One surprise I can definitely say that I wasn’t expecting about this trip was the variability of the weather in Paris. I was told that Paris in the summer is extremely hot, and it definitely was for the initial two weeks of the internship. However, right now temperatures have dropped down to around 10 degrees celsius at night which is pretty chilly for late May. I have more than once found myself wishing that I packed warmer socks, so I went out and bought a pair just in case it gets cold again at any point later in the summer.
Other than the weather, I am doing very well and still thoroughly enjoying every little bit of my life in Paris from my early morning bread and butter to my hectic commute home through Paris rush hour traffic. This past week was very eventful because there was a national holiday on Thursday, and my boss ended up giving everyone Friday off so we could all have a four day weekend! While the long weekend was supposed to be for relaxation, I ended up doing so many things that I am more tired this Monday than I was my first week of my internship!
On Thursday ,everyone doing the IIP in Paris went to the Chateau of Versailles together, which is a spectacular chateau built by French royalty before the French revolution. It was built for the royals to essentially escape Paris, and the constant threats to their lives that occurred there. The word beautiful doesn’t even do the chateau justice, as nearly every room is filled with antique furniture, extraordinarily detailed art, and unique architectural features truly befitting royalty. The chateau also has huge gardens, which are arguably even more impressive with their massive orchards, elaborate fountains, and intricate garden paths that feel like they go for miles.
Next, on Friday, I went with a friend on the IIP program to Lyon, one of the other large cities in France. Lyon is known for its gorgeous architecture, churches, and food, but experiences substantially less international tourism than Paris. This day trip made for a much more local experience, as I got to eat gelato, sunbathe by the river, and explore Roman architecture next to people from mainland France. I have to say that while the city has an entirely different feel from Paris, I still really enjoyed my day there and would love to return soon sometime in the future.
Finally on Saturday I ended up going to the Liverpool fan zone to watch the champions league final, which was moved from St. Petersburg to Paris over the winter. I met tons of new friends from England, and had truly an unforgettable experience that reminded me of the fact that in Europe, soccer comes before socioeconomic status, religion, and even politics. While the team I chose to support ended up losing 1-0, I still had a blast and can now say I know the words to a few chants about Liverpool players that I didn’t know before.
In terms of my internship, things have still been going very well and I have begun translating documents used to assess communities around the world for compatibility with Bibliothèques Sans Frontières mobile libraries. While translation goes smoothly most of the time, I do find myself occasionally challenged by words or phrases that either I don’t know how to translate to English, or that just don’t have an equivalent English translation. In these situations, my policy is always to ask questions as soon as possible, to ensure that I am putting forth the best quality work I can, and to avoid having to re-comb through documents in the future to change one word to a better synonym. Most of the time either my supervisor or one of the fellow interns on my team can think of a way to help find an equivalent translation, however more than once I have been stumped with a phrase that no one knows how to help me with. In these scenarios with no real instruction on how to proceed, I approach the translation like it is a document that is going to be read by a child in elementary school. I use easily understandable words and phrases, and go into as much detail as possible to ensure that the reader fully comprehends what the document is trying to convey. I always try to imagine that if I were reading the document with no prior knowledge of its subject matter, how would I want it explained to best comprehend the subject at hand.
In summation, the past week was simultaneously very busy but very fun, and I can’t wait for the week to come!