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Internship 101

October 27, 2015
by CEA CAPA Content Creator

Coming to you this fall from dear old Praha is an in-depth look at the CEA internship abroad program from this stunning geographic location.

Okay, only part of that was a lie. Maybe we’ll start off with a funny story. I’m full of them. I arrived in Prague to find that the required course accompanying the internship is at the same time as a different class I’m also required to be taking, so I’m working on developing a time travel device to rival that of Hermione Granger, but the method involved is a trade secret. By which I mean I’ve arranged something with both professors so that I can attend both classes and still receive full credit for both of them despite missing parts of each. So, I won’t be able to give as thorough a glimpse into the course as I could be, but the actual internship itself is what we’re concerned with, yes? Cool.

Let’s begin.

Here’s the story so far:

My internship is at Amadito and Friends, the first international children’s bookstore in Prague, selling books in German, French, and English. It's a 5 minute walk from my apartment - sometimes I have impeccable luck and this was one of those times.

You may be wondering why this is relevant to my life. Aren't internships at Big Deal Business Places and not bookstores? Well, I would argue that this is a Serious Business, but not in an intimidating sort of way, which I appreciate. I picked it because I want to open up an international bookstore of my own, but specifically for second language learners.

I’m a foreign language major, so this is doubly perfect for me! For my major at home I have to complete an internship to graduate – I figured what better way to fulfill that than to do it while abroad. That way I can gain important international job skills and create more connections, important if I want to communicate across cultures and languages.

Wow, Michelle, I can hear you saying, that does sound absolutely perfect! How’d you swing that?

I asked really nicely!

No, really, in my preliminary communications with CEA, I told them exactly what I was interested in doing, and they remembered my story (I have a tendency to nerd out about things I adore) enough that they put me in touch with the shop! I had a Skype interview at 7am with one of the owners in French, which was not a good hour for my brain to be functioning already in other languages. I must have done something right, though, because here I am.

I’ve only gone into the shop twice to work, but so far I’ve designed an order form, fulfilled book orders, learned part of the cataloguing system they invented, worked behind the desk, and wrote their email newsletter in English! In the shop, it’s very common to switch between French, German, Czech, and English – among the patrons as well as the employees! It’s been challenging to keep up with (my German is only passable at best, and my grasp on the Czech language is shaky), but I’m excited to learn how to navigate the environment in all these languages! My workplace at home continues to joke with me that I just won’t be speaking any English by the time I return, which I scoffed at. But at this pace I think they might be right!

Michelle Robins is a Fall 2015 MOJO Blogger in Prague, Czech Republic. She is currently a junior at Augsburg College.

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