My first week working in Paris has been as incredible as it was unexpected. My office environment is incredibly casual and open – not the strict French structure which I’d imagined and anticipated. There are no cubicles and no offices within the organization, and each of us work together at desks pushed together in the middle of the office. My coworkers talk among themselves as friends and were quick to include me, something which I was incredibly thankful for. I also found this week that I absolutely did not pack correctly: I brought too many business-professional clothing and not enough casual outfits – I knew the office attire was labeled casual, but I hadn’t realized to what degree. I was prepared for business-casual, but even that is too dressy for my office.
My internship is also surprisingly hands-on, something that I hadn’t expected to enjoy but am glad to experience. In the week that I’ve worked for EGAM, I have attended three company events, one which was a protest, one which was a briefing to other human rights organizations to raise awareness, and one which was a march to commemorate the abolition of colonial slavery (shown in the featured picture!).
Socially, I have surprisingly been able to keep up with my friends here who are also in this program while working full-time. Because we all work similar hours, it is pretty easy to coordinate when we can get together and I also feel that since I actually enjoy the work I’m doing here (unlike mindlessly scanning grocery items at home) I have had the energy to be able to go out and have a social life. I have also made quite a few friends in the office, and have met up for dinner after work with them as well.
I am very happy to have been able to experience this program and live in Paris, which is more and more incredible every day I step outside. I often wake up and forget that I am not at home, and when I realize I’m here, I can’t help but feel so incredibly lucky. I can’t wait for more experiences and memories!