ISTITUTO EUROPEO isn't just a language, music, art school. Over the past few years the school has embarked on a new program that has continued to increase their student numbers every semester. The Florence Internship Program provides students with the opportunity to learn beyond a classroom; students are placed within companies related to their majors or interests which gives them the opportunity to experience another culture inside and out.
Justine is a 20 year-old Junior at a college in western New York. She is a marketing major and this is her experience in Italy...
What Does Your Abroad Program Entail?
I am in a four month internship program combined with an intensive language course. I attend school from 9am-12:30pm everyday where I learn Italian; then Monday-Thursday I have my internship 2-5pm. I am receiving a total of 15 credit hours for this semester from my college in New York.
What Is Your Internship?
I help market and advertise for ISTITUTO EUROPEO. I personally created an orientation presentation for incoming students and for the next two months I am the "student adviser" for English speaking students. I also help manage the social media pages and post on the schools blog a series of different articles. For example, I interviewed majority of the interns and posted their testimonials and I also have posted reviews on trips and restaurants I have experienced so far. I get to work with the coordinator of the school and as long as I am innovative with what I want to do, he gives me the freedom to do it after approval. I love my internship and I have met so many people because of it.
Why Did You Choose an Internship Program Instead of a University Style Program?
I could sit and learn about a new culture anywhere, including my own college right in New York. If I chose to just come to Italy and take classes, well then the lectures would be in English, I would still being learning out of a book, and I'd still have to do homework and write analytical papers; the only difference would have been the country. I am a business major with a concentration in marketing; therefore I felt like it was time to break free of the lectures and classrooms and start applying those courses within a business. The internship program allowed me apply all those business and marketing techniques I had learned about and provided me with actual work experience to set me apart from other students.
Was It Difficult or Easy to Adapt to the Italian Culture?
Difficult. Coming to Italy only knowing ciao and grazie did not make my first month enjoyable. I was told that majority of people spoke English and that the language barrier would not be that big of a problem; that was extremely WRONG. It was frustrating not knowing how to get places or find something especially when I couldn't even ask for help without pulling out a dictionary or just getting a headache. In the beginning it was more of a culture shock then I expected, but after observing the environment, embracing the differences, and taking the Italian language courses I have adapted to a new culture and I continue to learn everyday. I have no regrets, I am glad I chose a country where English was not the prominent language.
What Do You Do On Weekends?
I spent the first month getting use to everything, finding my way around Florence and seeing the popular sites. Regarding the nightlife, I learned not to go out to a club until after 12:30am... because when I did it, my friends and I were the only four people there. Weekend nights usually start with dinner around 8pm, then go home to get ready, then go to a bar or pub a little after 11pm, then "going out" hours are from 1am-4am, where most students go to dance clubs or begin their pub crawls.
After about a month I began to book day trips for Saturday or Sunday or weekend get- a-ways from Thursday to Sunday. I have gone on day trips to Siena, San Gimignano, horseback riding in Chianti, Milan, Verona, and Venice. Then I went to France for the French Riviera and I visited Nice, Monte Carlo, Cannes, and Eze all in one weekend. Needless to say, I have stayed busy over the past two months.
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Do you want to contact Justine and ask her questions regarding her internship? Just ask us!