La vie de stagiaire: my internship at MyFrenchLife™ – Stephanie Williamson
I began looking for an internship during my second year studying French and Italian in Bath, UK. A requirement of my studies was to spend a year abroad doing an academic internship in one of the countries whose languages we were studying, and I was picky. Extremely picky.
I wanted an internship that would allow me to gain experience in the career path I wanted to follow, one that would really teach me something and allow me to do what I love: writing. All of my course-mates had already been hired, and by the time the exam period came around, I was still sitting in my student room desperately googling journalism jobs in France that looked like a good fit for me.
I clicked on a link and it led to a page advertising internships with a magazine called MyFrenchLife™ – “Choose a combination of the following” it said, “Editorial Superstar, Content Crafter, Coordinator Extraordinaire…if you can dream it, we’ll make an internship around it.”
There it was.
What did I do as an intern?
I didn’t expect to get as lucky as I did with MyFrenchLife™. I had no idea what to expect, and getting the job was no easy task. I had to go through numerous trial tasks before I was accepted – this is how I knew that Judy was looking for passionate interns who were up for the job, and she wouldn’t take on just anyone.
I wanted an internship that would allow me to gain experience in the career path I wanted to follow…writing”
The internship was tailored to my interests. Throughout the year, I learned to edit and format articles, use SEO tools to attract traffic to the website, research and interview. This was all the while focusing on the main task of my internship: writing articles that would seduce our Francophile readers and transport them to Paris through words. Every week I was interviewing fascinating people in Paris, and visiting everything from literary cafés to wine cellars to perfume museums. I was lucky to have MyFrenchLife™ Liaison & Correspondent, Jacqueline Dubois Pasquier in Paris to provide support. I also carried out meticulous research and managed my own content plan.
Equally challenging and rewarding
Working remotely was something I really loved. I was able to live with my French boyfriend in Lille and write from my home study. Plus, I got to travel to Paris twice a week to do the interviewing and research part of my internship. Being able to work from home was perfect for me – the ability to be flexible is something I treasure.
I was given responsibility for the Paris Mosaic project, a series of interviews with the artisans of Paris, exposing their passion and commitment to their businesses and their art. This involved scheduling content submission dates, liaising with different artisan businesses of Paris, interviewing, writing and photography – all while working to very tight deadlines. It was difficult and a huge learning curve for me.
After a year with MyFrenchLife™, I am now au-pairing for the summer in Italy before I return to Bath for my final year of study. My internship has left me with the confidence that I have the skills necessary to pursue other writing jobs. It has enhanced my career prospects and improved my CV, which is something Judy worked on with me.
Where has the internship taken me?
The articles I wrote about French literature and the industry professionals I interviewed on this topic have left me with a long list of contacts in the publishing world. This work has also contributed to sparking a passion for fiction, in translation and the translation of foreign literature.
This, in turn, has led to my current project – a university dissertation discussing the status of translators in Europe – which has drawn me towards another possible career path, that of translating and publishing foreign fiction.
Judy warned me that internships with MyFrenchLife™ were challenging and she wasn’t exaggerating. But they are equally rewarding and I finished feeling as though I had really achieved something. Throughout my internship, Judy discussed with me my feelings about my progress and advised me on what I could improve, so that we were both feeling satisfied.
I couldn’t recommend an internship with MyFrenchLife™ more. Interns are treated as valuable and respected members of the team, and Judy makes sure they learn as much as they can. I’ll definitely be staying in contact with Judy and the team! For me, nothing is more satisfying than seeing your writing published and my portfolio is now full to the brim!
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All images © Stephanie Williamson