Even though it has only been a couple of weeks working and living in Paris, I feel that I am changing drastically as a person. I am learning to navigate and think outside of the box, being forced to put myself out there and be courageous, immersing myself in foreign culture and making lots of mistakes, yet being totally content by my failures and simply trusting in the process of progress. I feel that I am developing patience and am slowly building this newly found confidence in myself that I have not had or experienced pre-departure. I believe that being able to build patience and confidence is as a result of challenging myself in language learning, which I have come to realize it has a process unlike no other. The French language is the first language I have ever learned in an academic setting. I naively thought that two years and a half of class room training in French may help me get by comfortably in France. However, having had the opportunity to travel for a week and spending 24/7 with French native speakers has taught me that the process of language learning is non-linear. One day you may feel like you are able to freely express yourself in French, while on other days it feels like it is impossible to construct even a simple sentence. Towards the beginning of the trip, it frustrated me to feel the struggle and irregularity of the learning process and constantly was apologizing to others for my mistakes. However, I gradually noticed that the native French speakers around me were incredibly helpful in building my fluency and the best of all, they pointed out small improvements I have made throughout the week during out conversation. That is when I started to realize that learning a language is all about continuously trying to think and speak in that language, making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes. This obviously takes time, but my colleagues pointing out the small improvements made me seek positivity in being able to do something that I wasn’t cable of doing the day before. Although it takes time, it is about acknowledging each step of the journey, no matter how small. I believe that this is one way of defining patience, to approach a challenge by not focusing on the daunting distance to the destination but each step you take, each improvement you make, and the journey to the destination is destination itself. This outlook of patience an example of a soft skill that I have acquired so far in Paris, which will be applicable to me in all aspects, academically and personally.
While soft skills relate to behavioral and personality traits and qualities, hard skills are job-related technical abilities needed to complete the job efficiently. As opposed to the soft skills that I have learned, the hard skills that I have acquired include reaching a certain level of fluency in a foreign language, and being more adept in marketing skills. Although hard skills are dependent upon your desired role and job description, the two hard skills that I have acquired are revalant to my own professional goals as well as across a number of occupations. One of my professional goals is to work with administratively with one or multiple symphony orchestras to contribute to their continuing successes and to protect and spread the art and culture of orchestral music. The golden age of classical music, where audiences fill the concert halls in the United States seems to have passed, but that does not necessarily mean that the trajectory of classical music has to continue this way. In order to revive the energy in the concert halls and appreciation of music, one has to develop a culturally flexible perspective, especially to be able to think and speak in French. France is filled with artistically and musically rich culture that attract many artists and art lovers. Being one of the most historically rich countries in terms of classical music, being able to study the language and history of where music was born is indispensable. At the internship, I have also become fluent in Canva, HelloAsso, making websites and Linkdins which are platforms applicable to marketing jobs both in the States and Europe. Seeing their marketing audiences, which is targeting local audiences and smaller villages and expanding their network has been effective and can be effective in the U.S as well. Being able to speak a foreign language and building marketing skills is an example of a global competency that has definitely allowed me to navigate cross-cultural situations. The colleagues that I work with are always drawn to different and new perspectives, especially in marketing. Since social media and marketing was created in the United States, being able to communicate and translate marketing ideas in French has been useful for me and has helped the organization in many aspects.