À très bientôt, Paris!

Hi everyone! 

My name is Maria Stella De Carvalho, and I am a rising junior at the University of Pittsburgh! I am pursuing a Bachelors of Philosophy in Political Science and International and Area Studies, a minor in French, and a certificate in Western European Studies. I am very passionate about politics and international issues, and I have a strong interest in learning different languages and cultures. For the 2022 summer, I chose the International Internship Program: Paris (IIP Paris) as my study abroad program because the program combines many of my personal, academic, and professional goals. As a political science student, my main interests surround international relations and social public policy. With that, the major reason I applied for IIP Paris is because I knew the program would give me a unique opportunity to intern in the field of my intended career while also living an international experience and understanding how the International Relations world operates in a different part of the world!

I was born and raised in Brazil, more specifically in Belém, the second largest city in the Brazilian Amazonian region. I moved to the U.S almost 7 years ago, and living through the cultural, social, and political changes that come with migration has strongly influenced my academic and professional passions. Being exposed to different realities, customs, values, and points of view opened my eyes to the complexities and uniqueness of the world, eventually making me very interested in understanding global social issues such as gender equality, quality education, international development, and international migratory crises. Since I was in high school I knew I wanted to work in a field that was globalized and somewhat out of my comfort zone. During my time at Pitt, most of my classes that focus on social issues and international policy making have also confirmed that indeed this is the career I plan to pursue. Hopefully, this international internship is my first chance to get my feet wet with working abroad and expanding even more my international experiences! 

A little more on the personal side, I would say my main passion is traveling, learning about different cultures, and getting to speak to people that live in different parts of the world. Moving to the U.S at an early age allowed me to learn both English and Spanish fluently, opening my eyes to a world that I had never experienced before. Currently, French is the 3rd language that I am learning! I believe learning new languages opens a door for a whole new level of world comprehension, making one more adaptable, flexible, and creative. It also allows for more exposure to different kinds of music, literature, and communities, which I think is my favorite part of the whole process! I also love dancing, cooking, going sightseeing, making new friends, and going out to eat! 

Academically, this program is my main opportunity to truly work on my French skills and gain more proficiency. IIP Paris allows me not only to improve on day to day conversations and fluency, but it also exposes me to the professional environment and language norms. For me, this is  a really valuable skill since in the world of International Relations, French is one of the most important and utilized languages. After taking 2 years of French and really liking the language, I see this program as the perfect opportunity to bring my french skills to a greater fluency level, which would officially make me a polyglot! As well, this internship counts towards the study abroad requirement for my Western European Studies certificate, an interdisciplinary plan of study where I can take many classes that focus on policy, government, and development in Western Europe.

Overall, I am super excited, yet nervous to start this experience! As exciting as it sounds, living abroad in a country where your native language is not spoken always comes with challenges and unexpected circumstances. Issues such as adaptation, language barriers, cultural differences, and navigating through the French professional world surely will not be easy, but it is also a major part of the experience. Also, while I currently do not know where I will be placed for my summer internship, I am confident that wherever it is, it will expose me to new situations and I will make the best out of this experience! I am looking forward to communicating and forming connections with my host-family and my coworkers, working on my French language and professional skills, as well as exploring Paris and emerging myself in French culture for 2 months!