2019 Summer Grace Liao Italy Temple Rome Temple Summer

Life As A Study Abroad Intern

A few months ago, I was trying to choose classes to take in Rome. Besides the Art History in Rome class, I had to sign up for one more course. My choices were limited as I didn’t want to take a second GenEd or take Italian since I wouldn’t be able to take upper-level Italian classes in the future. I looked into some other classes, but none of them really interested me. Then, I saw the opportunity to apply for an internship in Rome. All semester, I’ve been stressing about getting a summer internship, especially since a lot of companies rejected me not because I wasn’t qualified but because I would be home for a too short period of time. For all these reasons, I decided to apply for an internship opportunity in Rome while studying abroad.

My majors are mechanical engineering and global studies, but I mainly focused on engineering courses and activities during the semester. However, there were no engineering internship choices to apply to, so alternatively, I applied for an internship under the College of Liberal Arts, hoping to gain experience for my global studies major. Luckily, I got paired with a research center called L’Osservatorio. It was created within the Italian National Association for Civilian Victims of War, aiming to bring public attention the consequences of conflicts on civilians. It matched my passion for research on international issues and thus I was excited to be involved. I had a short interview with my supervisor before heading to Rome. She informed me that I would be writing web articles, and that made me nervous. I was never a good writer, and I always sent my writing assignments to the writing center so that I could hand in my best work. I slowly gained confidence throughout the semester as the writing tutors gave me a lot of good feedback, but writing for an internship the whole summer? I was worried.

The view from the top of the Spanish Steps while walking to the office.

With nervousness and excitement, I arrived in Rome and was ready to meet up with my supervisor in person for the very first time. The office is located between Villa Borghese and the Spanish Steps. To get there, I could take either the metro or the bus. When I first took the metro in a suit with my laptop, I felt as if I were a local, taking public transportation to work. My supervisor was sweet and easygoing. My tasks for the summer were essentially doing research, writing web articles, communicating with my assigned editor and translator, and publishing them. The office was small, and as my editor introduced me to everyone, I realized that she was the only person in the office who spoke English. Additionally, since she travels a lot, I worked remotely for most of the time.

The yummy 4 euro pasta I would get during my lunch break!

This internship was truly rewarding for me. I was worried about my writing skills, but the editor I was assigned to was a huge help in terms of providing more word choices and assisting me in writing professionally. In addition, since I had to do research to write the articles, I learned how to find more credible and unbiased sources. Finally, the main thing I learned in this internship was to be flexible. If the metro didn’t work, I had to take the bus instead, and vice versa. When my supervisor was traveling, I had to work at home but still keep in close contact with my editor and make adjustments according to his suggestions as soon as possible. Most importantly, when things didn’t work out the way I wanted them to, I always reached out to my supervisor for further instructions. Since there is a slight language barrier, there was always a chance that I wouldn’t correctly understand her or that she did not fully explain things the way she intended.

If you were to ask my favorite thing about this internship, it would probably be doing work for something that I genuinely had an interest in. Each week I did research on an international issue, mostly focusing on South Sudan. I would read and find out interesting information in current events, and it’s honestly so cool to see my article published on the website with my name as the author. I was motivated to do work and learn more, so grazie for this internship opportunity!

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