This will be my final blog post! My internship finished roughly two weeks ago, but unfortunately after a week of vacation, my whole family tested positive for COVID just as I was about to return home. Now, after couch surfing with a couple of family friends, I am finally back home safe in Washington DC!
Looking back on the past two months of life in Paris, I think the word that best describes my international experience is growth. I had lots of personal and professional experiences, ranging from fun to challenging, but all of them helped me to grow one way or another. Naturally, I spent most of my time working at my internship, which forced consistent growth in my confidence, communication skills, and professional competences. In my free time, I learned about myself through exploring, and putting myself into situations that would encourage me to learn via adaptation. In culmination, I am so grateful to have had an opportunity to work at BSF, and even more grateful to have privileged with the opportunity to live in the center of one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world.
After some reflection, personally, I can feel myself becoming more confident in uncertain situations. I am less afraid to put myself forward in conversation, and I feel like I have a better grasp of what habits are particularly important for me to function on a day-to-day basis. Moreover, I now know how much I thrive under a consistent schedule, which a 9-5 job is better at providing than the inconsistency and self-motivation that is required during university. My favorite example of this is my sleep schedule, which I found substantially easier to maintain this summer than during the spring semester. It is my intention to continue this good habit along with the many others I have formed because they not only enable personal growth now, but also form the foundation for further growth in the future.
Academically I see growth in my time management. I was successfully able to balance a conventional full-time job, while simultaneously completing both my required assignments. I will admit that at certain points it became challenging to prioritize between schoolwork and having unique experiences in my free time, but I am proud of myself for managing to complete my schoolwork and still make the most out of fun opportunities as well. Additionally, I have made strides in viewing problems from a more traditional business perspective. For a typical political science student, questions about maximizing profit and addressing challenges are not commonplace. However, through completing the accompanying assignments to the IIP program, I have gained new skills on observing problems and advising solutions in a business environment.
Professionally I have made great strides in both my communication and my career management. One of my goals at the start of this program was to work on my professional communication, as I believe it is a skill that everyone regardless of their age can work on. Better communication allows you to work more efficiently in both teams and individually, as goals and progress can be shared and strategized around for maximum achievement. Additionally, in terms of my career management, I made many new connections that I hope will benefit me in the future, and furthermore I have offered to continue translating when I return to France in the fall for my exchange semester.
Outside of my growth, one of the other main takeaways from this experience is that I am now positive that I want to grow my career outside of the United States. Obviously first and foremost I think this initially professional experience is invaluable for starting my career as it gives me better insight into what I wish to work on professionally. Moreover, now having professional experiences both inside and outside of the United States, I can effectively weigh the pros and cons of locations for what they provide to me and my future goals.
In conclusion, I hope to take all of these personal, academic, and professional growths back with me to Pitt. I would like to say a big thank you to my wonderful colleagues, my host family, and the friends I made along the way for making this such a special experience for me!