Interning Abroad in Italy + Life Skills, and More Featuring Q&A with my Mentor
Traveling to Italy last summer gave me so many new experiences, and the skills I learned at my internship in Florence broadened my outlook on life. My experience at Chefactory, The Taste Workshop, gave me a hunger -- not only for food, but for the passion of loving what you do and sharing it with others. My focus as a marketing intern at Chefactory was capturing the essence of the international cooking school and sharing it with clients and potential clients both on-site and through social media.
The guidance and support from Francesco, my mentor and owner of the company, helped me connect with my surrounding community. I experienced the life of local Italians, from being part of the local culture, to trying many Italian dishes, and understanding Italians' love for espresso. Most importantly, I found a family at Chefactory.
My focus as a marketing intern was capturing the essence of the international cooking school.
I challenged myself with food photography, which was very fun but much harder than it looks. A big part of my daily routine was focused on translating and editing recipes from Italian to English or vice versa. Most days, you would find me marketing on social media and in person to locals, tourists, and potential clients from 2-7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. It was fast-paced the majority of the time, from maintaining the front desk, to attending on-the-go meetings with Francesco. I always had something to do!
Interning abroad allowed me to see what it takes to build a business from scratch. I was fortunate enough to see the creation of Chefactory 2, their new site, which is now open! I loved learning new things, especially how to prepare and cook fresh pasta. The best part of all was digging in!
As a multimedia journalism major, there is so much I need to be prepared for. Learning in an international setting exposed me to the unique set of values and expectations of my host country. It has been a goal of mine to see the world, learn from different cultures, and acquire skills not only to help my career, but to grow as a person. I think that anyone who is serious about their career and enjoys taking on new challenges should strongly consider an internship abroad. The experience goes beyond being a tourist. The type of knowledge and exposure you receive interning abroad is unlike anything else; learning what it means to be team player anywhere in the world, and understanding that language does not need to be a barrier have been invaluable lessons. It was a truly immersive experience, and I cannot wait to visit the Chefactory family in the future and create more wonderful memories!
The art of teaching people happiness through food was something only Chefactory, The Taste Workshop, could share with me -- and I want to share that with the rest of you! Here is some advice and helpful tips from my mentor, Francesco, that I hope persuade you to intern abroad!
Q: What have you learned working with international clients over the years?
A: I had to adapt and understand different languages, mentalities and different ways of doing the same thing. The beautiful things that you learn when you understand different traditions -- from Arabia to the States from Japan to Europe, South America to North America and South Italians to North Italians. My big dream is to open schools everywhere! As of now, I would like to open schools in the States and East Europe. The kitchen and the food bind us together. Food connects people; it creates understanding. The creation of food is primitive, from my perspective.
Q: What do you look for in future Chefactory interns?
A: We have new computers, spaces and kitchen! I want them to take the opportunity to use what they already know going in and improve while interning at Chefactory. I want the students to fly! Take care of marketing, advertising through social media, learn what food and beverage marketing is -- things like that. Learn the basics (like the tasks listed in the story) and learn in my cooking classes. Everyone can do it! You’ll never arrive if you don’t try.
Sarah Franco is the Summer 2018 Alumni Ambassador in Florence, Italy, and is currently studying at University of Texas at El Paso.