Gaining Culture, Professional Experience, and Adventures All at Once!

Ana Castellanos
May 14, 2019

I am so excited to start the Paris Internship program with IES Abroad this summer!

A little bit about me…I grew up in the Bronx, New York and earned my Bachelor of Arts at St. Lawrence University in Philosophy and Francophone Studies as a Higher Education Opportunity Program scholar. Throughout my undergraduate career I had the opportunity to study abroad in Ethiopia (2015), France (2015), Senegal (2016), and studied abroad in Peru (2019) through my Masters program. Growing up, I also spent many summers in Honduras and Guatemala with family, learning about our culture. These experiences exposed me to diverse cultural environments, rich histories, and allowed me to become adaptable and more curious about the world. This led me to the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) in 2018. I am now a first year Master of International Affairs student at PSU concentrating on International Security Studies and Development Policy in Africa and Latin America, while pursuing a Homeland Security Graduate Certificate.

I am so happy to be back in France after four years. Although I spent a full Fall semester in France in 2015, I did not spend much time in Paris as our program was based in Rouen. This time around, I will not only be living in the city for two months, but I will also be working in a French environment through my internship. I am looking forward to continue learning more about the differences across francophone cultures, networking, becoming fluent in French, and learning more about a career in development and international affairs through this program.

In the past, I have worked a lot with non-profit organizations concentrating on youth in New York City. This summer, I will be doing my internship at Planète Enfants & Développement, a development non-profit, non-governmental organization focusing on children and youth in Burkina Faso, Vietnam, Nepal, and Cambodia. My past work experience has helped me develop a strong background for this kind of internship. However, in expanding to a larger region, working in a different culture and language, and applying newly acquired skills, I am a bit nervous to start, but looking forward to all aspects of this opportunity. This internship will place me outside of my comfort zone, allowing me to understand real-world development work, practice newly acquired skills, gain professional experience, as well as make a difference by assisting in improving development projects in the targeted countries.

I decided to arrive in Paris a few days before my internship start date to have more time to explore, get acquainted with Parisian culture, and feel more comfortable with speaking French in public again. This also gave me the opportunity to get to know a fellow IES Abroad Paris participant who also comes from PSU! In past few days, we have seen the Palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, Champ de Mars, Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Opera Garnier. I am also hoping to revisit Notre-Dame after the unfortunate fire and go inside the Louvre Museum, since I only saw the outside last time I was here (Louvre tip: it’s free to enter on the first Saturday of each month!).

I'm looking forward to these next two months in Paris with an incredible internship opportunity at Planète Enfants & Développement, and more adventures with my peers!

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Ana Castellanos

<p>Growing up in a diverse and creative environment like New York City, I became interested in music, drawing, reading, and creative writing. My large family was extremely supportive of my hobbies and encouraged me to enter competitions for storytelling, performing arts, and art expos. I learned a lot about myself and learned to share my hobbies with my family throughout this process.</p>

2019 Summer 1, 2019 Summer 2
Home University:
Penn State University
New York, New York
International Affairs
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