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Interning with American Corner: Grenoble

It is odd to think that you could travel abroad and use your resources to actually help the community you live in. American Corner gives American students the opportunity to work with the community in Grenoble in order to create better relations between Europeans and Americans. Students help set up exhibitions on American culture, including American cinema and literature. In the past few months, we have had an exhibition for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and one for Presidents Day. Currently, there is a exhibit on American cinema and popular American movies.
 Exhibition at American Corner

The point of student interns is that as young adults going to college in the United States, we have a unique perspective on the country, and can better connect with university students hoping to work or study in the United States. Interns work to inform the general public on the United States, as well as help students obtain visas to study or work in the United States. Interns also help French students practice English, and explain books and such that are currently popular among college aged students in America. We also work with American families new to Grenoble to find other English speakers, or schools, tutors and club for their children.
Fun fact about American Corner in Grenoble, France is that it is the first of its kind in France. It was also the first American Corner to be established in Western Europe. The American Corners program is a United States Department of State sponsored initiative to make information about the United States available to the public of foreign countries. The American Corner is a resource center for information about American culture, history, and current events. There are about 400 American Corners in 60 countries. Fun Fact 2: Each American Corner has a sister city in the United States. Grenoble, France, is twin cities with Phoenix, Arizona.
The opportunity to work with the community of Grenoble at American Corner has allowed me to not only practice my French, but also to share information that I once perceived as common knowledge with not only my peers, but others, as well. On any given day, interns are busy retrieving information about obtaining American visas, and studying or interning in the United States. It is almost comical how much information you don't know about your own country until you need to know it. As college students, we thought we had a hold on which colleges were best for which degrees and the general college application process. However, attempting this process as an international student is sufficiently more confusing and most international students choose colleges in the United States based off of different characteristics than we did.

 

Working with American Corner has been a learning experience to say the least, and I would recommend anyone studying abroad to look into volunteering with your local American Corner.


Zamzam Abdulgani is the Spring 2014 CEA MOJO in the French Alps. She is currently a junior at Washington State University.


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