned at La Fondation Scelles – CRIDES. This non-profit organization’s main goal is to fight against commercial sexual exploitation in France and the rest of the world through raising public awareness. The organization publishes newsletters, pamphlets, and books on commercial sexual exploitation and organizes informational conferences. During my internship, I translated an in-depth brochure about the organization into English that the organization handed out at an international conference in New York City and will use at various other conferences. I also wrote a thematic chapter of the world report on prostitution that will be published in December 2015. For the chapter, I researched the consequences of regulating prostitution by conducting case studies of three countries where prostitution is legal and regulated. I enjoyed going to the tranquil workspace on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the opportunity to make connections with the organization’s staff members, interns, and volunteers. Although the internship was a large time commitment, from 8:45 am to 5:30 pm two days per week, the experience improved my French language abilities and provided a nice balance to my coursework.
Georgia Wei (Middlebury College)
European Society of Authors
I had the chance to spend 8 weeks of my second semester in Paris interning with the European Society of Authors (la Société européene des auteurs) , an organization consecrated to the promotion of literary translation. I was delighted to be paired with the ESA because I am interested in working in the publishing field, and this was a wonderful way to supplement my past experience. My responsibilities were mostly related to Finnegan’s List, a project that is published each year. Finnegan’s List brings together 10 authors from around the world and asks them to recommend three under-translated books that need to be brought to the public’s attention. The goal of this list is to raise public awareness but also to convince publishing houses across Europe to offer more translations in their oeuvre. In order to help achieve this goal, I researched publishing houses that seemed like good fits for the project, especially in the United States, and helped brainstorm possibilities for 2016’s list. The office was quite intimate, which really allowed me to get to know my boss, with whom I had a great relation. This internship was an invaluable experience that truly complimented my year abroad and exposed me to a host of wonderful authors that I would have never known about otherwise.
Wanning Seah (Middlebury College)
Enfants&Développement is a French NGO that intervenes in developing countries such as Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia and Burkina Faso in the sectors of health, education et social development. I happened to join the organisation at a time when they needed someone to write the final report of one of their 5 year-long projects that had just concluded, so right from the start my internship experience was quite different from what I had expected in terms of the work I thought I would be doing. Instead of taking on different tasks, having regular work-related exchanges and being exposed to different areas of their work, I spent the duration of the internship working on this one report which turned out to be fairly time-consuming. However, it soon became clear that it was also a unique opportunity to get a good first-hand understanding of what NGOs do in terms of the kinds of projects/interventions that they carry out, and what those projects actually consist of. My day to day work involved reading up on the initial contract of the project, consulting the yearly reports and analysis of the outcomes of the action in the different countries, communicating with the people-in-charge on the field, and writing the report itself that fundamentally accounts for its action over the past 5 years -- all of which eventually gave me a good picture of the work of NGOs in the international development sector, what some of their objectives are and what kind of action they undertake to attain those objectives. All in all, it was quite challenging and pretty a heavy time commitment, but nevertheless a positive and valuable internship experience.
Kayla Lemus (Scripps College)
Libraries without Borders
During the Fall Semester 2014 in Paris, I worked for the NGO Bibliothèques Sans Frontières (BSF), otherwise known as Libraries Without Borders (LWB). This organization was created in 2007 by the historian Patrick Weil and has developed projects in over 20 countries. This organization promotes access to information and culture through the creation of libraries and cultural centers, as well as training librarians and creating projects both nationally and internationally. Their latest project is the Ideas Box, an education, information and culture/humanitarian response device that has been deployed to refugee camps in Burundi and will be deployed to Jordan in the new year. In addition, they have translated various learning platforms, such as the Khan Academy, from English to French, thus allowing Francophone countries access to free math lessons. They are also working with Codecademy, another learning platform which provides free, interactive lessons on how to program. As an intern I primarily worked in communications, translating articles from French to English which would be published on the Ideas Box blog, Facebook, Twitter, and the organization’s website, in both the English and French versions of each site. In addition, I translated articles for Codecademy, emails, and budget reports. I also had to constantly update the site and post things weekly on Facebook and Twitter, ranging from articles to library-related news that demonstrated the organisation’s mission. Working for BSF allowed me to develop my French language skills, learn a bit of coding, translation, and social media work. More importantly it allowed me to experience what it was like to work in a professional environment in France. All members of the team were extremely welcoming, friendly, and helpful and I developed great relationships with everyone there. I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone looking for a warm, friendly, and open environment to acquire new vocabulary related to NGOs, improve your French language and translation skills, and overall experience working for a French NGO. Although previous translation experience from French to English is not required, I would definitely recommend practicing and studying translation before starting your NGO to feel more at ease the first couple of weeks.
Aissatou Gaye (Middlebury College)
Pôle de Competitivité Finance Innovation
During my fall semester in Paris, I interned for 8 weeks with the “Pôle de Competitivité Finance Innovation”, a competitive cluster dedicated to reinforce French competitiveness by leading concrete actions to facilitate the creation and development of innovative projects in the financial sector on relevant social, economic and environmental issues. It does so by offering consulting services to start-ups and linking them to potential investors, testing and spreading innovative financing tools and hosting think-tanks bringing together relevant actors of the financial sector in France. During my internship, I closely work with a consultant of the Pôle in a commercial prospection project. My tasks consisted in building up a list of large companies that will be interested in our service offerings, finding the contacts of the relevant people in those companies, doing research on innovative projects undertaken by those companies and use those as a basis to write emails to and/or call the relevant people in those companies to expand on the benefits of joining our network and to propose a meeting between them and our management team for further information on a collaboration with us. Working in this project really helped me improve my communication skills! I learnt so much about convincing communication tools that will be of great use in my future career path. I also got the chance to work with people from different continents and it was just a great experience to learn more about French culture but also Chinese Peruvian and Ecuadorian culture, all in the same place!
Asher Talerman (Middlebury College)
Robin des Bois
When I arrived in Paris, I was paired with Robin des Bois, an NGO that publishes reports on diverse environmental issues like animal trafficking and the destruction of cargo ships at the end of their life. I was initially paired with Hop-Cube, a consulting company that specializes in designing solutions to enterprises trying to frame and advertise their environmentally friendly aspects, but at the end of my interview we realized that Hop-Cube thought the position advertised was for a full-time job! With that not working out, I dove into the experience with Robin des Bois, although pretty soon I realized that the daily work was not quite that exciting. Doing translations was interesting, for sure, but certainly got tiresome. Towards the end I proposed other projects I might do for them that took advantage of my “Anglophone” qualities, like revising the English version of their website pages. I really enjoyed getting to know everyone in the office and how the NGO functions. It was a good opportunity to practice my French in a different context and have different types of conversations and my vocabulary improved as such despite the fact that 16 hours a week in the office and a research project at the end proved to be a lot of work. For the eight weeks the internship lasts, time will be crunched, but having the days off in the beginning and end of the semester was very nice and certainly helped with the huge workload at the end of the year.
Caroline Moynihan (Middlebury College)
This past semester, I interned at Pixopolitan, a French start-up company that sells fine art photography of different cities, neighborhoods and towns around the world. For my internship, I was primarily in charge of translation, which meant that I translated the website, client letters and some interviews with photographers. I really enjoyed my internship at Pixopolitan; it was very interesting to see the differences between a French and an American company. And of course, my French really improved because of it, which was great!
Ali Haas (Middlebury College)
Parisianist is a small startup founded in 2014 that works in tourism. Parisianist is a website that functions as a guide to the city of Paris, focusing on a personnalisation of information and content coming from real parisians who know the city well. Moreover, Parisianist is in the process of developing an app for smartphones. The office is located in the 6th arrondissement in an incubator that houses 10-15 other startups who also work in tourism. Being a startup, Parisianist is currently composed of 10 employees/interns, 3 of whom are the founders of the company. Interning at Parisianist offers the opportunity to work intimately alongside the founders in a dynamic environment that characterizes the incubator. My principal role as an intern was "translator" of articles from French to English. I also edited articles that had already been written or translated into English. There are many who would describe the task of translating quite banal, but I found it useful for improving my French and for getting to know Paris, given that the articles are written about restaurants, hotels, bars, museums, monuments, and goings-on in the city. Plus, the results are the work are very tangible and the payoff is nearly immediate since the translations are published on the website. As an intern you may also have the opportunity to attend expos and other activities alongside the Parisianist team. The staff, composed mostly of young people, is very welcoming, funny, and open to engage you in conversation. You will feel immediately part of the team. That said, I would not recommend this internship for someone who is very shy.
Shelby Redfield (Middlebury College)
Immunochemistry Laboratory of l’Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière
This semester, I was an intern in the immunochemistry laboratory at one of the largest hospitals in Europe. The lab was divided into two primary sections, one that studied monoclonal gammopathies and another that diagnosed autoimmune disorders. During my internship, I mostly observed the activities of each lab and learned about the techniques and equipment used by the lab technicians and doctors. I also participated in the analysis of medicals exams, such as electrophoresis, immunfixation, immunodot, and ELISA test results. Everyone in the laboratory was extremely welcoming, helpful, and open to chatting about the French health care system, medical research, laboratory equipment, etc. I really enjoyed my time here, and the skills, both linguistic and scientific, that I built during this internship are invaluable!
Leah Stavenhagen (University of Michigan)
Iinterned at Pixopolitan, a recent French start-up specializing in the sale of urban fine art photography. I performed various tasks during my internship, ranging from researching and contacting photographers from around the world, to managing Pixopolitan’s social media presence and adding subtitles to videos. Being part of the Pixopolitan team permitted the opportunity to join the French working culture and I enjoyed the experience so much that I'm staying on in June to do volunteer work for the company.
Joseph Leavenworth Bakali (Middlebury College)
During my spring semester in Paris, I interned at Peuples Solidaires, a French NGO committed to helping those struggling for their rights in developing countries around the world. It was my first time working for a NGO, and it proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging experience. My assignments mainly involved translating documents between English and French, although I was also given the objective of compiling the internal press review for the previous year. I felt that I was able to contribute in a significant manner to the work of the organization, and in addition, the staff were all extremely welcoming and were eager to make my time at the organization an interesting and memorable one. In addition, this internship provided me with an excellent opportunity to practice my French in a non-academic setting and to develop a professional vocabulary that could prove very useful in the future.
Jose Castaneda (Middlebury College)
I had an interesting internship experience with Reworld Media, a boutique publication and creative agency start up based in Boulogne-Billancourt which allowed me to reflect more upon the various forces that have shaped and are shaping the perception and reality of French SMEs.
Julie Shrieve (Pomona College)
During my semester in Paris, I chose to take part in an internship at Galerie Maeght. I feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity because this gallery is very prestigious and rich in history. The gallery consists of a room for the ongoing exhibit and a library where all the lithographs and books are sold. Mostly, I spoke to clients to help them find what they needed, framed certain purchases, and sometimes organized books that had been taken off the shelf throughout the day. The environment was very warm and I liked everyone that I worked with. I improved my French and learned firsthand what it is like to work in a small, private gallery. At the end of my stage, I was even given a lithograph as a gift! Overall, I am very happy with my experience.
Graham Bishop (Pomona College)
While I was in Paris, I completed an 8-week internship with Galerie Area, a contemporary art gallery in the 10th arrondissement. In addition to presenting expositions of local and international artists, Area doubles as a publishing house by printing books, most notably its trimestral revue in which experts affiliated with the art world discuss subjects of intellectual debate. As an English major, I have long had an interest in the publishing industry, and an internship with Area also seemed like an ideal way to explore an interest in visual art that I hadn’t yet acted on in a work environment. For the first two weeks of my internship, I wrote interpretative French-language descriptions of drawings done by Polish artist Franciszek Starowieyski, who served as the subject for an exposition by Area this April. For the rest of my time, I conducted ethnographic research that would benefit Area in its publication of a book on Native American art. This included investigating the origins of Native American artifacts and writing summaries on the purposes of specific tribal customs and objects. Throughout the eight weeks, I also completed several assignments in translation, converting French texts into English and vice versa. I very much enjoyed getting the chance to explore multiple interests of mine in a foreign work environment. The internship was also a unique opportunity to meet artists and critics from the Parisian area. At the same time, however, the internship occupied a significant portion of my schedule, and I would only recommend it to students who are comfortable having limited free time.
Meghan Wallner (Pomona College)
l'Institut Hospitalier Franco-Britannique
During my time in Paris, I participated in an internship at l'Institut Hospitalier Franco-Britannique, a hospital in Levallois-Perret. Through shadowing interns and physicians at the hospital, I was simultaneously able to learn the science behind the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, which interests me as a pre-medical student, and the differences between the healthcare systems in the United States and France. My internship also provided me with the opportunity to immerse myself in a French-speaking workplace. I feel that this diverse exposure to the medical field in an international setting will be an asset to me as I work towards becoming a physician.
Antonela Miho (Pomona College)
Agir tous pour la dignité
During my spring semester abroad in Paris, I had the opportunity to do an internship with a non-governmental organization called ATD (Agir tous pour la dignité)—Fourth World. The organization’s main goal is the eradication of extreme poverty through a rights-based, collaborative approach which focuses on supporting families and individuals through a grass-roots presence and involvement in disadvantaged communities. An international organization, they engage with various individuals, institutions, and most importantly, in partnership with people in precarious situations, to create awareness of extreme poverty and influence policies which address it. Throughout my time there, I facilitated the planning and running of a workshop aimed at youth mobilization efforts among the poorest across Europe, built up social media presence of Djynamo Jeunesse project to highlight the organization’s work and facilitate productive exchange between its actors, archived primary documents, and translated text and videos from French to English. Overall, the internship experience with ATD Quart Monde was extremely rewarding and contributed to my personal, professional and language development.
Natalie Dennis (Pomona College)
L'Atelier Lytfa Kujowski
L'Atelier Lytfa Kujowski (l'ALK) is a workshop to develop creativity. During the classes, one can paint, draw, and engage in improvisational theater. The classes are separated by age groups, and the intern works principally with the children and adolescents. Each student works for him or herself, and Lytfa does not give formal courses in any medium. Each student is allowed to freely use the materials as well as the library full of books on artists and various subjects. As an intern, you help prepare the art materials before class and supervise and engage with the children throughout the 3-hour session.
George Price (Pomona College)
During my semester in Paris, I interned at a small company whose goal is to improve the online reputation of its clients. I spent a lot of time writing articles about current events and maintaining the entreprise’s accounts on social media. I also helped compile monthly reports and wrote some Java code to pull resources from the internet. It was an extremely enriching experience largely because I got to know the people who worked at the company, all of whom were very welcoming. Going to work three days a week allowed me to discover a different side of life in Paris which would have been invisible to me otherwise. It also allowed me to develop a specific professional vocabulary in French.
Greta Olivares (Middlebury College)
Fondation Scelles - CRIDES
During my spring semester abroad in Paris I was able to do an internship at Fondation Scelles-CRIDES. This foundation’s main goal is to fight against commercial sexual exploitation in France and the rest of the world. Every year the foundation publishes a world report on sexual exploitation, which includes country profiles related to sexual exploitation and prostitution as well as chapters on subjects related to sexual exploitation. During the first few weeks as an intern my job was to help in translating the latest book from French into English. Afterwards, I translated their website as well as other important documents for the foundation into English and Spanish. During my last few weeks I conducted research on prostitution in Mexico and wrote a summary of my findings do that it will serve as an aid for the author of next year’s country profile on Mexico for the world report. Other work consisted of administrative work to help with the distribution of the latest world report in the United States. This was a great opportunity that gave me an inside look into the French professional life and added a lot to my study abroad experience.
Rafael Manyari (Middlebury College)
During my spring semester in Paris, I did an 8-week internship at UNESCO. I worked with the Delegation of the Republic Palau, which is an island-state located in the Pacific Ocean. The UN declared 2014 the year of the Small Islands on Development (SIDS) since these nations’ cultures, economies and existence are threatened by climate change. I worked closely with the Deputy Delegate and I was able to attend meetings of the Executive Board during my training. I practiced formal French when attending meetings or communicating with several other delegations and ambassadors at UNESCO’s headquarters. As part of my job, I created an official country profile for Palau, which included information on the country’s ocean policy, culture, history, economy, tourism and the arts. I also created a mock project for the official website of the Delegation and launched its Facebook page to diffuse information about their work at UNESCO. Other projects involved translation of documents from French to English as well as some office work to help the Delegation prepare conference materials.
Victoria Marambio (Middlebury College)
European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM)
My internship gave me the opportunity to practice French in a real-life, professional context. By talking and working with my colleagues, I became more confident not only in my interactions with the French, but in my use of the language. When I return to Chile after graduating Middlebury, I hope to use French by either by working with an international company or by working in Linguistic Psychology. For the moment, all options are on the table!
Elizabeth McElvein (Scripps College)
Institut de relations internationales et stratégiques
I interned at l’Institut de relations internationales et stratégiques, a strategic defense think tank in Paris. It was an excellent opportunity to apply and to enrich my language skills in a professional context. I translated English documents into French and revised English policy briefs written by francophone researchers. I developed a new appreciation for the complexity and nuance of bilingual communication, as well as a familiarity with European politics that will serve me well in my academic and professional future. I feel that I made a tangible contribution to the IRIS team, and would be very interested to pursue work in a think-tank after graduation.
Hannah Ostrow (Middlebury College)
Musée en Herbe
I interned at the Musée en Herbe, an art museum for children in the 1st arrondissement. Primarily catering to kids ages 3 through 12, the museum puts up temporary exhibitions featuring original works from major (primarily 20th-century) artists. They welcome mostly school groups and families who come in for guided tours, as well as accompanying visual arts workshops. During my time at the museum, I gave tours to English-speaking families who came in, monitored galleries and explained works and accompanying games, assisted in and helped design curriculum for visual arts workshops, and translated contracts, professional correspondences and press materials from French to English. The people who work there are all really great, super nice and welcoming and helpful, and interning was a great insight into French professional life that I would definitely recommend to anyone considering living in Paris post-grad.
Olivia Hipkins (Middlebury College)
I was fortunate enough to be placed in an internship with a French NGO called Prométhée Humanitaire, who puts on biannual sales in order to fund their humanitarian actions with street children in Haiti, Vietnam, Madagascar and Senegal. I'd never worked in a NGO before, so it was a really interesting experience seeing how one worked. I was working with really lovely French people, who we're just genuinely nice people; it was a great view into a piece of French society I probably would have never seen. I also worked almost completely in French, with the exception of translation work and when I was researching American foundations. Overall, it was a great experience, and not only did my French improve, but my confidence speaking it improved as well.
Brianna Morse (Middlebury College)
NGO Robin des Bois
This semseter I did an eight week internship at the environmental NGO Robin des Bois. It was amazing to have the chance to have an internship in a foreign country, and even more so one that fit so perfectly with my interests and studies as a political science and French major. Even though it was a lot of work, participating in an internship kept my schedule moving and helped me stay even more organized throughout the semester: from doing my work from other classes to exploring Paris. It was definitley a rewarding experience.
French website: http://www.robindesbois.org/
English website: http://www.robindesbois.org/english/robin_english.html
Alena Shish (Middlebury College)
JCh Moreau Consultants
In the Spring of 2013, I worked at JCh Moreau Consultants. JCh Moreau Consultants is a small financial consulting firm in Paris. This internship focused mainly on translation. Jean-Christophe Moreau, the head of the company, had written a book about crisis communication in French and was looking for an intern to translate it from French to English. I spent the first six weeks of the internship focusing on translating, revising, and researching case studies to include in the American version of the book. I also researched photos, videos, and documents for publicity Mr. Moreau was doing for clients. The only person working for the firm was Mr. Moreau, so I got to talk to him a lot about different aspects of the work he does. I really enjoyed my time at JCh Moreau Consultants because I was able to pursue something that interested me in a professional setting. It added a lot of my study-abroad experience gave me a chance to experience the French professional environment.
Claudia Crook (Pomona College)
During the months of February and March, I worked as an intern for ÉCU the European Independent Film Festival, which takes place in Paris at the end of March each year. ÉCU is run entirely by interns so there is a lot of opportunity for real responsibility in addition to the normal intern-type tasks. For example, I often translate social media messages into French or went to the post office to mail documents, but I was also in charge of managing the festival’s Much More than a Script competition, and my input was a major contributing factor to the winners of that competition. This job requires a lot of extra hours for video shoots, festival weekend, and various festival-related parties and events, but if you’re really interested in working in entertainment, you’ll want to be there during those extra hours anyway. This internship was probably the defining feature of my time in Paris, not only because of the professional value of the lessons I learned in the office and at the festival, but also because most of the friends that I made in Paris were fellow interns.
Hannah Markell (Washington University)
Centre Francoise Grémy
I worked at the Centre Francoise Grémy (http://www.elan-retrouve.fr/centre-francoise-gremy.php), a day hospital for adolescents with autism, pervasive developmental disorder or other severe behavioral problems. The center is at the forefront of the field and works especially to help adolescents who were not successfully treated/cared for elsewhere. The ultimate goal is to reintegrate the adolescents into society and the team uses a variety of activities and tools (dance lessons, weekend retreats, regular psychological evaluations, setting up internships) to help this process. As an intern I primarily observed activities and participated when appropriate. I also had the opportunity to observe a psychological evaluation, attend weekly staff meetings, and meet with head psychiatrists to learn about the diagnostic and treatment processes. This internship definitely added a practical dimension to my experience abroad and my study of psychology in the French system.
Claire Laubacher (Pomona College)
My internship at the Popincourt Center was a very important part of my academic and cultural experience in Paris. The organization is involved in both clinical and political activities to prevent suicide and isolation. It is both a CMP (Medical-Psychological Center tied to the national healthcare system) and a Centre de Recherche et Rencontres (an association founded to prevent suicide by promoting social ties.) As an intern, I observed patient’s appointments with the psychiatrist and the social worker, intake interviews, and art therapy sessions. These kinds of observations are almost impossible to do as an undergraduate in the US. I also attended the conference for the National Day of Suicide Prevention and other interesting community outreach activities.
Jaewon Oh (Middlebury College)
European Grassroots Antiracist Movement
During my second semester abroad in Paris, I interned with a small NGO, EGAM (European Grassroots Antiracist Movement), an offshoot of the larger and better-known French antiracist NGO, SOS Racisme. Being that this NGO is small and relatively new (created in 2010), I had the chance to perform a lot of interesting and varied tasks. On a day-to-day basis, I was in charge of preparations for a newsletter that EGAM will send out to political leaders at the European level (for example, in the European Parliament, the Commission, and the Council of Europe), which involved finding contact information for these politicians and studying and comparing existing newsletters of similar types and by member organizations of EGAM. However, I also got to do different things as the occasion required--booking a conference room in Norway, for instance, and calling French newspapers to find contact information. As an International Studies major (Political Science/French/Europe), this was an interesting internship, especially because I got to discuss lots of politics with coworkers during the electoral spring! Although this is probably not the kind of work I envision doing long-term, and it's true that an internship does take up a fair bit of time, I had a great experience and developed wonderful relationships with my coworkers and fellow interns, so I personally think it was quite worthwhile.
Shannon Muscatello (Middlebury College)
Solidarité Roquette (social and cultural center)
During my time in Paris, I decided that I wanted to do an internship to have a professional experience and something different from just going to classes. Being a French/psych double major and an education minor, I had a lot of ideas of what I wanted to do, but ultimately decided on something in the education sector with kids. At Solidarité Roquette, I got to work with kids of all different ages. Some days I would play and sing with the 1-3 year olds. Other days, I would learn and dance hip hop with the 10-17 year olds, and still other days I would help the older students with their homework in primarily math, French, and English. My main task was to bring the American culture to the kids to let them see another life style. We made pancakes, french toast, cupcakes, all things that they had never had before and had only learned about in class. Another part of my daily work included one of the main missions of the center: developing autonomy in the kids. This was not something you just sit down and teach, but rather a part of everything that we did. Doing this internship was one of the best experiences I had in Paris. I got to have a completely different perspective on Paris than the other students; I had a second life with these kids. I created fantastic relationships that I hope not to lose so that I can always see these amazing people again when I return to France.
Tiffany Xu (University of California Berkeley)
My internship was at a contemporary art gallery in the Marais district, and was one of the most rewarding experiences that I did during my time here. While it was a small enterprise and on a daily basis I talked only with my “maître de stage,” who was the gallery owner, it allowed me to learn a lot about the art world and interact with artists, collectors, and other members in the Paris art scene. The tasks I performed ranged from writing emails in French and English, formatting and writing artist files, and talking to visitors during gallery openings. As someone who is exploring potential career and future study directions, I found the internship very valuable. Another thing I would add is that doing an internship is a great supplement to academic work because it allows you to learn vocabulary used in a professional setting and is exposure to the culture of the French workplace. Although I was here for the year, I did my internship during my first semester and I would say that it was challenging but still worthwhile and not too overwhelming to take on even if I was here for only a semester. However, it did take up a large chunk of my time and was a considerable commitment.
Santiago Zindel Mundet Cruz (Middlebury College)
La Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes
During my semester in Paris I interned at the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes which is a zoo located in the Jardin des Plantes, the park where one con also find the National Museum of Natural History, right in the center of Paris (5th arrondissement). During my time there I was supervised by one of the veterinarians there and was assigned two main projects: 1. To create a list of all possible reptile candidates for the animal collection (I had to look individually at all the reptiles in captivity in the world and add those that met the zoo’s criteria to my list) and 2. I did an observational study of the Patagonian cavy, a large rodent from Argentina, with the goal of proposing one or two pairs that the zoo should keep since they wanted to reduce their population sample. The internship itself did not teach me much about French culture because I worked by myself except for when I had specific questions. I did, however, become a lot more self-sufficient and got to design and perform my own study, which is valuable experience for the future. I would recommend doing an internship while abroad because it is an opportunity that might never again come up and even though it did take a lot of time, I gained valuable experience and showed me a different side of living abroad other than simply going to school.
Salma Berrada (Bowdoin College)
Winter months 2011
I have always been fascinated by the publishing industry so as soon as I got to Paris, I sent out résumés to a myriad of publishing companies in the capital. And the only one that replied also offered me an interview and ultimately an internship. It was neither Gallimard nor Grasset but a small company by the name of Allia founded by a Dadaist in the mid-20th century. The small-scale structure actually enabled me to explore my interests in the field far more than what could have been possible at a larger company. From the reception of a manuscript to the layout of the book cover, I realized that there were multiple steps in the creation of the final product that we find in the bookstores. Although I came in wanting to be part of the manuscript readers division, it was interesting to discover the other facets of this realm of books such as participating in book-fairs and promoting new books on the radio and in literary magazines... There was never a typical day at work! What I certainly enjoyed the most was reviewing the translations from English to French of collections of poems before the final version was selected. Moreover, when I met with the translators to discuss certain details of their work, I was surprised that they actually took into consideration my assessment in their following version! Although I know now that working at a publishing company is not exactly how I conceive of my dream job, this opportunity was unique in enabling me to improve my translation skills considerably, meet French authors and critiques, and last but not least understand the intricacies of a perfect page layout.
Lucie Torrey (Middlebury College)
International Relations Office, University of Poitiers
My internship with the International Relations Office at the University of Poitiers ended up being so much more than just a practical exposure to the field of international education administration. The time I spent there allowed me to work on a variety of projects almost completely independently, including translating official university materials as well as planning for their first-ever international study fair. The research I did on international students in France for the academic part of the experience helped to put my own year abroad in a broader context and will serve as good training as I write my senior thesis this coming year. But beyond that, completing an internship while abroad gave me personal connections and insights into the culture that I never would have gained had I only taken classes. My colleagues were among the kindest people I encountered while in Poitiers and chatting with them over the lunch hour was as much a part of the experience as the actual work (and was equally good practice for my French!)