Interning abroad and studying abroad are two very different things. Luckily for me, I get a taste of both. I have an internship at a modeling agency in Milan, and I am also taking two classes: Beginner Italian and an internship seminar. All students participating in the IES Internships program are required to take the internship seminar, either 3 credits or 6 credits, but the Italian class is optional. The point of the internship seminar is to reflect weekly on your internship and to be aware of cultural differences in everyday life and in business between America and Italy.
Before coming to Milan, I did a practice interview with the internship coordinator and discussed what type of internship I’d be interested in. After this interview, we get sent potential employers to do an actual Skype interview with. Once we received our internship placements, we had to do online assignments for our internship seminar course. These assignments included cover letter writing and an introduction to Italian culture. When we all arrived in Milan, we had mandatory job training and lots of contracts to sign, both for IES Abroad and for our company. Almost everyone in my program is working with at least one other IES Abroad intern, I work with two. I definitely think having at least one other person working with you that you know makes the adjustment process a lot easier.
The first day of my internship, I got to set my work schedule with my boss. Obviously my priority is my internship, but my boss also wanted to make sure I had time to travel during the two months I’m in Milan. I don’t have to work on Friday, so I can travel as much as possible with my roommates on the weekends. So far, we have traveled to eleven cities in Italy, including along the Amalfi Coast and Pisa, and Switzerland. It’s so easy and cheap to travel to various places from Milan. A lot of my coworkers have also given me great travel recommendations for all the places I want to see before I leave.
For my internship, I work with the booking assistants in the agency. I’ve compiled lists of all the most recent clients, photographers, and casting directors the agency has worked with and updating their modeling agency contacts. The modeling agency I work for has a lot of models and I’ve been able to meet and spend time with them. Most of the models are not from Milan, so we all get to give each other restaurant and weekend activity recommendations.
I truly believe that being able to intern and study abroad is an invaluable experience. I’m learning so much about Italy and also myself. I know how I handle situations and places that are new to me and how accepting I am of different cultures, thoughts, and ideas. If you are thinking about studying or interning abroad, I highly recommend it! It’s amazing how many new concepts you learn about the world and yourself when you fully immerse yourself in a new culture!