Interning in Rome, a mind-opening experience
English major Andrea Vale and business student Felix Mayorga Alvarez decided to replace one of their courses with an internship during their study abroad year in Rome.
Andrea is currently working at the Inter Press Service, a global news agency based in Rome and focusing exclusively on development in the Global South.
Felix Mayorga Alvarez
Felix is doing an internship at the Roman Guy, a tour company based in Rome, that offers walking, driving, biking and food tours in the Vatican, Florence, and Rome. His job is to write blogs for the company’s Rome Tour Info website as well as helping to manage the website and create an English-Italian booklet for the English speakers traveling to Italy.
Andrea says about her internship: "I've done a lot of different work at IPS so far, everything from writing the itinerary for a workshop in Bangladesh to educate schoolgirls and their teachers on menstruation, to drafting concept notes for a conference on worldwide knowledge sharing. Right now, I'm working on articles discussing the importance of both happiness and water for creating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as a speech to be presented at World Press Freedom Day in May in Indonesia."
What are you learning and which are the cultural differences you encounter doing your internship in Italy?
Andrea: "I'm learning a lot about globalization and international development, and I think that it's particularly significant that I'm being educated on those topics in a country other than the United States. It has provided me with a unique lens that challenges the viewpoints I'm used to seeing through. I've also found that, at least for my experience, doing an internship in Italy comes with a lot less structure and explanation than past experiences I've had in the United States, and has thus required a challenging amount of initiative, creativity and ingenuity."
Felix: "I work with employees from all over the world. Everybody speaks English in the office, but I have met a couple of employees with whom I can continue practicing Spanish, my first language. Also, I work side-by-side with two Romans and I have the chance to continue learning and practicing my Italian, the main reason I am studying in Rome, through conversation with them. I am constantly doing research for my blogs and have learned a lot about the different sites and attractions in Rome. Through this, I have also been able to apply what I have learned in my classes, especially the 'All Roads Lead to Rome' class."
Would you encourage other students to undertake internships?
Andrea: "I would definitely recommend doing an internship to any student studying abroad in Rome. It has given me a personal identity abroad that makes me feel like I am truly living, and not just temporarily staying, here. And walking along the Circus Maximus to get to and from work every day is a plus as well!"
Felix: "I would strongly urge every student to seek experience through an internship. It is a great way to meet and communicate with people who were born and raised in Rome, but also from other countries. More specific to my internship, it is a great way to learn about the different sites and attractions all around Rome and to practice and improve writing skills through writing blogs."