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What it's Like to Intern in Paris

September 14, 2017
by CEA MOJO
 Kristen Kita

Kristen just completed her junior year of undergraduate studies at the College of Charleston, where she majors in Communications and minors in the fields of French and Hospitality. Kristen decided to spend the summer interim before her final year of college, interning in Paris. She has had a very unique internship, as one half of a two-person team at a start-up company that focuses on hosting film screening events complete with English subtitles for the Anglophone community in Paris.

The company’s goal is to open up the world of French cinema to non-French speakers. Kristen’s internship abroad is a bit unusual in that she does not have a structured schedule nor does she have a set workplace. She stays in constant communication with her supervisor to see when and where they will meet each day to work together. Oftentimes, they meet in co-working spaces across Paris where several other small start-ups can be found as well. When it comes time for lunch, she and her supervisor will often pack up their work, and forget about it for the next hour (or two) when they go out to a restaurant.

Kristen has several responsibilities that range from managing social media platforms to planning the details of the weekly screening events. She has also had the privilege of writing articles to be published in a French newspaper called The Local. Although she communicates in English with her supervisor during the workday, Kristen has the opportunity to practice French as she greets guests at their weekly events.

 Abigail Sulik

Abigail recently graduated from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She studied film and theater. Since was not able to study abroad during her college career, Abbie decided to pursue an internship in Paris as a way of seeing the world while still gaining relevant work experience. Abbie interned with a media company that produces digital educational content for children. Her tasks comprised primarily of video editing and sound design, but she also taught herself elements of character design as well in an effort to take on more responsibility and to learn new skills.

In comparison to Kristen, Abbie has a more traditional internship, working in an open-floor space office from 10am-6pm each day. Throughout her internship, she developed a routine of stopping by the same bakery each morning to pick up an orange juice and éclair, and has grown familiar with the workers there. When it came time for lunch, she and her co-workers would sometimes pick up food from a local burger joint and have a leisurely lunch in a nearby park. Otherwise, she would typically go out and buy lunch on her own: a sandwich, dessert, and juice (in many Parisian restaurants there is a fixed price lunch called a formule).  Regardless, she always took a full hour and made sure not to work during that time.  Although Abbie has a beginner level in French, her work environment is very collaborative, and most of her co-workers speak English.

 Corbin Taggart

Corbin Taggart is originally from Oklahoma City, where he grew up with a love for history and music. He pursued music in his academic studies, and now works as the Director of Archives at his alma mater, Southern Nazarene University. Corbin considers his internship an "artistic exile to Paris". He was placed at an organization that focuses on musicology research.

The institute's overarching mission is to preserve the musical heritage of France. Corbin played a critical role at his firm by studying original sources of music manuscripts, and preparing them for critical editions. A critical edition of an original music transcript is a modern interpretation of the composer's work. These projects have afforded Corbin the opportunity to conduct research in the prestigious Bibliothèque Musée de l'Opéra Garnier, and to work with original sheet music that date back to 1750.

You might expect that clear communication could prove to be a potential struggle in an international office. Corbin described his form of communication with workers as "Franglish", where they spoke to him in French, and he would answer in English. He learned to communicate effectively with his co-workers by rewording what was said for clarification, and making the effort to learn a bit of French every day for ten minutes.

Susan Zhang is a CEA Alumni Ambassador that studied Marketing and French at Marist College and studied abroad in Paris with CEA in Fall 2015.



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