Summer In Paris
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Ahh, summer internships – possibly one of the most discussed topics in college. Those who don’t have one are typically frowned upon, while those who do, especially if it’s in a big city and/or paid, are worshipped and envied.Although I have yet to acquire an internship for this summer, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to intern in Paris for a month and a half last summer. To put the cherry on top, the internship was for a male modeling agency. As a result of this amazing experience, I learned more about the real world and the fashion industry than I ever imagined I would.For those of you who haven’t gone to another country with a native language other than your own, I highly encourage it. Although it can be scary at times – and creepy to have 40 year old men staring and whistling at you in the street – it’s a great learning experience. 
I arrived in Paris the day before my internship started and was suffering from jet lag. All I knew was that I worked Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 pm. with a one hour lunch. Due to my fear of the subway in Paris, I ended up walking to and from work every single day, rain or shine – 30 minutes each way. The first day of work, I walked into a brightly lit, small, warm (it’s rare to find air conditioning in Europe) and clean office. By 10:15 a.m., the office was filled – all of nine people had shown up to work. Surrounding me were phones that wouldn’t stop ringing, people yelling and swearing in English, French, Spanish and German, French pastries, attractive models and papers flying out of the printer. My first week in the office was limited to staring at and observing co-workers, trying to pick up on the French being yelled at 1000 mph, running papers over to co-workers who were 20 feet away, refilling the printer with paper, straightening the postcards of over 200 models on the wall and occasionally scanning photos. 
The worst part of the majority of my days wasn’t sitting around lost in translation waiting for an assignment, but was my one hour lunch period. I dreaded it more than a college kid dreads an 8 a.m. final. I didn’t know anyone in the office and everyone was already friends; the fact that French was the designated language at lunch didn’t help either. For every 20 words said in French, I picked up on about five. I messed up every verb tense, people didn’t understand my pronunciation and I was usually completely off topic.

Although lunch never really improved, working in the office became more exciting every day. I quickly understood my duties and began doing them without being told. This included cutting out photos of our models from magazines while proceeding to scan and file them. I was also in charge of creating the models look-books, which consist of the models’ best pictures from campaigns, advertisements and features.

People always say that hard work pays off and this internship in Paris was no exception. As a result of my diligence, my boss gave me an invitation to my first fashion show and had my co-intern help sneak me into a second show. For those attempting this, I suggest working backstage before the show for easier access; you must also be quick and have several lies prepared.   
Although my summer spent interning in Paris did have some low points, such as being lost in translation, Skyping friends while I was eating breakfast and they were preparing to go to bed or living with grandparents who practically went into cardiac arrest when it took me 40 minutes to walk home instead of 30, I do not regret my decision to spend a summer away. I became a stronger, more independent person than when I left and I learned that even when you’re not getting feedback at work, someone is always watching you and analyzing your failures and successes.

An internship may not be thrilling and educational every minute of the day, but it provides you with priceless insights you can’t get anywhere else, no matter how many books, YouTube videos, newspapers, documentaries or Instagrams you may see.

Explore the world and your options. You never know where it will take you down the road.

Photo courtesy of Skytouch - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paris_f.JPG

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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