"Taking the initiative to undergo the extreme challenge of learning a new language and culture has opened doors to new opportunities that never would have been possible for me otherwise. Without it, I would never have received my internship in France, nor would I be able to carry out my daily responsibilities. It has also proven to be one of the absolute most rewarding experiences of my life, both intrinsically and extrinsically.
As an intern at Atout France – The Agency for the Development of Tourism in France, I have gained work, educational, language, intercultural and overall life experience that I know will prove to be invaluable to all aspects of my future. Atout France houses its headquarters (where I am located) in Paris, France and also boasts 35 other branches in more than 30 countries that span across 5 continents. The work we do in advancing the development of France’s tourism sector is extremely important to the country, as France is the most visited country in the world (recorded as having 79.3 million tourists in 2008). Thus, tourism has naturally become one of the country’s most profitable industries.
My work takes place in the Service Editorial Web & E-Marketing Department. Here, we strive to make high quality, comprehensive, and interactive websites that show off the enticement that France has to offer, as well as make it simple to plan trips in order to visit. Although technically I am only an intern, I have been given an extensive amount of responsibility. This is the first time the Paris headquarters has hired an intern from a non-French speaking country, and they have come to rely heavily upon me from day to day for my knowledge of English speaking cultures and markets, my comprehensive knowledge of the English language, and also many administrative skills. I was originally hired for the simple task of reviewing and correcting the grammar of articles written in English on only one of our company’s websites. However, since my arrival, I have assumed a plethora of additional responsibilities.
During my time here, I have consulted on projects to find appropriate international marketing terms and strategies, overseen negotiations between French and English speaking business partners, modified web content to more appropriately target American, UK, and other international markets, rewritten existing articles for multiple international versions of English, enriched new text in English created by our partners, translated many articles and online segments from French into English, resolved formatting and linking issues with our websites, assisted with the management of our websites’ taxonomy, recruited and managed the hiring process of future interns, outlined a new program to make the hiring of future interns much simpler and practical for both Atout France and their future international interns, translated important emails into English in order to better communicate with our English speaking partners, and much more.
Deciding a couple of years ago that I would like to learn a second language and begin studying other cultures has proven to be one of the best and most rewarding decisions I have ever made in my life, and I strongly encourage others to do the same." --Luke Bunch, Intern