La vie de stagiaire: my internship at MyFrenchLife™ – Ellen Stephens

MyFrenchLife™ - - MyFrenchLife Internship - Internship in France - Internship - View from Simon and Schuster offices

In 2015, I moved to Melbourne from Canberra, armed with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Gender Studies and the hope that gainful employment was on the horizon. 

As is often the case, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. However, through some good fortune, I began an internship with MyFrenchLife™ – MaVieFrançaise® which set me on the path to my chosen career of publishing.

The publishing world: New York City

MyFrenchLife™ - - My French Life Internship - Internship - Internship - Ellen StephensLast month I was in a conference room in the Simon and Schuster offices, on the Avenue of the Americas in New York City.

Jofie Ferrari-Adler, executive editor of Simon and Schuster’s flagship imprint, was speaking to me and a group of twenty-odd publishing students and professionals about his work. His career has seen him edit novels including: –

  • Karl Marlantes’s Matterhorn and
  • Joe McGinniss Jr.’s Carousel Court,
  • narrative nonfiction including Susan Orlean’s (author of The Orchid Thief) Rin Tin Tin and
  • Jonathan Waldman’s Rust,

amongst a plethora of cultural history and music books.

Immersion: creative field of publishing

The visit to Simon and Schuster came at the end of a week-long ‘intensive program’ at the New School’s Publishing Institute. The intensive is designed to provide the foundation needed to break into the world of New York City publishing.

During the week, we heard from industry leaders, including representatives from: –

  • Entertainment Weekly,
  • Spiegel & Grau (an imprint of Random House),
  • New Directions Publishing (the first US publisher of Vladimir Nabokov and Henry Miller, and the
  • original publisher of Tennessee Williams), plus many more.MyFrenchLife™ - - MyFrenchLife Internship - Internship in France - Internship - New School University Centre

Creating the opportunity and my pathway

The New York intensive was part of my Masters of Publishing and Communication at the University of Melbourne; my performance in the previous year of study meant that I was successful in what was a competitive application process.

I have no doubt that my success in my Masters studies is owed in large part to the skills I developed while working as an intern for MyFrenchLife™, and the invaluable mentoring I received from Judy.

The internship: A journey of self-discovery – it was pivotal

While I had undertaken some editing work prior to starting at MyFrenchLife™, it was my internship there that sparked my passion for publishing and spurred my decision to apply to do a master’s degree.

After becoming disenchanted by job hunting and feeling somewhat directionless, MyFrenchLife™ was a refreshing hub of creativity and hard work. The smart, life-enriching content on magazine reignited my interest in editing and opened-up a whole new world of learning about digital platforms.

During the internship, I gradually learned the: –

  • ins and outs of SEO,
  • how to craft content for specific audiences,
  • and – a particular favourite of mine – how to source images and format articles to present them in the best possible way.

As I progressed to become an editor,

  • I was also taught how to give constructive feedback, and
  • by helping authors take their work to the next level,
  • I became a better writer myself.

What to expect

An internship with MyFrenchLife™ isn’t easy; as Theodore Roosevelt said:

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…”.

Working with the fantastic team at MyFrenchLife™ was, of course, never painful!

However, to thrive, to take full advantage of the opportunity and Judy’s invaluable knowledge, one must be willing to put in the effort and strive for excellence, while learning from mistakes.

By doing so you will leave an internship at MyFrenchLife™ with practical skills that will put you in good stead for future employment and study.

You may also leave with a new-found curiosity and confidence in yourself – I certainly did!

Are you our next intern? Either in Paris or where you are currently living? Click here to kick-start your dream career, and learn more about working with us… and here you can read experience stories of other former editorial interns.

Images courtesy of Ellen Stephens


About the Contributor

Ellen Stephens

I am a gender studies graduate and a current student in the Masters of Publishing and Communications at the University of Melbourne. Originally from Canberra, I am enjoying Melbourne and often get asked questions about my odd-looking French dog, a GBGV named Rudi. Follow me on twitter @Ellenrayes

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  1. Kirsten (KT) Trengove Aug 13, 2017 at 7:41 PM - Reply

    Bravo, Ellen. Excellence is a desirable standard for things that matter and your preparedness to make any experience a learning one is admirable – and incredibly valuable. Judy, it must be immensely gratifying to play such a formative role in this young woman’s life, indeed in those of all your stagiaires. Bravo to you both!

    • Judy MacMahon Aug 21, 2017 at 11:23 AM - Reply

      HI there Kirsten, yes, the reward I get from working with these talented driven people is immense! And Ellen is an inspiring example. Bravo Ellen

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